Creating art is fulfilling in many ways, whether you plan to sell your art or not. For many artists, selling their art is the way they support themselves, and sometimes the value of art can seem, well, arbitrary.
Why is it that some paintings can command six-figure prices, while other works of art of a similar caliber can hardly be sold?
What is the driving factor for the value of art, and how can you increase the value of your art?
What is Provenance?
Part of understanding the value of art comes with understanding “provenance.”
Provenance comes from the French word “provenir,” or, “to come from,” and it is basically a chronological list of ownership, custody, or location of a historical object or piece of art.
Provenance can be used to establish authorship, authenticity, legal validity of ownership, as well as value. Pieces of art with a longer list of ownership generally increase in price as the list of previous owners grow.
Much like a singular work of art, an artist can have a sort of “Provenance” depending on what kind of high-profile people own their artwork.
To put it simply, the more times your art changes hands or locations, and the more high-profile people who own your work, the higher the price your art can command.
What Dictates the Price of Art?
While provenance influences the price of any given piece of art, the reality of the matter is that artwork’s “value” is decided by your audience’s perception built around an idea of what it should be worth.
If many people want an original piece from you, but feel that it is a very special thing that very few people can attain, then they will hold it to a higher perceived value.
Think about Picasso, for instance; you can find Picasso’s paintings printed on just about anything nowadays. T-shirts, shot glasses, mugs, and the list goes on — but could you imagine actually purchasing an original Picasso? It seems unobtainable; for that reason, his paintings that don’t end up in museums sell for millions of dollars.
So, how can you increase the demand and perceived value of your original artwork? Prints.
Should You Make Prints of Your Art?
Some artists find the idea of making prints distasteful — as if they are above such a thing. In reality, it has been a method of increasing the value of art for many years.
Of course, each artist will have to decide if it is appropriate or viable to create prints of their artwork, but increasing your art’s value is part of a modern artist’s business — and prints are a great way of doing that.
Not only can prints start to bring you in a steady stream of income, but they can also create buzz around your art. Someone who owns a print will be impressed by someone who owns the original — and that creates a larger desire in them to own an original as well.
Making prints builds into the idea of provenance as well as increases the value of your art.