How to understand the value of a work of art

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Sometimes you find yourself holding a painting or sculpture that has been hanging in your grandparents’ or distant relative’s house for years.
We look at the work and doubt whether it has value, whether it was created by a famous artist or whether it is significant for understanding a certain historical period.

It can happen that a masterpiece is found by pure chance in a flea market or even that an artist is rediscovered after decades, as happened with the recent discovery of the works of Luigi Pericle in his home.

The doubt that the work in front of us is a small treasure assails us but we don’t know where to start to understand its true value.

Here are some tips for understanding the value of a work of art.

Getting to know the work

Whether you are a collector or a dealer, the first thing to do is to know the work you want to buy or sell.
Knowledge is the first step in establishing the value of a work and is based on observation of the work, study of the materials, the historical context in which it was created and knowledge of the artist’s style and technique.

At this stage, it is useful to be supported by an expert who can decipher the authorship, authenticity and value of a work of art, who can assess its importance in relation to artists and works of the same period and the current interest of the art world based on his or her knowledge and experience.
An expert is important whether the work is by a living, active artist or a work from a few decades or centuries ago.

Reconstructing the history of a work

If the work we want to buy or sell proves to have been made a few decades ago or in past centuries, it is necessary to reconstruct its history.
This phase often takes a long time.
Indeed, a work of art does not always have a clear and documented history, testifying to the time when it was created, the changes in ownership and authenticity.
In order to retrieve this information, it is necessary to make an enquiry and perhaps hire an expert who can also do thorough research in historical archives.

Carrying out technical investigations

In order to understand the value of a work, especially if it is not by a contemporary artist, one has to check that it is not a fake or a copy.
In order to understand this, an analysis of the materials must be carried out, which will reveal their age and thus enable the period of creation of the work to be established.
Scientific analyses have proved to be of great importance in many cases and have often unmasked fraudulent business dealings with fake works.
The valuation of a painting or sculpture requires a complex analysis and serves to make a commercial estimate of the work to be offered on the market.

The mathematical formula for calculating the price of a work

Once all the research has been done on the work and the artist, it is necessary to establish its economic value.
The mathematical formula that is applied to paintings, photographs and sculptures is as follows:
sum the base and height of the work and then multiply the result obtained by the coefficient attributed to the artist. The result is multiplied by 10.

The strongest variable is of course the coefficient assigned to the artist, which consists of a number assigned to the artist and is established on the basis of a number of elements:

    • Artist’s CV;
    • participation in group or solo exhibitions;
    • prizes won;
    • publications or acquisition by museums;
    • auction awards.

The coefficient changes over time.

A young artist, for example, when sold in a gallery always starts with a coefficient of 1 when calculating the public price.
The coefficient rises when collectors are willing to pay the starting price to buy a painting and in the meantime the emerging artist starts to build up his or her own CV by participating in exhibitions or showing in galleries or fairs.

The coefficient can therefore go up or, in the worst case, stand still.
Rarely can it decline, which is why investing in art is one of the safest.


The revolution of ValutaOpere to evaluate a work of art

In order to give a work of art a commercial value, it is necessary to rely on experts at an early stage or to use reliable services.
There are a number of aspects to be considered, where the history, the style of the artist, the technique and the materials used are also important.
This is why the ValutaOpere method was created, which is based on the scientific and constant analysis of the adjudications at the main Italian auction houses and allows collectors, art galleries and operators in the sector to understand precisely what the value of a work is.

Thanks to a specific algorithm, ValutaOpere is able to analyse the market on a daily basis and provide the necessary data to know the value of a work or an artist.
Therefore, sellers and buyers of artworks now have a quick and easy-to-use tool for obtaining up-to-date information on the market value of an artist or art movement.

To find out the value of a work of art, simply search for the name of the artist or search for artists from a specific historical period or artistic movement and check the trend in the average price of works of art and their value according to their format (small, medium, large).
All the information you need to make the right decisions about buying or selling a work is available and always up-to-date.

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