When it comes to the value and pricing of artwork, there are a few things to factor in. Much of it has to do with the difficulty of the piece, and the experience of the artist. An accomplished artist with a lot of time invested in their talent is deserving of a high price. You’re paying or admiring years of hard work and learning.
Also keep in mind the cost of the supplies and the skill required. Oil paintings will alway demand higher pricing because oil is a very difficult medium to become proficient with, and usually it will take the artist much longer to complete a piece. Also, the cost of paints, brushes and canvas is quite an investment. Brushes and oil paint can run into the hundreds of dollars. But the longevity of oil is unsurpassed, for it’s a medium that will endure and deteriorate very little over time.
Watercolor, along with pastel, can also be deemed more expensive and valuable due to the materials used. These pigments can be very expensive to produce and to purchase. Yes, manmade, synthetic pigments are more affordable, but pure pigments from the earth are quite expensive. This becomes a true investment.
The artist must have a lot of time invested to learn the techniques for using these products as well. All three of these mediums have been used by artists since the beginning of art. Historically, the materials were all handmade using earth’s pigments, and that’s why they have lasted the test of time.
When you get into the drawing mediums, the price will go down. The materials cost less, and the time investment often goes down as well.
A lot of the attitude about different mediums stems from the Old Masters. Back in the 15th century, drawings were often looked at as a preliminary study for future paintings. The drawings were where the artist sketched out the ideas, worked out the problems, and then moved on to paint. They were just concept pieces. This gave drawings a stigma of being “less” than paintings, because they were looked at as mere stepping stones to the real art coming up.
Experienced collectors wanted the expensively done oils because they were so highly regarded. Their value was always much higher due to the demand, and the fact that it was a purchase made only by the upper-class.
Today, little has changed in the perceptions. A higher price makes it an investment and a proud heirloom. People value their things by the amount they sacrifice to have it.
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