Uriél Dana Gallery

How Does An Artist Determine the Value or Worth of a Painting?

How does someone decide whether their painting is worth money or not (not talking about famous artists)?

Beginning artists often decide what their painting is worth by deciding what their time is worth per hour and multiplying that by the hours it took to complete the piece. They then add in the cost of the materials for a starting price.

If you say your painting is worth $500 and it sells instantly, you raise the price to $750. If it sells super fast you can raise it to $1000. If your painting takes longer to sell, you have reached your market at the level you are currently working. As an artist, you can tell pretty quickly if people take your skill level seriously or dismiss it as amateur or trite.

What makes your work go up is demand. Professional artists enter local, national, and international contests. If you get accepted, your work becomes worth more due to status and visibility. It’s important to remember you will be competing with thousands of artists so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get in. Most people don’t. It’s more about the zeitgeist of what the artists submit rather than individual artists. For example, if the theme of a contest was “isolation” you might have painted an island but 3/4 of artists might have painted people wearing masks or Covid related. The curator will see what’s on people’s minds and go with an overall wave of submissions.

The second is true of art gallery open submissions. That does not mean anyone can get in. It means anyone can submit a piece of art with the required fee to compete with other artists. Once accepted you will gain visibility by the gallery owner and its patrons. If your piece sells quickly, you may be invited to be part of a group show at another time.

The third thing that can determine a painting’s value is auction sales. When people die, divorce, or suffer a catastrophic loss their estate, including artwork, often gets put up for auction. Massive amounts of people can see work they have never seen before. This is why the gallery value of work in a gallery has nothing to do with what it sells for in an auction. Auction prices are determined by previous auction sales, the provenance of the work, the notability of the artist, taste in art trends, and availability. If an auction sale of a painting is high it significantly raises the gallery price of work by an artist. not the other way around.

Header Photo by Uriél Danā, Private works and collection 2023

Uriél Danā on Film Shoot

Uriél Danā has been a Professional Fine Artist 38 years and is a Contributing Editor on the arts and other subjects for two online arts magazines.

She is an Air Force Veteran and former USIA (State Department) Ambassador to the Arts. She is a graduate of the 2016 Writers Guild of the West (Los Angeles, CA) Veterans Writing Project.

A Contributing Editor on the Arts, Buddhism and Culture, Uriél contributes regularly to online and print magazines in addition to international journals. She has won many awards for her poetry and has been included in two anthologies. For National Poetry Month, April 2020, her poems will be featured on San Francisco’s public radio station, KPFA.

A resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, Uri has lived on three continents and visited 44 countries.