4 Determining Factors That Influence The Value of a Painting

4 Determining Factors That Influence The Value of a Painting

Have you visited an art gallery where the value of a painting is quite high? Have you ever wondered what makes a painting valuable? One way to understand why an expensive painting is its scarcity and how it was done. These artworks are original and are made with an artist’s unique ability. Some valuable paintings are made by famous artists and express a different story. 

If you watch auctions at Christie’s and Sotheby’s, you would probably wonder why these paintings are sold for millions of dollars and why people are willing to spend this large sum of money on artworks. This article will let you know what makes a painting expensive and how art is valued.

4 Determining Factors That Influence The Value of a Painting

Historical Significance

Some pieces have a high contribution to a specific genre of art history. It serves as a reflection of culture and tradition during the time the valuable painting was made. Aside from that, old painting values are also determined by restitution. A painting that was stolen from its owner and has been returned creates a rich history of the painting.

Artist’s History and Popularity

Who created the artwork will always be a factor in the value of the painting. If the artist is known from across the globe or has been making a name recently, the artwork will most likely be expensive. 
At some point, the artist’s life is also what makes a painting valuable. In addition to that, an expensive painting is expected from artists who created notable pieces and died early. This is because they will not be able to produce such high-value art.


What sets a low-cost painting from an expensive painting is being authentic. As the first piece that its artist originally made, it will definitely be a more valuable artwork than a replica made by anybody else.


Another reason a painting is valuable is its previous owners' documented history. An artwork that notable or well-known people previously owned adds more value to the piece when it is sold at auction houses or art exhibits.

Simple Paintings Can Be Expensive

There may be artworks that are very simple to the vision of others, making them think it is not worth spending money on. But for art enthusiasts, every artwork has its value, history, and story. 

This is often perceived in modern and contemporary art. It is important to remember that apart from the determining factors mentioned above, the artist’s philosophy, concept, and reputation are the other reasons paintings are worth the money.

Unsigned and Undated Paintings

It may be a surprise for many that Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa wasn’t signed and dated. Though no initials or signatures were indicated on the artwork, it can still be considered a valuable painting.

There are many ways to value artwork. If artwork is unsigned, it can be authenticated by sourcing its origin. It can be checked through paperwork, the catalog raisonné, or art appraisers' help.

Weird Paintings Can Be Valued Artworks

This goes the same with how art is valued, even if it is simple. Artists provide their uniqueness and their style. Many art collectors are buying paintings that are hard to interpret. These people spend millions of dollars to get an original and rare piece.

An artist’s techniques are hard to recreate. It is based on their perceptions and expressions.

distorted painting
Source image from Unsplash.com

Small Paintings Are Still Valued

In general, the size of an artwork also affects its value. However, a small artwork is not made with less talent. The subject of the painting and the artist’s skills and philosophies are still present in small paintings.

How people see painting differs from one another. For some, a small artwork is not valuable since there are fewer colors used or there is little effort made. But there are people, especially art collectors and enthusiasts, who appreciate paintings, whatever the size they have.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is oil painting expensive?

There are oil paintings that have a higher value than acrylic. Aside from the factors mentioned, its pigments and durability in a canvas add to its value.

What types of paintings sell the most?

Today, the most popular type of painting is realism. It closely depicts real life, interpreted in smooth textures and strokes. 

How can you tell if a painting is valuable?

Seek assistance from an art appraiser, especially if you are eyeing old artwork. You will know its value by knowing its artist, the condition of the artwork, when it was finished, and who its previous owners were. 
watercolor portrait

Final Thoughts

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