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“Sunflowers” by Vincent van Gogh. Van Gogh Museum image.

Defining the Price of Masterpieces

June 11, 2018

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Defining the price of a masterpiece is a difficult task. Dealers, galleries, experts, and other agents need to work together to evaluate the artwork correctly. Prior to revealing the cost of a painting, experts always study its provenance. If there are any ambiguities in the artwork's origin, this can lead to either a significant decrease or increase in its value.

Collectors also participate in this process by creating competition and excitement. The more scandalous content is associated with the painting, the higher the price for it is. An interesting example of this phenomenon is the sunflower series by Vincent van Gogh. It is known that it was created when the painter was visited by Paul Gauguin. During this period, the two artists had a fight after which Van Gogh cut off a part of his ear. The series became very popular due to the incident. Now one of those paintings costs approximately $350 million (some of the paintings from this series are exhibited in national galleries).

Apart from provenance, painting’s exclusivity affects its cost. The purchase of a unique artwork is equated with the acquisition of a long-term asset. Since true art is immortal, the cost of masterpieces only grows with time.