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(Paintings in the photographs are available for sale at

Art is more than just a decoration or wall hanging. For the world, the painting you possess can become your signature for your thoughts, beliefs, preferences and emotional connections. For yourself, the painting can be your investment or a possession that gives you immense joy and a feeling of pride.

But what if you are new as a buyer to the world of art? You have little or no experience in buying an artwork. We all know the artwork of the masters costs a fortune and the available classic artworks are few and far between and are never auctioned outside Europe and America. Hence ,if you do select a painting of a talented and promising aspiring artist ,then how do you judge the quality and value of that painting?

In this article, contemporary painter Shantala Palat shares tips on how to judge the value of a painting. She says that though there are many variables that can impact the values of paintings, you can start by assessing the price of a painting by identifying certain characteristics of the painting.

1. Fall in Love

Beauty is, and always will be, in the “eye of the beholder”. Remember the first criteria – If you fall in love with the painting, then why not?

2. Skill and technique

The second one is to identify and understand the level of skills and techniques used in the artwork. You use three ways to check :

  • Compare the works to the other artworks you have seen in that medium before – if it is a painting; for example, decide whether this artist is more talented than others you have seen. It might be difficult when you are just starting out, and in that case, don’t let it worry you. It will only take a short amount of time for you to see the differences between a skilful painting and the one that’s poorly done.

  • Check if the artwork is consistent? For instance, can you see the odd markings compared to another area within the same piece? Sometimes art may look rushed or strange, but if it is created in a similar fashion throughout the entire piece, then the effect is most likely to be intentional. If not, then that work may not be as good as some others that are more internally cohesive.

3. Inherent meaning

Art is powerful, not just for its beauty or the talent needed for its creation, but because it can cause emotion, make political statements, or challenge preconceived ideas. Hence, check if the artwork is thought-provoking or not. Here are five levels of meaning that an art can communicate:

  1. Artwork that is purely representational – means artwork that is made simply for visual appeal, with no deeper intent.

  2. Art that references other art – It “tips its hat” to some other work, possibly providing a fresh perspective or continuing a conversation that another artist began.

  3. Art tells a story, or evokes a specific emotion – This is art that begins to affect you. It might cause you to understand, empathize or feel what’s being depicted.

  4. Art makes a statement – Here the artist is clearly speaking through the work, actively promoting a cause or perhaps bringing attention to an issue that’s important to him or her.

  5. Art as a metaphor – This is art that contains more than one meaning, and possibly several. It uses symbolic imagery or deals with more intangible human issues, and yet the artwork should still work as a visually appealing creation.

  6. The higher the level of meaning in the artwork, generally, the higher is the value of the painting.

4. Fulfilled intent

Try to understand what is the artist trying to say? If you’re at a gallery, read the artist statement. Most artists generally want to accurately portray a subject or to express an emotion. The important thing for the artist is to be in control of the artwork. If the intent is the main idea, the art should only convey that meaning. The artist statement should deepen and strengthen the viewers’ s understanding of the artwork.

Conclusion: To conclude in simple words, a good painting should appeal to you; it should be skilfully made, most likely by an artist who has created other works in a similar fashion. A good artwork also has meaning beyond just an image; perhaps it will move you to tears, make you laugh, or remind you of something you’d almost forgotten. It also stands out in a crowd, and dares to be different.


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