Every production of an artist should be the expression of an adventure of his/her soul.
W. Somerset Maugham
Artists should allow their souls to lead them in the creation of their art. Having said that, there is no doubt that a spark of curiosity could reside in each artist as to why some paintings might sell easier than others. Is it the subject, the colors, the style, the artist’s brand recognition, or a combination of multiple factors? Even when following art theories and concepts, judging and analyzing a painting carry an indisputable subjectivity that permeates any viewer regardless of their training. Likewise, buyers and art collectors are influenced by their own subjectivity and taste.
Many studies have been conducted to explore the Fine Art market and the buyers’ choices. Current art magazines are constantly questioning experts and gallery owners about the art being sold. According to several surveys including one conducted by Art Business Today, traditional landscapes continue to be the most popular subject in paintings sold nowadays. As a matter of fact, half of the top ten most popular subjects are landscapes in different styles or forms such as seascapes, impressionistic, contemporary and/or semi-abstract. The other half of the ten most popular subjects is comprised by animals (domestic/wildlife) and figure paintings. The sales in the latest NOAPS exhibit seem to corroborate the landscape as the number one subject of choice.
What other facts can be extracted? Did you know that the most popular painting size in the United States is the size of a dishwasher front? And, the least desirable is a paperback size. So, was this a consideration in the art sold? While it might have been a contributing factor, it is one that we cannot neither prove nor affirm. The size of the painting did not follow any constant whatsoever.
Color, style, and price are also inconclusive and fail to provide any guidance or relevant information. Probably the only definite statement that one can make is that what sells in fine art remains a mystery. As artists, we should keep following our passions, our love of painting, and leave the ambiguity of the sale to be deciphered by the viewer.
Our NOAPS Facebook page, displays additional paintings sold at the Best of America Exhibit 2013.