Monday, 17 March 2008

Art pricing tip from Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci wrote:

“There is a certain breed of painter who, having studied little, must spend their working lives in thrall to the beauty of gold and azure. With consummate stupidity they argue against executing good work for meagre recompense, although they say they would be as able to produce it as another, were they be well paid. But consider, foolish people, do such as these not realise that they should keep aside some good work saying, this is worth a good price, this is medium-priced and this is run-of-the-mill, thus showing they have works in all price ranges.” 

(from Leonardo on Painting: Anthology of Writings by Leonardo Da Vinci with a Selection of Documents Relating to His Career as an Artist (Yale Nota Bene) edited by Martin Kemp)

Source: NASA

It is important, as Leonardo suggests, to “have works in all price ranges” for the following reasons:
  • First of all, you want to make sure that a wide section of viewers can buy your art and offering a comprehensive price range helps buddy collectors to start on the path to buying art. You could sell drawing or small studies at reasonable price, or have small oil paintings.

  • Collectors who bought a piece of work from you (even the cheapest ones), are more likely to buy more in the future and could buy more expensive works. Many people have trouble breaking the mental barrier of buying art. Once they’ve done it, they realise that it is not that a big deal.
  • If you have a wide price range based on a combination of the medium you use and the size of the works, you have a good argument to answer the discount question: “Can you give me a discount on this painting?” In this case, you can answer: “Well, what is your budget? I have smaller paintings and I am sure we can find something you will like and is within your budget.”

  • Having cheaper paintings in your range comforts the potential buyer of a more expensive work that he is paying the right price. Let me explain. As a buyer, we want to feel comfortable that we are paying a fair price for what we buy. We generally do that by comparing different goods with various features and then we make-up our mind. We may not go for the cheapest good because we value certain characteristics of the more expensive item. What is important is that we had the choice and when we have made a choice freely, it becomes harder to back track. By offering a wide range of prices, you are placing your potential buyer in a position to make a free choice and therefore, to feel comfortable the day after the sale that he did the right thing.

Add to Technorati Favorites


usetty said...

Wise argument. Leonardo da vinci's and yours. Thanks for the great tip. It has reassured me that I am in the right path.-- I feel more confident now.

Benoit Philippe said...

I am glad you like this post. Pricing is probably something I will come back to, as it is a difficult but important topic. Benoit