Artistic Coefficient: How to calculate the price of the artworks

    The importance of knowing the artistic coefficient

    The young artist, the emerging photographer or the first-time collector, they all face the question of the prices of artworks with little information and much confusion; let’s shed some light on the topic.

    There is a mathematical formula, known to the art market pratictioners, which is used to define the economic value of the works based on a parameter called artistic coefficient.

    The coefficient is a score, starting from 0.1 0.2 up to 1/3 for an established world-class artist .

    Based on the Curriculum Vitae, first element that count in order to define the value of an emerging artist, this score is assigned at the beginning of the career and established in agreement with the gallery owner.

    The coefficient of the young artist follows the trend of his or her career growth and is supported by the representing gallerist , who shares this information with other colleagues interested in selling the works in other galleries.

    The same artist can also have different coefficients based on the artistic technique used, ranging from painting to sculpture, from photography to video art, just to name a few.

    Here is the formula that is used to calculate the price of a work of art starting from its dimensions and from the knowledge of the artistic coefficient:

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    [(length + height) x coefficient] x 10 = price of the work

    The calculation involves the sum of the length and the height of the work, multiplying the result by the coefficient and finally multiplying the result again by ten.

    For example, by applying the formula to the works of a young artist with a coefficient of 0.3 we can notice that the sum of the dimensions 50 + 50 cm multiplied by the score 0.3, whose result is multiplied again by 10, leads to a price of 300.00 €

    [(50 + 50) x 0.3] x 10 = 300,00 €

    Everything is easy so far, but there are exceptions in the use of the formula and in the assignment of a coefficient to an artist.

    Let’s have a look to some of them in a nutshell:

    •    A period of great creativity and experimentation with different techniques leads to an increase in the coefficient.

    •    The production of multiple copies of a single work, in the case of a photographic medium, takes into account the quantity of copies printed for each  image, resulting in a decrease in the coefficient

    •    The involvement of the gallerist in the production phase of the work determines, at the moment of the final pricing, the consideration of some factors such as production costs, copies and dimensions, which do not necessarily take the coefficient into account.

    Knowing the formula for calculating the price of a work, with the exceptions concerning the use of the artistic coefficient, is useful to approach the art market with awareness.

    Relying on the advice of a gallerist, however, proves to be decisive for the steady growth of the emerging artist’s career and, for the collector, to kickstart a collection reinsured by the knowledge of a legitimate price.


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