From time to time, we receive questions about art pricing. Our goal in pricing is to reflect what we assess the value of the work to be knowing that galleries, museums, businesses, historians, the public, and individual collectors all view the value of the work of art differently. And that value can change over time, between works, and within the types of people assessing the work.
Because pricing art value is subjective, we sometimes are asked to discount the price based on what the buyer feels the work is worth. We will not discount work based on the buyer’s assessment or the mythical “art market” price. If a buyer doesn’t feel the work is worth the price, then we respect their choice to collect other artists’ work they do feel the price and value match.
We consider these factors when valuing Miriam’s work:
– We start from the baseline of Miriam’s professional background. She’s been an active artist for over 75 years and a professional artist for around 50 years. She’s a graduate of the University of Alabama, with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts. She studied at the Art Students League in New York and at the Farnsworth School in Sarasota. She continues her professional education by attending workshops, lectures, and exhibits. Young, hip, trendy artists are a dime a dozen. There are not many continuously active artists with her professional background still painting.
– We look at her accomplishments collectively. Her work has been exhibited in Birmingham, Dallas, Alabama, the Southeast, and even as far as Japan. Her works are collected by both institutions and private collectors in Birmingham, the Southeast, and internationally.
– We consider whether a work is part of a unique series or project that won’t be repeated or whether it is a standalone work. Does the work have local, regional or universal appeal? In 2004 Miriam took an artists’ tour of Israel and from that, she painted several of her most well-known works. Those works will never be repeated by the artist.
– We consider the subject matter. Generally, Miriam’s works based on the Scriptures are more than a painting of flowers. Works that are specific and unique to a place, location, or building are more than a generic location.
– We consider the size, medium, complexity, and longevity of the work.
– We consider if a specific work has been on public exhibit or won a competition.
– We consider its potential for financial appreciation.
– We consider the opinion of the artist about the work.
– We consider the materials, advertising, and administrative cost that go into the work. Because we frame the work to protect rather than beautify it, we view framing costs outside the value of the work itself. If a buyer wants to reframe a work, then they need to add that to the cost of the work in their budget. We won’t discount the existing price of a work to get a new frame or have an existing one fixed.
– We ask how unique is the work among her other works?
– We consider the time it took to create the work. Some works may incubate as ideas for years and take months to complete. Other works are completed in a day.
What don’t we put a lot of weight on when pricing art
– We don’t consider the “art market”. This concept “fair market value” and “what the market will bear” is a myth. Artists generally undervalue their work. Galleries often take advantage of this to hike up the price. Collectors compare prices and are always looking for a bargain.
– We don’t consider a work’s “popularity”. What’s popular isn’t always what’s good.
– We don’t consider how long a work has been on the market. Art appreciates.
– We don’t consider the income or economic status of the potential collector.
– We don’t consider our geographic market location. It’s a global market.
– We don’t consider our own personal or business financial situation. No starving artist sales.
We hope that the next time you consider one of Miriam’s works, you will be more comfortable about how we arrived at a price and assured your investment is one that will appreciate in value through the years of enjoyment.