Let’s calculate the value of fine art

Benefits Supervisor Seeping (1995) - by Lucian Freud

Who wants to buy fine art? More importantly, who can afford to buy fine art? It is not difficult to answer the question: mainly affluent businessmen, bankers and investors. The demand for pictures and paintings determines the price for artworks. Over time, many artists have created relationships with investors that are based on both business relationships and real friendships. Or, we might wonder, are their social connections only part of their PR and self-marketing strategy?
The more buyers appreciate an artist, on both a business and personal level, the more the wealthy are willing to pay for artworks. The demand for the art works of an artist increases simultaneously with the number of acquaintances artists make. To find more out about the demand of an artist’s work can be put in the equation:

An artist’s popularity in society = The value of his artworks

If we look at Lucian Freud’s market value we can clearly see that the value of his art works has increased over time. The older he got and the more contacts he had, the more were people interested in his art.

In spring 2008, one of his most expressive portraits, namely Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, reached a world record value of $33.6 million for a painting by a living artist at Christie’s in New York. His second most valued painting was also sold in 2008 in London. In London, while his cheapest artwork is an etching from 1982 which is worth $10,300. On the 15 February Christie’s sold 44 paintings by Lucian Freud. His most lucrative painting Eli was valued $228,201, which is a lot higher than that estimated by the auction house. What this suggests is that the price of his artworks might have risen due to Lucian Freud’s death in summer 2011.


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