Art & Market: a guide to art prices

The market prices of works of art, as for any other good, are generated by the meeting of supply and demand. It is essential to understand that the good is not the artist but the work produced by it. So here is a small price guide to orientate yourself adequately in the contemporary art market.

Guide to contemporary art prices

Guide to contemporary art prices

It is a mistake to think that you have a certain capital only because you have a painting with a known signature. The works of a given artist, especially if produced in different periods of his path of expressive research, can have enormously different values.

Evaluate the artistic periods

Take the case of Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) and his latest auction sales. His pre-dripping works dated before 1948 are well below the million euro. Indeed, two of his works on auction in Christie’s New York in the 1930s were unsold. In particular, these are Composition with Vertical Stripe and Composition with Horse at Center, both c.1934-1938.

Take the case of Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) and his latest auction sales. His pre-dripping works dated before 1948 are well below the million euro.
Convergence by Jackson Pollock, 1952

His last sold painting (Number 17 of 1949, Sotheby’s New York, 11 November 2015), however, has changed hands for the impressive figure of 18,873,000 Euros. This brief but significant example tells us how important the subject is as much as the period of production, and not only the measures on which so many sellers and collectors base the prices of the works they own.

In auction houses, it is not uncommon to notice overstatements that generate unsold goods; these cases are essential to find out which is the maximum ceiling under which it is possible to buy a contemporary work without squandering money. Evaluating becomes more complicated if the works of the artist to be taken into consideration was never on auction. In this case, it is necessary to do market research or ask for the help of an art consultant.

Purchase works by emerging artists

Purchase works by emerging artists

If you want to buy a work by a living contemporary artist, keep in mind that the price is “imposed”. You can trust the experience of other collectors and your instincts. However, keep in mind that the works purchased today are not shares of an S.p.A. They are unique objects that often take time to settle, but that more than others prove be valuable investments in the future.

Prices of works of art, conclusion

To the question “Is the price right?” the most sensible answer is “it depends on what you are going to buy”; establishing the price for a work of art is not easy. Theoretically, the right price is in a range of values. Selling is an art, but knowing how to buy is no different. That’s why aspiring collectors often rely on consultants when choosing works of art.

If you are also interested in collecting contemporary art, you can ask for free the suggestions of one of our art advisors who will give you an expert guide to invest successfully in Modern & Contemporary Art!

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