Customers have asked me which paintings I think will increase in value over the years. Purchasers are, of course, wondering if their artwork will become more valuable during the years that they own it. So many factors are involved in assessing the value of a contemporary painting. I would like to list a few and explain why they matter.
Factors that affect the value of Contemporary Paintings
First, is the work recognizable? One of the factors that helps to determine the value of a painting is the productivity of the artist. Van Gogh is a good example. Although he died young – 37 years of age – Van Gogh produced 900 paintings during his relatively short life. Camille Pissarro is another case in point. When Pissarro left his home in France, during the Franco-Prussian war, he left behind over 1000 paintings. Pissarro was 40 years old. Much of his work was destroyed by Prussian soldiers during his absence. Fortunately, Pissarro continued to paint and made a major contribution to the Impressionist movement. A prolific and talented artist is able to distribute more of his or her work so the name and the artwork are more likely to be recognized and valued.
Is the content of the painting in fashion? Tastes in subject matter have changed since the invention of the camera and, lately, with the proliferation of good cell phone cameras. We no longer need time and painting skills to reproduce a scene we enjoy. So, a piece of art needs to be more than a record of time and place. It should have that “something more” quality.
How big is the painting? The size of a painting can have an impact on its value. While some large paintings will never fit in the average home, the trend toward large pieces is very evident today. Large paintings have a greater impact. On the flip side, I am always surprised by the small size of some famous paintings in museums – think Mona Lisa and the works of Vermeer.
Finally, has the buyer purchased an original painting or does he or she now own a giclée? A giclée is a computer-generated reproduction of an original work. The giclée can be spotted by putting one’s eye right to the painting. Small dots or pixels will be evident. I have seen art purchasers enthusiastically discussing a very nice and inexpensive painting they just bought at an art show – not realizing or not understanding that they have purchased a giclée.
These are just a few of the factors that determine the value of a contemporary painting. Few of us have the money to invest in expensive paintings. So, I recommend that we buy paintings that move us, inspire us or simply “speak” to us.