Pricing on the art market and an interesting experiment by LifeHunters


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Hardly any other topic is able to polarize the photo-community as much as photos and prints that are sold or auctioned for incredible amounts of money. One of the newest examples is “Phantom”, a photo that the Australian photograph Peter Lik is said to have sold to a private collector for $6.4m. Looking at this photo as well as many others that have achieved record sums at art auctions, one cannot but shake one’s head in disbelief. Mainly because in most cases there is no visible reason why that photo should be worth so much.

This discrepancy between perceived value and the actual market price has apparently prompted the operators of the website LifeHunters to start the following experiment: in order to find out how those interested in arts determine the price of an artwork, a €10 Ikea print was put up in a museum. Then visitors were asked what they thought about it and how much they would be willing to spend on this piece of art. At the beginning they were told that it was a painting by “Ike Andrews” – a famous Swedish artist who had allegedly made a name for himself with paintings like “Norden”, “Ektorp” and “Dalskär” (all pieces of furniture by Ikea). 😉 As can be expected, many of the respondents fell for it. A lady was of the opinion that something like that would not be available at a cheap art gallery. An elderly gentleman even said that he would be prepared to spend up to €2.5m, but should think it over-priced if it were even more expensive. But have a look for yourself – the video provides interesting insights into the art market and its apparently illogical pricing mechanisms. 😉

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