Breaking down the numbers

Heidi Hogden, 08/21/2011 8:23 am, 60 x 40 inches, graphite on paper, 2011

Sometimes prices in the art-market can seem a little opaque. We thought we'd take a stab at breaking down the different price points and giving a broad sense of what you might expect to get in return. That said, we firmly feel that there is great quality work available at all ranges of the spending spectrum – and that there is no amount that you “have” to spend to get something worthwhile.

Just getting started:
Up to $1,000: This is a great entry point for making an initial purchase. At this price you can find wonderful works on paper, multiples like prints and photographs, and small canvases by young or under-recognized working artists.

More comfortable being cautious:
$1,500-3,000: This price point can be a strong entry point for purchasing a larger work by an emerging artist or a relatively small work on paper by a more established artist represented by a gallery or dealer.

Making a bigger commitment:
$3,500-6,000: Within this range you can find a more significant piece by an emerging artist, or a medium-sized work on canvas or sculptural piece by a contemporary artist with gallery representation or a loyal following.

Making a statement:
$6,000-12,000: At this level, you can acquire a major work by an emerging artist, a strong piece by a more established artist with gallery representation, or a small or medium-sized piece by a mid career artist with a growing collector base.

Playing in the big leagues:
$12,000+: If you decide to make this level of financial commitment to an art purchase a familiarity with current art market conditions is essential. At this level you can start to find entry-level works by blue-chip artists or an up a coming emerging artist who has work already placed in well-known private or corporate collections and/or museums.

Clearly there is more to say about all of this…we’ll take it slowly!