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How to Set the Price of Artworks

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Have you ever asked yourself how to set the base price of an artwork? Well if yes in this post you will find the answer to your dilemma! Actually in theory it wouldn’t be so difficult to calculate the base price of artworks but as often happens things are a bit more complex than they appear! There is a formula that we could define, with a a pinch of fanatasy, “magic” and which apparently can solve our issue.  

base+height x2= base price of artwork

Until now it looks like such formula can be enough to determine price of artwork but it can just set the base price not the final price. In fact we should distinguish between “base price” and “final price”. We can easily calculate the base price by using the “magic formula” base+height x2= base price and now let’s see an concrete example. Let’s imagine we have a picture 40×60 cm  and we want to calculate the base price of it. All we have to do is performing addition that is 40+60= 100 and then multiply 100×2= the result will be 200 $! However it should be consider as base price since there are countless other factors that can determine the price of an artwork and now we’ll see what are the main.

The first factor to consider is the support: there are several supports in which you can paint. The most used and renowned are canvases but you can paint even on cardboaard,on paper ,on masonite,on wood,on canvas cartons,canvas panels etc. Our picture will have more value if painted on canvas but not all canvases are the same. There are several kind of canvas: cotton,jute,polyester and then canvas more expensive and lasting over time namely Linen canvas! If our picture 40×60 cm is painted on linen canvas its price goes up inevitably.

The second factor to consider is what kind of art supplies you used to paint in other words what colours  and medium. Even in this case there are many type of colours as well as medium: oil colours ,acrylic ones, egg tempera,gouaches,watercolours and mixed media as well. Let’s make an example: our picture 40×60 cm has been painted with oil colours we will understand well that a “Oil on Linen”can’t cost only the modest sum of 200 $. Oil paint is the most reputed ,lasting,versatile and expansive that requires great skill as well as great deal of patience and so many hours of work!

Third factor that may affect the overall cost of artwork is the subject of painting. It can be a landscape,portrait ,nude,still life but it can be even realistic ,figurative,abstract or informal. All these components may change the final price of artworks since you cannot compare the incredible difficulties to paint a portrait with the  difficulty to paint a landcape even if it is not easy. You think for instance to a scene with many figures which can requires months of work sometimes even years if you use oil colours and depending of the size of support. Once again let’s take as example our picture 40×60 cm that in the meanwhile became Oil on Linen and we pretend that such Oil on Linen is a  realistic portrait with many details : it’s obvious that the cost of such artwork  will be much more than 200 $.

Fourth factor to consider is working time: the more will be the difficulty of the subject the more will be the time it will take to complete artwork even though such rule varies from artist to artist since there are artists faster, expert and gifted which can reduce working time even with a difficult subject.

Fifth factor to consider would be“career” of artwork in question; if maybe it has been exhibited in some prestigious art gallery (non paid) or if it took part to some important art prize perhaps reaching the final or winning some “certificate of artistic merit” or maybe if it has been reviewed by some important art critic(non-paid); it should not been forgotten possible interest of collectors which would increase the artistic production demand of artist and therefore it would rise the value of  his artworks.

Sixth and last factor that can boost price of our picture 40×60 cm would be framing. If a painting is framed maybe with an artistic value frame ,it will cost more than a painting without frame.

As you see we have to take into consideration different elements if we want to set with honesty the real value of an artwork. As we have seen the“magic formula” can help us to set the “base price” of an artwork but then it must be revised and improved considering all other important factors that we have seen earlier. Well with this i coclude my post hoping to have solved dilemma to how to set the price of an artwork so i wish you to sell all your artworks at the right price!

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