Visual Arts

Why Is The Price Of My Art So Low?

No artist wants to see their artwork sold at bargain basement prices at a garage sale. So here are some tips that I use as an art appraiser to value your work. First and foremost, I am an artist, and my main concern has always been to generate a broader reputation, because that’s what I understood would gain the attention of buyers, and demand higher prices for my work.

Scottsdale Art Auction IG- @scottsdaleartauction

Today, as an art appraiser, my job is to identify the value of art for sales and insurance purposes. For example, a client calls me and tells me that they have a painting that their parents who were art collectors paid a lot of money for, some time ago, but they have no receipt. The first thing I do is search for the artist’s name on the internet. I see that there are some articles written about the artist and I see what galleries and shows they were in, but I see no published prices. To value a piece of art, appraisers depend heavily on online pricing indexes, as well as knowledge of the market through publication research and conversation with other industry professionals, dealers and galleries.

Even when a client calls me about the value of a piece by a well-known artist such as Mark Maggiori, who sold Arizona Wonders, (oil on board, 2019, 32″ x 34″) in 2020 at the Scottsdale Art Auction, for $70,200 (including the buyer’s premium). Valuation can be difficult because Maggiori’s works have been sold at prices ranging anywhere between $140 and $275,000. Therefore, in order to form an opinion of value, an appraiser has to take into consideration the prices of other pieces of art by the artist and other artists, that are comparable in size, medium and subject matter.

On the other hand, there are lesser-known artists such as King Redd, the Miami pop-artist, who recently began to sell with Park West Gallery. Currently the asking prices for his work are between $4,400 and $5,600 on Artsy. However, this is meaningless unless the appraiser knows the price it actually sold for. Many dealers and gallerists won’t release the final sale price and so an appraiser is left looking at comparables published about other artists. If I can find another artist that has a similar reputation and history of exhibitions with published pieces, I’ll have a general idea of what value an artist’s artwork will have.

King Redd IG- @reddrunit

Which brings me to the subject of this article. If I can’t find any history of exhibitions, or publications which show that an artist has been working beyond that of a hobbyist, and although the work may be very good in quality, an unknown signature or no signature really doesn’t help an appraiser value artwork on the contemporary market. So, just as an appraisal is an opinion of value, my opinion is, if an artist doesn’t work on creating a searchable track record of the prices of their sold pieces, they are doing a disservice to the collectors that have paid to support their endeavors as an artist, and this also keeps the prices low. G&S

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