Art does not have an absolute value. The price of art is determined solely by how much people are willing to pay for it. When you’re attempting to determine the value of new art, you have to look beyond the work of art itself and think about market forces:

  • How many people are interested in this artist’s work? Is the artist well known regionally or nationally?
  • Is the work rare? Blue-chip artist Jasper Johns, for example, made very few paintings, so collectors had to compete for them.
  • Does the artist have an influential dealer, curator, or critic promoting his work?
  • Has any of the artist’s work sold at auction? If so, for how much? Auction prices set the resale market.
  • Has the art been reviewed in important regional or national publications?
  • Is the current art market so high, or so low, that it seems destined for a price correction? Reading art magazines or newspapers can keep you informed of market fluctuations.

Determining the value of new art is challenging because values are unpredictable and collectors can be fickle. The primary rule when buying art is to only buy art that you love. That way, it doesn’t matter whether the work goes up or down in monetary value because it will continue to provide intrinsic value to you.

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