How are prices decided?

November 10th, 2008

Pricing artwork is a difficult science at best. Many factors influence the price of a piece of art, but the key factor is of course demand. The more collectors want work by an artist, the more they are willing to pay. Supply is also a strong factor. Usually emerging artists’ prices are a fraction of what established well-known artists can obtain. Auction prices can vary wildly from gallery prices, depending on the bidding. Historically, oils have been more expensive than watercolors and watercolors more than drawings, and so on. However, a Picasso drawing will still beat a major work by an emerging or even an established run-of-the-mill artist anytime. However, other than contemporary published editions of reproductions (usually called “prints” unfortunately) and limited edition photography, there is no “list price” for true prints and certainly none for paintings, drawings, and sculpture. We usually set a price on the basis of what think is fair market value, plus a selling record, accounting for size and media, and then discuss it with the artist.

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