How to estimate the value of a work of art? A question that is of great concern to art market professionals. The main reason is that a work of art has no real practical use. In fact, objectivity is not enough to judge its true value, there is also a large element of subjectivity. In order to shed some light on this delicate subject, here are the criteria generally taken into account when estimating the value of a work of art.
THE IMPORTANCE AND BACKGROUND OF THE ARTIST
First of all, it should be noted that before the valuation process, the work to be valued must be authentic. There is no point in valuing a forgery.
Having said this, the first criterion taken into consideration in the valuation of a work of art is the artist who created it. The work of a popular artist who has a good reputation will certainly be worth a lot. There are several elements that can be used to determine the importance of an artist: the rating of his works on the art market, the publications dedicated to him, the importance of the gallery that represents him, as well as the number of exhibitions in which he has participated.
THE PLACE OF THE WORK IN THE ARTIST’S CAREER
The value of an artist’s work will vary depending on the moment of its creation.
Generally, “early” works will be less expensive than works executed during the mature period or during the period of great popularity. This is why, for example, you can see works by Picasso that sell for 100 times less than others.
Similarly, works that are not representative of the artist’s work will be worth less than those that address his favourite themes.
THE CONDITION AND HISTORY OF THE WORK
It goes without saying that the condition of the work is also a decisive criterion in the valuation. A well-preserved work will always be worth more. Apart from that, the history of the work (where it has been exhibited, its provenance, successive owners, etc.) can also influence its value. Works that have been owned by a famous collector will increase in value.
THE SUCCESS OF SALES
Auctions are a very relevant source of information on new trends in the art market and therefore on the popularity of an artist. Auctions are held every week all over the world. And there are professionals who compile the data that comes out of them.
These data are then presented in the form of a catalogue to help experts better evaluate a work. However, it would be wrong to say that these data are 100% reliable because many criteria can influence prices during an auction. The rise in an artist’s value can be explained in different ways: a fashion phenomenon, the publication of a catalogue raisonné, the discovery of a new facet of his life, etc.
HAVING A WORK APPRAISED BY AN EXPERT
As you will no doubt have realised, it can be very difficult to value a work of art. A work produced by a great artist during his youth will not necessarily be as expensive as his most emblematic works. To get a fairly accurate estimate of a work of art, don’t hesitate to have it appraised by a professional.