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10 criteria for evaluating art

 

 

Contents

1. The technique
2. The size 
3. The period of realization
4. The history or critical literature about the work
5. The rarity
6. The theme
7. The origin
8. The presence of an authentic or reliable certificate of archiving
9. The publication on the general catalog
10. Other factors to consider

How do you assign a commercial value to an artwork?

Are there any parameters for evaluating an artwork?

As for paintings and prints, but also sculpture, that is traditional works of art, the answer is yes.

There are references that can provide a basis for a first evaluation of artwork, even if the elements to be considered are multiple and work in relation to each other and sometimes one is more important than all others.

These evaluation parameters concern the technique, the format, the period of realization, the history or critical literature of the work, the rarity, the subject, the composition, the rarity (ie the difficulty in finding it on the market), the collection of origin.

Some of these factors have already been discussed, now they will be analyzed in a more specific way, as regards the paintings, the graphics and the sculpture


1. Technique

Regarding the technique, on equal terms, considering the works of the same artist, an oil painting on canvas has the highest commercial value, then follow the gouache, the tempera, the watercolor, the pastels and the drawings.

Usually, a tempera is valued at less than half of an oil with similar characteristics, a quarter-quarter watercolor and a drawing of less than one-tenth.

Then there are the latest techniques, such as assembly, which are more difficult to evaluate. Often it is great works that museums get at advantageous prices or installations that some collectors mount directly in their home or in their exhibition space. In this case, we must consider the cost of materials and the cost of assembly, just like a marble sculpture.


2. The size

As for the format, the more the image size increases, the more the value of the work increases.

Obviously, even a small image can have great value.

Taking into consideration the case of an artist whose market value is stable and tested, each dimension is worth a different score. At least this was the system adopted in France at the beginning of the twentieth century, to try to give an assessment as much as possible to a framework.

Francis Bacon, for example, is famous for having linked to the Marlborough Gallery from 1958 to 1992 (the year of his death), signing a very special contract, not very convenient from an economic point of view.



It included the gallery's commitment to purchase the artist's works at an established price, based on the dimensions of the canvas.

At the beginning, he would pay the artist 165 pounds for a canvas of 60x50 cm, 420 pounds for a 195x130 canvas, with a maximum ceiling of 3500 pounds a year (almost 10,000 dollars at the time), an optional option to offer more, but no adjustment for the first ten years.

The international proportions range from a minimum score of 1 to a maximum of 120, from a minimum size of 22x14 to a maximum of 195x130, while the international dimensions start from smaller sizes, 18x24, and reach a maximum of 80x100.

It can be noted that, for example, a 30x40 (but also a 35x40 or a 35x45), is worth 6 points, then about ¼ of a 60x89 (or a 50x100 or a 60x90), which is worth 25.


3. The period

As already seen, the period in which an artwork is performed can change its value.

For some artists, the period of maximum inspiration, the most innovative, are the years of youth, for others, it is the years of maturity, for very few it simply does not exist, because all their production is taken into consideration.

The paintings of the futurist period of Sironi could cost a lot more, if they were available in the market, compared to the works of the twentieth century.
The most paid paintings by Giacomo Balla are those between 1910 and the end of the First World War, while the canvases painted between 1920 and 1930 are the innovative charge of Futurism was exhausted.

The same goes for the Vasarely until the fifties and the mothers of the first half of the twentieth century.



 

4. The critical history

Regarding the critical history of the work, a painting that has been exhibited in an important exhibition of an equally important museum and which is published in a catalog, if it is sold has a higher value than one that was purchased by a collector not as famous.

The importance is given to both the museum and the fact that it was published in a catalog. If the essay was written by an internationally renowned critic, the picture gains even more value.

The reproduction of a artwork is also an important guarantee of authenticity, as it means that someone, be it the publisher, the artist or his heirs, have taken full responsibility for the authenticity.

However, also regarding the official publication there have been cases of speculation, especially of young dead artists who have not been able to personally take care of his catalog.

5. The rarity

One factor that affects market quotations is the rarity of the artwork, that is, how many of its works are available on the market.

There is not a standard number that can be used, it can be said that a too high production certainly damages the quotations, but it also depends on which style is more sought after by museums and collectors.

Obviously, the most difficult works to find in the market are also the most desired by collectors and museums.

6. The theme

Even the theme of the composition can change the evaluation of a work.

For example, Fontana's cuts on a white or red background are preferred to those on a black background.


7. The origin

The origin is another important aspect of the formulation of the price of the framework.

Returning to Bacon, the uneconomic nature of his agreement with the Marlborough Gallery had led the artist to sell works privately, without the intermediary of his gallery.

It was the case of the triptych Three Studies for a Self-Portrait, in 1980. Bacon created thirty-three large triptychs in his life, three of which were destroyed by the artist himself. The painting was sold by the artist to a family of another artist from Northern England in 1982, who contacted Christie's for sale in 2007.



The triptych traveled on a promotional tour for Europe (a), had a text in the catalog written by Michael Peppiat (b), official biographer of the artist, as well as the best placement in the auction catalog (c) and a rather high reserve price (d).

The owner family was sure that the reserve price would be reached without much difficulty, also considering the result of another work by Bacon at the previous auction in February, again by Christie's.

Bacon has had solo exhibitions at the Tate, MoMA, Guggenheim, Center Pompidou and many of his best works are in museum collections.



However, this triptych was never exhibited in a large exhibition nor did it belong to a famous collector.

In November 2005, a triptych with the same title, but in 1976, was sold by Sotheby's in New York for 5.8 million dollars.

The auction set off from a £ 2.2 million base, far below the minimum and maximum estimate published in the catalog, or 3.5-5.5 million pounds. After an offer of 3 million, Gagosian offered 3.2, on behalf of one of his clients.


The auctioneer of that auction, Pylkännen, said he was selling (the so-called warning), a phrase he uses to communicate the achievement of the minimum reserve price. A buyer (perhaps Italian) on the phone relaunched £ 3.5 million and won the work. The result was disappointing, the minimum estimate was just reached and its reserve price was exceeded by just two offers, staying away from the price achieved in 2005 and not setting a sales record as expected.

This occurred because the work, although important, did not come from a prestigious collection and had never been exhibited in a large museum exhibition.

8. The presence of an authentic or reliable certificate of archiving

There are a lot of artwork coming from important artists but with no certification about the origin: the certificate of archiving it’s one of the most important things about the attribution of value to an artwork-


9. The publication on the general catalog

The presence of the painting inside an official collection of the artist it’s very important. Clients appreciate paintings included in the general catalog of the artist.

10. Other factors to consider

In conclusion, need to consider if the artwork is coming from and Historicized artists or not.
Price is constantly influenced if the artist it’s alive or not.