Oil Painting: Value per sq. foot?

Discussion in 'Art & Culture' started by Dinosaur, Nov 28, 2017.

1. DinosaurRational SkepticValued Senior Member

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Many years ago I went to the auction of the contents of mortgage foreclosed house with a friend who dealt in antiques & various other items available at flea markets & house auctions. .

He bid circa $300.00 for an oil painting which he late sold for$2000.00. It was done by some obscure artist he had never heard of. The other bidder a woman who I assume was bidding merely because she like the painting.

I asked him how he knew he could make a profit on it.

He replied that a well executed oil was worth at least some number of $per square foot, making it worth at least$400.00

Does anyone here know the current minimum value per square foot for an oil painting?

Last edited by a moderator: Nov 29, 2017

3. DinosaurRational SkepticValued Senior Member

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Mea culpa: I did not intend the italics.

5. sweetpeaValued Senior Member

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well, the current price of a barrel of crude oil is...

sideshowbob likes this.

7. iceauraValued Senior Member

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"Well executed", would be the key factor there.

There's a family heirloom oil painting currently hanging on a sibling's hallway wall, executed by a grandmother in her very early youth, whose worth per square foot on an open market might be negative - the frame might sell for more without it.

The dollar signs trigger them. There's a workaround.

8. DaveC426913Valued Senior Member

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"That's a lovely priceless painting you've bought there sir."
"Rather. But I really only like the nose."
*snip snip*

Peter Sellers, Ringo Star - The Magic Christian

9. SeattleValued Senior Member

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Shouldn't this be in the bad joke forum?

10. Stoniphiobscurely fossiliferousValued Senior Member

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Oil paintings, like many other types of artwork, are individually priced, according to many variables, as I suspect we are all quite clear.

"Per square foot" in pricing would then refer to mass - produced items, not actually considered as individual artworks.

11. DinosaurRational SkepticValued Senior Member

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Seattle Post 6
Stoniphi Post 7
You two folks quite reasonably believe that it is silly or erroneous to assign a a value per square foot to an oil painting.

The person I refer to made a good living buying for resale at flea markets & auctions at foreclosed houses.

Over the years he had developed algorithms for estimating a minimum value of various types of items. I am guessing that some of the algorithms might have been given him by others who bought for resale.

BTW: Note that the time required to create a well executed oil painting would be affected by the area of the painting, so it would surely make some sense to estimate a higher minimum value for larger paintings by unknown artists.

12. sideshowbobSorry, wrong number.Valued Senior Member

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The ghost of Vincent Van Gogh will be glad to hear that.

13. iceauraValued Senior Member

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The key variable in that algorithm would be "well-executed" - with some unspoken elements of subject matter, etc (the family heirloom painting of a pile of dead fish done in dull colors is actually pretty well executed - - ). Secondarily "square footage". ( and it's large). The guy knows what good execution looks like - give him credit.

btw: Apparently artists often price their paintings by the square inch: http://mariabrophy.com/business-of-art/how-to-price-your-original-artworks.html
So the price per square inch varies by "name" - meaning there would be a floor price for "unknown". It's not a unique idea - it's kind of standard.
And there's a reason for it (explained in the text of the link).

14. Stoniphiobscurely fossiliferousValued Senior Member

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The term "well executed" can be defined in several ways too. Technically speaking, it requires an expert to be able to tell whether an oil painting is "well executed" or not. Sometimes you have to take a very close look - like with a microscope and/or various solvents.

We will perhaps recall a particular English artist who was an extraordinarily adept painting forger. He could do a 'new' Van Gogh, Renoir etc flawlessly, was caught a few years ago and made the headlines for a while. He made his 'newly discovered' original works in the style of famous dead painters using authentic materials of the correct time and age. No mean feat I can assure you from first hand professional experience with many antique artworks.

His paintings procured top prices, but much of that valuation was based on false premise. If he had signed his own name the price per square foot would have been far lower.