How Do You Put a Value on Art?
“Don’t blame the marketing department. The buck stops with the chief executive.” John D. Rockefeller
I recently blogged about the valuation of art. Many find the commodification of one’s creative output problematic. How can you put a value on your personal vision? Are your thoughts and feelings valuable? Of course. But can you put a value on your insight, training and life experience? The answer is again, of course, but with a catch.
Art, like any product is subject to market forces. So what is the Fair Market Value (FMV) for your art? The number is based on numerous factors, including quality, professional experience, awards, reputation, market perception, name recognition, etc. But ultimately the FMV involves an established amount based on the what similar works by you have sold for in the past. This can be documented by certain public auctions, gallery or auction prices or similar outside sources. There is no legal body or regulations which regulate the sale or pricing of art, so confidence in pricing has to come from the artist or gallery themselves. Sifting through hubris and hype is extremely important for the savvy collector.
As I discussed in my previous blog, my personal egalitarian world view that art should be available to everyone, though noble, is actually quite naive. I have noted that setting demo prices on recent work has confused potential collectors, both emerging and experienced. Rather than seeing these bargain prices as an opportunity by emerging or experienced collectors, it is seen simply as undervaluation, which undermines confidence. My work is worth far more than my current selling price. I can say this, because I have sold it for far more in the past. Undervaluing one’s work is just as detrimental as overvaluing it. It is just as naive for an artist with little background and expertise to price their work above it’s value just because he believe they can get away with it. The fact is, my work sells best at my actual FMV. My desire to make it available to people of lessor means is not serving me or them. My thought that I’d like to sell demo paintings for less than my “actual” paintings is a thinly veiled justification for my egalitarian world view, which needs to be teased from the actual market.
Therefore, in the coming weeks, I will be gradually begin bringing the prices of my work back up to their true fair market value. If you have an interest in any of my pieces, at their currently reduced prices, please contact me sooner than later.