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The price of an artwork

In the last episode of our column on the Street Art market, we talked about the boom of the last decades and the staggering auction results of some artists. 

We know that the logic of the art market can be difficult to understand and that even for enthusiasts it can be unclear how prices are assigned. So here is a list of the main factors influencing the price of artworks!

The characteristics of the artwork

Let’s start with the simple things: dimensions! In general, the larger an artwork is, the higher its price will be. Let’s take Italian street artists Sten Lex as an example. Maria and Alfred are two stencil poster portraits, she 78x100cm, he 160x200cm. We can estimate that Alfred will cost about twice as much as Maria.           

Techniques and materials are also important! Think about sculptures, the same subject made of terracotta or marble will have a different price!

The artist’s CV

Let us consider another fundamental but more difficult factor to define, the artist’s CV. We know that some artists have higher quotations than others, but what does this depend on? Age can be a first indicator, in general very young artists command lower prices, but there are also cases where artists of the same age command very different prices, so what should we look out for? 

The parameters that are considered when assessing an artist’s career are his exhibitions in museums and galleries, participation in biennials, awards won, collaborations and the presence of his works in prestigious public and private collections. Obviously, for urban art, interventions in public space are also fundamental ?

All these factors together give us an idea of how much an artist is appreciated and established within the art system.

Supply and demand

To conclude, let us mention some typical market dynamics that can influence the prices of works. Scarcity of supply: if an artist’s production is small, the prices of the few works available will tend to rise!

Shepard Fairey, Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité a Parigi
Credits Galerie Itinerrance

The convergence of tastes: if many collectors fall in love with the same artists, they will start competing for the same artworks, and prices will rise!

We hope that the artworks’ prices are less obscure now! If you are passionate about these topics, keep following us!