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An enriching look at pricing art works

 

 

Olav Velthuis - Talking Prices. A review by the Art Gallery Hub

Talking Prices
Symbolic Meanings of Prices on the Market for Contemporary Art

Author: Olav Velthuis
Publisher: Woodstock, Princeton University Press, 2005
ISBN: 0-691-12166-4

 

 

Why you should read 'Talking Prices'

This classic offers an all compassing study about how dealers set prices and what affects their decisions on price strategies: focusing on the challenges they face torn between the facts of the market and all the emotions that come with the price setting.

The research is exhaustive and the approach based on an impressive amount of qualitative and quantitative data is wide-ranging, covering the complexities of the exchanges between all parties involved: gallerist, artist, collector.

The fact that it is written for people outside the art gallery world adds a little zest of scepticism from the start: will it succeed to unravel all the subtleties about pricing? Compared to other studies on the subject that limit the extent to a purely economic approach, one of the merits of Veltkamp's book is to go beyond the (well-argumented) econometric models and their conventional outcomes.

Sure there are the obligatory tables about price evolutions, record prices and other quantitative data, but for the first time, less tangible 'price factors' such as the 'meaning' or 'weight' of prices are taken into account and are widely documented.

 

'Talking Prices' is like a session with a psy

He documents, explains, clarifies and details the challenges and uncertainties his patient faces. He presents the latter not only with the facts and the theoretical aspects, but also offers an insight in all the antecedents: the influences, the emotions, the subtleties, the rational and irrational causes delivering an interesting socio-logical analysis of the working environment at the same time.

It isn't a quick or an easy read, feel ready for a gentle session of introspection. 'Talking Prices' offers a tremendous insight in what the price setting process engenders consciously and unconsciously not only for collectors and artists, but above all for you as a gallery owner.

Written with much consideration and respect, it offers an enriching look at your own profession.

 

Feel welcome to comment, ask or suggest any additional information.

 

 

P.S. Don't need summaries or critiques and eager to decide on more interesting reads yourself?

 

         

 

 

 

 

 

More interesting resources? Check here for brochures about the profession and especially some high-performance web tools.

 

 

Luuk Christiaens