Our last issue dealt with our opinions on the idea that you should --- buy what you like …so the next question is:
Now for the hard, but fun, part --- learning more about the specific period or style you have chosen. To begin with, you need to determine which artists worked during that period, or painted in that style, and who the most important ones were/are. The first tier artists will usually, but not always, be the most expensive. You should look carefully at their work and see what you like about them and what made them so good. Try to determine why these artists are considered the best. Then you will need to research the other artists of the period and where they fall in relationship to the first level. Were they students? Were they relatives? Were they imitators? Did they work during the same time? Are their works as desirable?
Once you have answered these and many other questions, you can begin to understand how price comes into play. Usually the leaders, or innovators, of any movement will be the most expensive. They are followed in price by artists who are considered ‘the second tier’. This decrease in price/value will continue down the line to those artists who carried on painting the same subject/style many years/decades later, or were just copyists/imitators.
Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule and sometimes you will find that a second or third tier artist will sell for as much as the first tier artists. Remember that these tiers are usually delineated by when the artist painted (the years he worked). The closer to the original period in question, the more important the artist usually is. However, there are times when a second tier artist did the subject or style better then some of the first level artists and the market will pay a premium for his/her work. Maybe their subject matter was a little better or is more desirable. Maybe they were a technically better artist, and entered the particular movement a few years later.
If you do a little research and let your ‘eyes’ be your guide, you will begin to see the differences and start to understand why some artist’s works are more sought after than others.
The art world can be a confusing and dangerous place to travel in. I always recommend to people that they find a good guide – an expert/guru – who will steer them clear of the pitfalls and help build a wonderful collection of works that will appreciate in value while they appreciate them.
Our next few issues will deal with what collector needs to be concerned about when buying a work: Authenticity, Quality, Subject Matter, Size, etc.
As always, we are happy to answer any questions you may have.
Howard L. Rehs
© Rehs Galleries, Inc., New York –March 2001 & December 2008
Updates: Antoine Blanchard – I had an interesting conversation with one of the galleries that represented the artist in the 1960’s. They informed me that the artist’s real name was Marcel Masson and that he signed the name Antoine Blanchard to his Paris street scene paintings. They stated that he picked the name Antoine Blanchard out of the Paris phone book and that he never registered the name - that is why there are so many ‘fake’ paintings that bear the name Antoine Blanchard. Since he did not legally own the name, he could not stop others from using it.
Virtual Exhibitions: We have added another Virtual Exhibition to our site – William Thomas Wood – Floral Impressions. The exhibit features a short biography on the artist along with 6 high-resolution images of his still life painting. As with all our Virtual Exhibitions, none of the works are for sale. We hope you enjoy it!
William Thomas Wood – Floral Impressions