Art Market Support: Determining an Artist's Value

Have no fear; I am not going to talk about stocks. What I am referring to is overall market support for specific artists. People often ask us for an opinion on an artist's work and if they are a good investment. The conversation usually turns to the number of works available.

Some artists have a large number of paintings turning up on the market (Warhol, Renoir, Cortès, etc.) and others have very few (Vermeer, Cezanne, Pollack, Cazin, Munier, etc.). What really makes an artist's market viable is the amount of support it has, or: how many players are in the game? In addition, how many of those players will always be there to make sure the price levels stay up? The more support, the more stable a market becomes.

We have all seen the large number of Warhol works appearing on the market - they say he produced over 15,000 pieces - and almost every time they do well. Why? Because there are a lot of wealthy people who own them and those individuals want to make sure the market remains strong. When you have tens of millions, or even hundreds of millions, invested in an artist's work you do not want to see values go down.

Then there are those artists whose works rarely appear on the market and when one does, there are enough buyers who will be interested, creating competition which, in turn, makes sure prices remain strong. The concept of market support was tested during the month of May and there were a number of artists who had serious market support!

Howard L. Rehs

After graduating from New York University in 1981, with a degree in Art History, I moved to London for a year to study and buy 19th century British Victorian art for our gallery. Since then my interests have included all schools of art from the 19th and 20th centuries. Today, I am considered one of the leading art dealers in 19th century French Academic and Realist painting and the world's exp...(Read More)

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