Is Fine Art Worth What You Pay For It?
For the last fifty years Fine Art has been defined as any work of art that the majority of the population will agree is of superior quality. In a world where image, video and advertising are the norm for defining who we are, it seems strange that fine art has been relegated to being the preserve of the wealthy and famous. However in more recent times this term has been increasingly used as more people have become familiar with artists like Jonathan Church and Sir Philip Carter
Although the word fine art was once used to describe the works of the poor, it now seems to be more commonly used by the rich and famous. One reason for this is that artists like Jonathan Church and Sir Philip Carter are able to command very high prices for their pieces of work. Another is that it seems that those who were not deemed “worthy” enough to paint by the rich and famous have since fallen out of favour with the mainstream art market. The status of the art world has always been based on perception and as the public perception of artists like Jonathan Church and Sir Philip Carter change, so have the prices they command.
Although fine art is predominantly based on impressions of reality, it does not mean that everything within the realm of the art world is created equally. This is partly why there are so many masterful artists that are considered masters of their crafts, but their works are priced way beyond the means of most people. Another reason this happens is that the public in general tend to see value in the artwork they see rather than perceived value in the artist. People tend to believe that if something costs $100 that it is of a far higher quality than anything that costs less. Of course there is also the perception that the more highly paid an artist is the more high profile and valuable their work is.
There is some speculation that the increase in demand for fine art may also be linked to the fact that governments around the world are desperate to support artists who provide them with inspiration. When we look at the history of fine art, we can see that it is a product that is highly valued by aristocrats due to its ability to beautify their homes and make them seem more refined. In return they are charged with high taxes, which add to the price of the work. With the government supporting the artists they can afford to charge a higher price. Although this has not stopped some collectors from purchasing artwork for their collections, it is probably wise to wait until there is more of a consensus between tax-paying aristocrats and the rest of us collectors.
It is interesting to note that when one looks back at the history of fine art there is no real correlate or common factor that can be said to set certain styles or eras apart. The creation of a painting is only a fraction of the art project and a lot of the skill and love that go into creating fine art can be put into other mediums as well. Artful creations can be seen in paintings, photographic work, film, music, and sculpture. There is no one way that artists express themselves.
With such a diverse range of artists there is no clear demarcation between what is fine art and what is trash. If you have an interest in collecting paintings or any other form of fine art, do some research before you start purchasing or starting a collection. Collectors need to understand that what is valuable may not be in your interest in ten years down the road. Before purchasing anything collectible, check the market value to see if it is something you would be willing to pay an equivalent price to get rid of.