One thing that I learned over the years as an expert art appraiser with a Ph.D. in art history is that sometimes people try to convince you of things about art that just aren’t true. Here are the top three myths about artists and the art market:
1. Artist Dies and Values Increase
Most people think this is true but it is just a marketing ploy. While an artist dies and his production stops (obviously), this doesn’t automatically increase the value of his artwork. Sure, supply is limited–death tends to do that–but that doesn’t change years of market data and sales records. Values may fluctuate slightly following the death of an artist because gallery owners are trying to convince buyers into believing this age old myth, but the values will not stay out of whack for long. Just because the artist is dead doesn’t make their works any better and more valuable. Value of a work of art by an artist–dead or alive–is based on recent, comparable sales records, their exhibition record, and scholarly articles written about their works.
2. Self-taught Artists’ Prices will Rise
The work of self-taught artists is admirable and can generate sales in the market, but historically the work of trained artists retains their value and commands higher prices. Training shows in the artwork. Dare I say the work of trained artists are better works of art and the market shows that they attract higher prices. This is not to suggest that self taught artists are not talented, but trained artists produce better works overall and thus more valuable. Quality is important when assessing value of a work of art.
3. Paintings Must be Signed to be Valuable
This is a major pet peeve of mine. Why? Because the statement is simply false. Paintings do not have to be signed to be valuable. Many famous artists did not sign their work like some works by the French Impressionists, the Old Masters such as Rembrandt, the Cuzco School artists, etc. Read the reasons why paintings are still valuable with no signature. And, just as many authentic unsigned masterpieces are worth big bucks. Many works of art have forged signatures which is very easy to do. It is much easier to forge a signature on a landscape painting than to accurately copy a tree in that same landscape painting. You all want a signature so many are happy to forge one for you. Don’t get fooled.
Share this with your flea market friends and look for more myths in my upcoming blog posts about art and antiques. I can always appraise your work of art at my events or even if you submit photos using your smartphone.