When making the decision to purchase a piece of art, how does a buyer know that he is getting value for money? How does he know that the painting is worth the price being asked for it?
Artists struggle all the time with the pricing question. What is a fair price? Several factors come into play: costs of materials, and cost in terms of time spent executing the work. But there’s more: costs involved with learning their craft, which is measured in years for most artists; cost of promoting themselves; costs for professional dues and entry fees to shows; the list goes on.
From the perspective of the buyer, the questions asked are more in the line of: What gives value to the work? How are price and value related? Factors that come into play here are the artist’s reputation, quality of the work, how much demand there is for each new work, whether the style is unique or new, or sought-after. These are all intangible factors and are difficult to assess and it’s not always easy to see how they affect price.
For some, art is an investment. For those buyers, it’s all about the perceived demand for a particular artist, or piece of work. Those purchases are often in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes millions. Here, it’s just about money and potential, and seldom about how one feels about the work itself. We are not talking about those buyers here.
For the average person, buying art is an emotional decision that has little to do with costs, or time spent, or reputation, etc. People buy art because they fall in love with a painting. They fall in love with it because it makes them feel something. That’s the crux of it, it makes them feel something. Whether through breathtaking beauty, through remembering a time and place, or a person, through making a strong statement by use of colour, placement, texture, or whatever. They feel something when they look at the painting and they want to have that feeling every day, so they take it home and love it, and love living with it.
Ultimately, THAT is what gives value to a painting, that feeling and wonder, and the knowledge that they don’t want to be without it. What gives value to a painting is its owner and how he/she feels about it.
Art gives us joy, elevates our spirit, moves and inspires us. Art brings beautiful emotions into our lives. It allows us to be lifted above survival, it allows us to feel, think, remember, question. In short, it enriches our lives beyond the necessities.
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” (John Keats)