Pricing and Quality

Hello all,

Do you believe that the price of an asserted work of art reflects artistic quality or cultural fashion? You can say that the price is set by what someone is willing to pay but what decides that?

Can one artist be just as good as another but not get the price because of cultural fashion? If this is true, what does this say about our collective relationship to art?

The price for art is hard to quantify. Up for grabs really.

The original Mona Lisa must be worth zillions.

Yet I can run down to my local Try-n-Save and get a print for two bucks. Put it in a frame that might cost twenty, and I’ve got the Mona Lisa hanging on my wall for $22.

What’s the difference to a guy who’s standing 10 feet away looking at it?

Seriously. What’s the difference? What are we really paying for when we pay for art?

Hi rainey

The best I’ve come up with is to say that we pay for prestige and prestige is acquired from what others believe. Logically, I find this ludicrous but it is the case.

Have you ever seen the original Monalisa?


Nope, never have.

I assume that neither has Nick although it is dangerous to make assumptions about people. It’s just that if he had seen it he would know the difference between a $2 print and the original painting. Even the difference between a very good copy and a print. The original work exudes the artist’s vision and passion. To be in its presence is the experience itself. Money is simply an exchange, energy for energy. The price of a work of art reflects the energy of the art.

I haven’t seen the Mona Lisa either but I have seen many other works of art from classic paintings to graffiti art and there is something indescribable that comes over you. The thing is am I willing to pay the price for the priveledge of being able to be in its presence at will? It’s not much difference than buying a car as a thing of beauty for the driving experience. One might decide that one doesn’t wish to own an expensive car but the sheer thrill of driving that car whatever it may be, might infact sway one’s decision.


I don’t think I would disagree with this. There is something of the artist himself in the original. But then, that is what makes it valuable, not necessarily the subject of the painting or the concept the artist is trying to convey with the painting. There have been great forgeries of great masterpieces, after all, that have even fooled trained experts. So good, that the idea the original artist was trying to convey certainly would be conveyed to the viewer with the forgery. Or at least we could say that the viewer could interpret what was perhaps intended by the original, by looking at the forgery.

I would rather be looking at the original and knowing the brushstrokes were actually Leonardo’s, but then the value of that comes from “wow, this is the original” and not “wow, this is a great piece of art.”

I also have not seen the Mona Lisa. I agree that the original contains a certain something, a quality of energy A refers to, impossible for a print. A writes:

I doubt this simply because most are not sensitive to such energy. But it is believed that a cultured person is a person of quality and “should” feel such things so ownership of an "ACCEPTED piece of high art suggests that it should be the case. But it is not necessarily so which is why price can be deceptive

Joseph Turner has sold for as high as 35 million I believe. I have an ancestor whose energy IMO is on that same qualitative level as Turner. Perhaps I am wrong and it is just my imagination but regardless, being from an area associated with Russia, would not bring the same prices. Western art brings a higher price because of prestige associated with the term.

A is expressing an ideal for me. But as we are this ideal has come to exist more often only in our imagination and becomes a characteristic of prestige.