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  • Writer's pictureJames Spencer

What Influences The Cost of Art?

A topic that is often talked about in art is the price. People may wonder why fine art can be so expensive so here I will give a few of the reasons.

Original Art Is Unique

Uniqueness is a key aspect to consider here. Original art will always be one of a kind due to the handmade nature of the process. Even a copy of a painting which appears identical from a distance will have unique properties when viewed up close. This is because the artist constructs a piece in such a complex way that it wouldn’t be perfectly repeatable, even by themselves. This is what makes anything handmade special.

While prints can be a wonderful way to own a piece of an artist’s work, their value is far less due to the lack of uniqueness.

The Process and Training

When considering the purchase of a new piece of art it may be useful to think of the whole process that leads to it’s creation. A painter may train for many years, honing their skills before selling a single piece. Artists are forever trialing new methods and experimenting with materials to further develop their practise. This time must be taken into account when considering the price of a piece of work.

They have often invested thousands of unpaid hours in order to master techniques and find solutions to aesthetic puzzles with no guarantee of reimbursement. It is essential for artists to create bad paintings and for experiments to fail, this step is required in order to learn and improve. The only downside for the artist is that they don’t get paid for this experimentation, they must wait for success before recovering the costs of their efforts. This is the best way to think about the cost of art. The collector doesn’t pay simply for the hours it took the artist to create the work but rather the years of study and training which allowed them to produce the piece in a matter of hours.


Any artist worth their salt will use good quality materials but good materials are not cheap. Painters for example may have costs such as paint, brushes and canvases along with running a studio and website.


Of course it’s also important to acknowledge that fashion and an artist’s popularity may also be reflected in their prices. This comes down to the classic rule of supply and demand.

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