How much is a piece of art worth? In one sense, this question is impossible to answer; money has little to do with the true value of great art. But on the other hand, museums, art collectors, auction houses, and galleries need to know how much is a fair price to pay for a certain piece.

There’s a lot that goes into how collectors value art. Read on to learn more about all the different factors that may have an impact on the price of an art piece. You can also checkout or finance themed wall art collection.


One of the first big factors that come into play when art is valued is authentication. Unfortunately, there are some talented forgers out there, and it can be hard to tell the genuine pieces from the fakes. An expert will need to verify that what you have is, in fact, the masterpiece you think it is.

The authentication process can vary widely depending on a number of factors of the piece in question. Contemporary art will have a shorter process, especially if the artist is alive and can confirm whether the piece is their own work. Older pieces may require everything from extensive documentation searches to laboratory tests. 

Name of the Artist

Once a piece is proved authentic, the next major factor in its valuation is the name of the artist who created it. As you might imagine, the more famous the artist is, the more the piece is likely to be worth. A Kahlo, Degas, Picasso, Rembrandt, or El Greco will be worth more than a piece from an artist who only ever gained regional fame.

As we’ll discuss in a moment, however, contemporary pieces can play by different rules. Although an artist may not have gained a huge reputation yet, they may have a lot of promise that makes their work worth more from the beginning. This is why it’s so important to have your pieces appraised by an expert in the art market.

Long-Term Value

When it comes to contemporary art, a piece’s value may depend in part on its anticipated long-term value. As we mentioned, an artist may be relatively young in their career, but they may have a clear talent that makes it almost certain that they will find acclaim in the art world. Art curators and collectors can see that developing potential and will be value a piece higher accordingly.

Of course, this valuation factor is much more speculative than the others we’ve talked about so far. If you’re buying a piece from an emerging artist and its value seems higher than it should be, you may want to get a second opinion. You might have a chance to get a piece of art that, down the road, will be worth even more, but you do want to make sure you aren’t getting ripped off either.


Even if a piece does come from a very prominent artist and has a high long-term value, if it’s in poor condition, its value is going to be lower. Unfortunately, many prized pieces of art, especially those created centuries ago, fall victims to the ravages of time. And no matter how valuable a piece may once have been, once it decays into dust, it becomes worthless.

The good news is that if you have a piece of artwork that’s in bad shape, conservation measures may be able to restore some of its value and original beauty. The most talented conservationists can repair everything from tears, grime, and fading to lost paint. Make sure you vet your conservationists well; you don’t want to leave your art in the hands of an amateur.

Artwork Status

Aside from the name of the artist, the status of a piece of artwork can have a huge impact on its value. Yes, any piece by Da Vinci will be valuable, but naturally, the Mona Lisa is worth more than Portrait of Isabella d’Este. The more famous the artwork, the more it will be worth.

For obvious reasons, these rules can be a little different for artists who are still alive and creating new work. It’s hard to tell which piece will be an artist’s magnum opus until their career is finished. However, the first piece of art that brought an artist to fame, for instance, may be worth more than some of their following pieces. 

The Subject of the Art 

In some cases, the subject of a piece of art can actually have an impact on its value. For instance, Warhol’s portraits of Marilyn Monroe got the attention they did both because of Warhol’s own status and because of Monroe’s fame. Kehinde Wiley gained renown because he painted Barack and Michelle Obama.

However, the subject of these pieces doesn’t always have to be people. Paintings of significant historical events, places, or objects can have more value, as we’ll discuss more later. In essence, anything that makes this particular piece of art a unique portrayal of our world and its history will be worth more. 

Art Market

As with any valuation, a piece of art’s price will vary depending on the current state of the market. When the market is booming and there are a lot of desirable pieces up for sale, the price of each of these pieces may drop. But when it’s a seller’s market and everyone is holding onto their assets, prices may go up.

In the last year, for instance, the art world had to adapt to the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. With galleries, museums, and art fairs shut down, artists had to try to shift to an online platform. Sales slumped, and the market shifted to a buyer’s market, with sellers desperate to move even a few pieces. 


Most of the time, an artist’s value will depend largely on how respected they are in the art community. However, in certain cases, a piece from an artist who was not especially prolific or whose pieces have been lost may be valued higher. Because it’s harder to get a genuine work from this artist, each of the existing pieces is in higher demand. 

This value may be driven up even more if an artist’s career was tragically cut short. In those instances, not only is there a dearth of works from this artist but there’s a story that tugs at the heartstrings. Because this person should rightfully have produced so many more pieces, the ones they did complete become even more precious.


It should come as no surprise that demand for a particular piece of art will automatically increase its price. For instance, in the last few years, there have been several pieces of art that have gone viral online. Although these pieces may not have had much value before they gained fame, the attention they got online made them much more desirable.

It can be difficult to nail down exactly how much demand for a piece there is. In order to properly assess this, you’ll need to be very dialed into the art market. This is another reason it’s a good idea to hire an appraiser who has that expertise and continuous awareness of new developments in the art world.


While a proper authentication can verify that an artist did, in fact, create a certain piece, there’s nothing like a good signature to confirm to everyone that the work is legitimate. Not only is this piece a product of that artist, but they actually signed their name to it. This creates more of a sense of connection to the artist and so increases the value.

In some cases, authentication documents from the artist themselves can take the place of a signature in a valuation. For instance, a sculpture or experiential art piece may not be easily signed. However, you’ll need to consult with a qualified appraiser to determine how these situations are handled. 


The final factor that can play into a piece’s value is its connection to history. This history can impact the piece directly, or the piece may have had an impact on history itself. For instance, Norman Rockwell’s depiction of Rosie the Riveter had an enormous influence on women’s presence in the workforce during World War II.

Art pieces that changed the course of history around them will be worth more because of their significance. If a piece depicts a historical event, its worth may depend on how unique it is. If there are hundreds of portrayals of the same event, a piece will have to somehow be unique among that crowd to have a higher value.

Learn More About How Collectors Value Art

In the world of art, pricing can depend on a variety of different factors. Everything from whether the piece is authenticated or signed to its condition and the current art market can raise or lower a price. It’s always a good idea to work with an experienced appraiser to figure out how much your art is worth.

If you’d like to learn more about how collectors value art, check out the rest of our site at Traders Creed. We have a wide variety of fantastic art themed around accounting, finance, and the stock market. Shop our collections today and find the next piece that will transform your home or office.