Buying Art: Spreading the market

I have been looking at paintings recently, and two things strike me: one is that even with lots of good examples of art to copy, most artists can’t even do a good copy or derivative work. Odd.

Second is that anything reasonable is around £500-£1000 – I imagine that is what is required to give the gallery 100% markup and the artist pay for the materials and earn £30,000 a year or so.

Now, to buy some paintings at one thousand to 4 thousand each is not a lot of money, but quite a risk: one imagines they cannot be sold back into the market for this kind of money.

And yet, if that is the case: where do they all go? Perhaps they are sold into the gallery and antique market again at half price or less, and so one never sees retail paintings in the “second hand” market.

Of course, some sell for much more: Picasso, Renoir… Ventriano.

So, what happens if you buy some examples of every artist when they are £1000 each? Buying the market, as it were?

Many will be worthless, but what is the distribution of values? How rare is Picasso? As rare as Einstein, one imagines. But then there are Vetriano’s, perhaps only as rare as good professors or large business CEOs.

It would be nice to know the distribution, and then to know the mean value of a painting: heavily influenced by these small tails of 100 million dollar Picasso’s, and $500,000 Ventrianos.

If you buy paintings at random, what will their mean value be? More or less than the average £1,000 charged for a competent artist’s work?

Of course you could buy wholesale, and selectively.

Another question: Were Picasso’s works ever cheap? Perhaps not. But perhaps so: Schopenhauer was not recognized until late in his life, Einstein was poor, and a patent clerk. So we do undervalue talent.

Perhaps the thing to do is to sponsor music, art and science competitions at school?

Perhaps i’ll do that.


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