Putting A Value On Work By 'Unknown' Artists

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If you're dealing with an estate, or planning to donate art to charity, then figuring out the value of artwork on your own can be difficult. When the artist is possibly unknown to the art world, or, perhaps, the piece was done by a relative, then it can be even more difficult. Valuing artwork has less to do with your own tastes and more on the marketplace and other factors. You may be throwing money away if you think it's not valuable because the artist isn't famous. Try to find out these three things before determining its value.

Is the artist truly unknown?

Unless you're heavily involved in the art world, then you may not know about certain artists who might have their own following or history. Just because someone isn't hanging in a famous gallery or museum doesn't mean that they're unknown. Many artists make a decent living selling art on their own or through small galleries or agents. Others are known through the many exhibitions and contests they participate in. Not all of these get a lot of publicity to the general public.

Does the artwork have market appeal?

Just because an artist had never set foot in a gallery or art show doesn't mean that his artwork is valueless. Perhaps he would have been a famous and rich artist had he gone out and marketed himself or met the right people. If he had a unique style or technique which is popular in the art world, then that may raise the value of his artwork regardless of being an unknown. On top of that, styles and preferences change off and on and over time, so even if his style wasn't popular while he was actively working, it may be now or again in the future.

Is the work in good condition?

Artwork in excellent condition will likely increase its value regardless of who created it. If the artist used cheap materials that are peeling or fading, then it will be of less value regardless of its style or how popular the artist may or may not have been. On top of overall condition, the type of frame as well as how it was framed may also add value to the artwork. Never remove the artwork from the frame until it is appraised as the artwork could be damaged. If the artwork isn't in good condition, talk to an appraiser to see if it's worth restoring.

Appraising artwork is something that can be confusing, especially when you think the artist is unknown. This is when a good art appraiser can step in and, using a set of rules and procedures, put a value on the work so you can settle your estate or determine a tax write-off amount for a charity donation. Don't automatically assume a piece of art isn't valuable, talk to an expert, instead.

For more information contact a company like Lipton Inc.