Answered By: Erin McDaniel
Last Updated: May 29, 2015     Views: 125

I looked into how to determine the value of works of art, and as you found, it is tricky. Museums don’t necessarily provide how much they paid for a painting, or list the insurance value of individual works. The art market fluctuates, and what people are willing to pay for a particular artist can change over time.

The following are free, online resources to search auction and sales records. I did not find every painting in these databases, but you can see the range of prices over the last few ideas to give a value range or estimate.

If you want to try searching on Google (or your favorite search engine), I suggest you search artist name AND valuation. Example: George Inness AND valuation. You  might get some helpful links.

There are valuation databases, but we do not subscribe to any, unfortunately. However, I think this will at least allow you to give ranges or estimates.

 

Artvalue.com: http://www.artvalue.com/home.htm

  • Must register, but it is free
  • Search the Price Database (under the Quick Access heading) or browse the Names Database. If you search, enter just the last name and hit find, then use the resulting drop-down list to find the correct artist. You can enter the name of the painting at the bottom of the form.

FindArtInfo.com: http://www.findartinfo.com/english.html

  • You have to pay to access everything on this site, but you can search for an artist and see a list of sales. Either use the Advanced Search link on the left or Browse by Artist. If you use the Advanced Search, you can search by artist OR name of work, but not both. You can specify the country and dates, if you want.
  • The result list for an artist search includes all the paintings they have records for, and the sale price. If your work isn’t listed, you can still see recent sale prices.

Blouin Art Sales Index: http://artsalesindex.artinfo.com/asi/security/landing-page.ai

  • Enter the artist name in the search bar. It will suggest names as you type, and you can select your artist from the list.
  • You can sort by title of the work to find it more easily. If it isn’t listed, sort by sale date to see the most recent sales prices.

ArtCyclopedia.com: http://www.artcyclopedia.com/

  • You can search by artist or title of work.
  • If they don’t have the painting listed, you can still search for the artist and use the links to commercial galleries and the listings in the Art Market heading to see recent sales.

All the links are also available below this answer, as is a link to the International Foundation for Art Research's (IFAR) libguide to identifying artwork and finding valuation information.

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