. . . and here of course I do mean money – dosh – mulaah!!!! I am not talking about its aesthetic value.
Well let me start in the following manner – the PRICING of art and its VALUE are of course two different things. However, if markets are sufficiently transparent and geographically and culturally integrated then there should not be any great variation in prices – however the reality is much different – especially I would say for Latin American artists.
Cultural Factors in Art Pricing
This is probably the simplest to explain. If you are a born and bred latino presently living outside Latin America, perhaps in NYC, and you have had an interest in your countries art you will most probably be prepared to pay for a work by an artist that meets your cultural criteria. Whereas, an artwork that falls into a different cultural category, though it may interest you, would not stimulate that same desire to make a purchase.
However, if you were a native New Yorker, even if you had an interest in Latin Art, you would probably make the purchase based on additional recommendations from the gallery or dealer that had the work that interested you . . . plus you would probably look for a good discount!
Another factor that comes under this section is obviously what the artist paints (or sculpts or creates just to broaden the pool of opportunity) . Art that is typically Latin and reflects its authors “country / place of birth” will not appeal to everyone around the world – again it would probably be more appealing to someone from the same region. Take the work of Fernando Botero as an example. Here in Colombia his works sell very well and get the international prices that are well established and given the size of the economy and the general lack of wealth that is in the country this is rather surprising. Now, although many people who are non-latinos probably own works of Botero I am sure that apart from their enjoyment of the artists work they made their purchase under the assurance of a gallery or dealer of the works value. Whereas in Colombia, Botero is in many ways held in very high esteem and that is probably the determining factor in pricing in this market. However, there are other well-known latin artists here in Colombia such as Armando Villegas whose work may regularly sell for USD $10 – 50,000 in Colombia (Again in part for being well-known and respected) but whose work would command such prices overseas or outside Colombia only with extreme difficulty outside of the latino community. And this brings me on to my next factor.
Geographical Factors in Art Pricing
A well known and well quoted artist in terms of pricing within a select geographical zone will not always be able to sell their work outside of that zone at the same pricing levels and would probably have to drop their prices (which usually is not in their best interest) or just grin and bear it while the new zones to be marketed come up to speed with the artist and their body of work. Of course given the internationalization of the art world this in some ways has become easier to do but the contradictory effect is that so many people are doing so that supply is outstripping demand which of course means more effort and costs have to be put into marketing the artist and their work – which is where almost all profit would go . . . and not to the artist. Of course the artist does benefit from increased international exposure. But as ever, the human race being what we are, look to take the easy way out . . . and this bring me to the point of “universality” in art.
Universality as a Factor in Art Pricing
Now, given the history of the development of art and the hegemonic positions of European and American art, the tendency so far is for this type of art to obtain higher prices – particularly so now that conceptual art has developed so much and indeed captured the market in terms of higher prices. Also, this type of art has for many developed into the gold standard in art. What a great pity I say.
All European art is, is INDIGENOUS art from Europe. So, in order to sell around the world and take part in world pricing many artist from Latin America “buy into” the scheme that this is the only art to be created – and of course this too is what is taught in art schools around the world. Talk about globalization. What we really mean is homogenization – milk for the masses. I believe that real art has more to offer.
So unfortunately many young artists in Latin America are looking to become “universal artists” to help ease their work into the accepted body of world art. What a great pity I say again. Although universality in art can help enter an already broad world art market very few artists of this ilk tend to command high prices . . . and those that do usually have something else to offer.
Well, that raps up todays session.Just to say that if you want to find out more about how art prices behave in transparent international markets I suggest you go to ArtPrice. It is a site that I use and trust.