I have always struggled with the dark art of pricing artwork. Weird magic is involved. I have seen an interested buyer lose interest when I quoted a price that was too low. Oops, I mean… All of a sudden the aura of the work was gone. How could I be a serious artist if I was willing to sell for that price? Could it be that it certain cases, raising the price actually increases the demand?
I was talking about this recently with a friend and he told me an anecdote about a wine seller who had an overstock of a particular wine. When putting the wine on sale didn’t help it move, he greatly inflated the price and suddenly it began flying off the shelves. Does more expensive wine taste better? This Freakonomics podcast explores this question with surprising results. I thought my unsophisticated palette was to blame for the fact that I can’t tell the difference between five dollar and fifty dollar bottles of wine. Turns out I’m not alone. In blind taste tests, the experts may be just as clueless. I think wines with cool labels taste best.
I have discovered that there is something in economics called a Veblen Good, a luxury item for which price equates quality. Art can fit into this category. Economists in the house, please comment. My knowledge of the subject is confined to my recent Google history, but I’m happy it has a name.
At any rate I’m trying to make the best paintings I can. Below is a painting I recently completed. It can be yours for ONE MILLION DOLLARS.