International Art Markets

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Art, the product of human creativity and skill learnt by study and through practice and observation. The question arises, can we quantify an artistic product to its equivalent market value as argued by William Grampp in his article Pricing the Priceless: Art, Artist and Economics or is this a crude method of determining the real value of artistic work as pointed out by Pierre Bourdieu in his article, The Field of Cultural Production: Essay on art and literature? In this essay we will try to understand the key dynamics of the art market by basing our emphasis on how the art market resembles other markets and its relationship to the general trends in the economy. The value of an artistic work is almost, if not in all cases, purely subjective. For example, take a painting whose intrinsic value is the paint and canvas, both of which do not amount to much. But when this painting is mounted on a wall in a gallery display, the viewers of the art pieces will determine the price of the piece of art based on taste. This factor at times tends to set such prices that would be illegal in most market industries, since they would be outstandingly too high. This is according to Allison Schrager‘s point of view in the article, High-end Art is one of the most manipulated markets in the world. Ben Lewis pointed this out in his documentary, The Great Contemporary Art Bubble, and how the Art Market was different from other markets in that it lacked the external oversight (government intervention) that might prevent some of the speculation and secrecy (backroom dealings) that he had discovered. Just like in other market industry that trades in manufactured goods and providing services, the

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