Decisive Elements for Valuation & Trends in Art Collection
How do we determine the market value of a work of art? For the uninitiated, it might actually be quite a heartless process. It might be a gorgeous work of art, a portrait in front of you by one of the greatest maestros whose imprint is evident on the canvas. The worth of this work might be determined by a lot more than the painterly strengths, but by a holistic combination of a number of its components.
Who is the sitter? Is she important? Who owned the work previously? Is the sitter pretty? If the sitter is not real royalty as you may have believed but just another aristocrat, the price automatically comes down. Once the background and other facts are cross checked and the corrections are made to the evaluation, one may have to inform the owner that though the expected valuation of the same artist might have stood to be in millions, the real valuation may only stand to be a couple of hundred thousand.
To put it quite plainly the real worth of a work of a maestro might have annoyingly little to do with the quality of it. The value is in fact decided by a horde of factors that determine the appeal collectors may have for it. Traditionally and even in the contemporary art scenario, the collectors have mostly been men hence the attractiveness of the sitter is an important weighing in factor.
This appearance or the subject of the artwork is important not only in portraiture but in other genres too. Canaletto’s work when features a canal is way more covetable than one that does not. Venice, the Grand Canal, Looking North East from Palazzo Balbi to the Rialto Bridge by the artist garnered a record 18.6million pounds at Sotheby’s in 2005 more than double the 8 million pounds set as the estimate.
Within the same genre, even as controversial as religion, the difference in the fetching price may be enormous. An enticing portrait or landscape featuring Mary Magdalene may fetch a substantially high figure when compared to a scene depicting the martyrdom of St. Hippolytus where he was torn apart my horses.
Particular subjects like cats have been seen to fetch an exorbitant amount, quite unexpectedly.
A strong factor in valuation is the attribution or the certainty of it. A well-documented work of art would carry more respect and attraction when compared to a newly discovered one. The historical flow of the work of art accounts for a lot of the decision making, as there is a general hesitation to assess the value of any work of art objectively, hence depend largely on a collective eye of experience and lineage. An unpublished or recently discovered work of art is more susceptible to questioning and whispered comments by competitive players in the world of art to prevent their clientele from straying.
The condition of a particular work of art is probably the least discussed factor of influence when it comes to valuation. It has come to light that any artwork is most often damaged by the efforts of the restorers. What a seasoned collector looks for ideally is a painting never touched by a restorer – a rarity, but highly coveted too.
The market trend or demand is more unpredictable than you’d think. It is true that the more attractive sitters have brought in a higher valuation, but ‘Two Studies of a Bearded Man’ fetched a whopping $7.5 million in 2010, indicating a novel trend in the Old Masters – a work of art that even remotely has a modern look would be in a coveted position.