How to Determine the Value of Your Paintings

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The art world is a confusing place. At times it can be very difficult to determine an accurate value of your paintings, drawings and other works of art. This insightful blog from The Art Market Blogger helps you to determine the true value of your masterpiece, and provides tips and suggestions on how to help maximize your art investment.

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When you have a painting you’d like to sell, or if you’re looking for one to buy, it can be hard to know whether the asking price is reasonable. There are a lot of factors to take into account: the size and quality of the painting, who made it and when, whether it’s been authenticated, whether it’s been repaired.

With enough information, you could figure out how much a painting would sell for at auction. But if all you want to do is decide whether it’s worth your while to make an offer, there’s an easier way: put your own price on the painting and see what happens. If you try selling the painting through an art dealer and he offers you half of what you asked (or more), then go ahead and sell it. If he doesn’t make an offer, keep looking for another buyer.

If no one else wants your painting, then it’s worth exactly as much to you as it costs you to store or display it. That might still be worth something; if not, maybe someone else will want a homemade gift.

The reason this works is that art dealers aren’t idiots; they know something about paintings and they’re willing to take a risk on something if they think they can turn a profit later

I’m a painter and art teacher, and I’ve been involved in the art business for over 20 years. I’ve been asked to analyze the value of paintings for a number of reasons. I am also an appraiser for a major auction house, so my qualifications are quite good.

It seems like every day another artist is being told by someone that their painting is worth millions. Often this estimate has come from a dealer or an art appraiser, but sometimes it comes from a friend or relative who has heard that this is true. Artists who have received this kind of news should be careful. It’s very possible that they are being scammed into paying large sums of money to this scammer. The scammer will tell them that they need to pay to get their work authenticated by an expert appraiser, but when they do, they won’t be informed that their painting is worthless.

Why are these scams so popular? It’s because there is no way for the general public to determine the real value of a work of art. The only sure way to know what your artwork is really worth is to have it appraised by a professional, and to have it authenticated by an expert in your field if needed.

We work with a large number of galleries, auction houses, appraisers and private collectors in evaluating art and antique items. We have a staff of art historians who are able to provide information regarding the history and authenticity of objects we are asked to examine.

We have examined thousands of works of art and antiques ranging from old masters to 20th century. We have provided authentication and appraisal services for hundreds of local, national and international clients including: Christie’s, Christies Online, Sotheby’s, Phillips de Pury & Company, Heritage Auctions, Swann Auction Galleries, Freeman’s Auctioneers & Appraisers, Freeman’s Fine Art Auctioneers & Appraisers and many other auction houses.

Art is the most difficult thing to value, since most art is not based on a widely accepted or regulated currency of value. Art is something that is valued for its beauty, intricacy and originality. The price of a painting can be determined by any number of factors: The painting may have been created by a world renowned artist, it may have been created in a time period when prices were high due to political turmoil, it may have been created at a time when values are low because of political turmoil; the painting may have been discovered and marketed aggressively by the owner (e.g., the Van Gogh ear story), the painting may have been discovered and marketed poorly (same story); there may exist more than one version of the same image which can cause confusion as to value; there may exist only one example of this particular piece which adds to its uniqueness and value; there may exist only one example of this particular piece but it is so badly damaged that it is worthless; and finally, the market for said art may be very small making it uneconomical for experts to focus their attention on specific areas or types of art.

Kurt Vonnegut wrote an essay called “How To Value Your Own Work” which examines these issues in greater detail.


It is a common misconception that there is a universal art market pricing system. Actually, the art market and art appraisals are based on many factors such as location, type of art and the artist’s fame or country of origin. The art market encompasses paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs and other works of visual art. There are also differing values for different types of art, such as fine arts versus folk arts.

Hello and welcome to my blog. I am a professional art appraiser who has been in the business for over 30 years. You might ask how does one become an art appraiser? There are several ways you can obtain this career, some more difficult than others. The first is through an art school program that offers a degree in fine arts, this is a four year program in addition to a Master’s Degree. In order to obtain a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts, you must have at least a bachelors degree in fine art or a related field such as history of art, art education, and the list goes on.

A second way is by becoming an apprentice under a master— not just any master will do either! You must be apprenticed to an established professional who has been in the business for many years and is well known among the gallery and auction houses. Most apprenticeships last upwards of 10 years with the average being about 7 years or so before you can consider yourself a full fledged appraiser.

The third way is by becoming self taught. This requires hard work and dedication to learning everything you can about fine art appraisal from any news paper ads you run across that offer appraisal services for free, advertisements in magazines like Antiques & Arts or

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