Monthly Archives: August 2013

Pricing and the Value of Art


Have you ever watched the Antiques Road Show? When we have time my wife and I love watching it.  It’s always interesting to see the “wow” reactions when an item has great value or the disappointed look when a person learns their item isn’t as popular as it was a few years ago and now it’s not valued as much.

This also reminds me of the housing market. Sometimes the same house is valued at one price and then higher or lower at other times even within the span of a year or two. What drives the value? The market.

You’ve heard the term the “art market.” Is it any different? A while back I was visiting in a gallery and discussing different buying patterns or trends. In his gallery he said if a painting had a cowboy hat in it, he couldn’t sell it, unlike what it was previously when western art was very popular. He also mentioned other subjects that weren’t doing as well or as popular as they had been.

I thought again about the Antiques Road Show and how the market drove the price and the perceived value of something depending on the genre’s popularity. An artist may be faced with a dilemma in pricing art when an artist who might be painting a particular genre that’s popular at the time and is selling well, may suddenly finds sales have slowed and then realize the subject is not as popular as it was, yet the quality of the painting is still the same.  Perhaps during this “good” time an artist’s work appreciated in value and price. I’ve heard it said that artists can go up on their prices but can never come down. I’m wondering why not? When the market goes soft, do we just leave our prices the same and not raise them for a period and then just hope things pick up before the savings run out or perish the thought take on extra work outside of our artistic passion of painting, so we  can feed our family and pay the bills? Or do we adjust our prices to mirror what the market will bear?

Would doing so break some cardinal rule? Would it make our collectors unhappy if we had to lower our prices?  For those who invest in art and perhaps bought with the hope of prices going up, do not most who invest in things whether real-estate or art  know that what’s true of any other investments there’s always a risk the prices can fluctuate in response to the market? Or would they be thrilled that they can buy more of your work and when the market returns, they’re collection will be of even greater value? I was told by someone attending one of my art shows that they had wished they bought one of my paintings when they had a chance before my prices had risen.  What if due to a soft market the prices of the paintings were lowered and are now once again affordable for them?

Pricing in general has always been an issue for an artist with so many factors to consider. Some price paintings by the square inch. Perhaps with a slightly higher dollar amount for small works and a slightly lower one for large works to keep them all within a reasonable range. However, if one painting by an artist features mostly  sky, verses a painting of the same size with a complex composition of say a flower market scene that includes some type or building architecture, do you price it the same just because it’s of the same size? What about aesthetic values? Some paintings have a greater appeal and for that reason have a higher perceived value and naturally the price would reflect that or so one would think.

Well what do you think? If you’re a collector and love to buy art, but the overall art market is soft would you be upset if an artist’s prices were lower than before or be pleased to purchase more?

Artists; how do you manage your prices? Do have a system in which you use that has proved successful during downturns in the economy? How have you had to adjust? I would love to hear your comments.


Small Landscape Paintings on eBay August 23, 2013

The following are the latest off the easel paintings this week for my eBay auction which will end August 30th. Most new items are listed right after the old auction ends at 6 PM PST or 8 PM Central. To view the listing go to:

Glowing Sunrise painting by William Hagerman copyright 2013

A “Glowing Sunrise” casts it’s light over the landscape with a sprinkling of bluebonnets nestled among the shadows of an outcropping of rocks and prickly pear cactus.

Happy Days painting by William Hagerman copyright 2013

“Happy Days” is the mood I felt for this composition of wildflowers in a field on a sunny day under a bright filled sky with white floating clouds. You can almost smell the fragrance of the flowers!

What’s been interesting for me in doing these paintings has been an exercise in simplifying my technique and style. Also it forces me to consider an entirely different market and to paint things that people will want to bid on. With so much on eBay and perhaps having to scroll through many little images of art, they have to stand out, so color and contrast is important. It’s also a learning environment as I see what images are bid on more or what seems to have a broader appeal. Some of these compositional ideas I’ve done for this venue may be expanded upon in a variation for a larger scale studio/gallery work in my regular style. It’s important that my regular customers and viewers realize that I have not abandoned my regular style for this one.

In the past I’ve sold some of my “plein aire” works as well which are even more impressionistic and I found that they too had an appeal for many. Therefore I decided to do these colorful paintings with more impressionistic notes and to reach out to other people who favor this type of work and at the same time introducing them to my regular works. Think of it as a new product line. The experience so far as been great and a wonderful way to advertise and even get paid for it! I appreciate very much the new customers and all the positive responses I’ve gotten.


Small Landscape Paintings on eBay August 13, 2013

On my previous post I introduced one of four paintings that was included in my first ever eBay auction. This endeavor was somewhat of an experiment and I was pleasantly surprised to see all of my paintings receive bids and sell. These paintings are different than my regular gallery work and are intended for eBay auctions. Thus they’re in a class all of their own. Production time is a factor, so I’m working the under-painting in acrylic and over-painting with oils. They exhibit more impressionistic notes whereas my full oil paintings are more detailed. I will be trying out a portrait smooth canvas to see what results I can achieve and if it allows more detail without increasing paint time.

As of this date I have 3 works on eBay. Glad to say they all have bids and they’re generating interest. One of the current paintings is shown here. Also just off the easel is another painting for eBay that will be included in my next auction. You can always see what’s listed here:

Among so many offerings on eBay, and when someone is scrolling through pages of art, bright color and contrast is a key factor in having art stand out, so I’m contemplating what subject matter will do well in this online environment. So far so good. Suggestions or opinions on comparison of my gallery work vs. my eBay offerings?

sunset acrylic and oil painting by William Hagerman

Landscape acrylic and oil painting by William Hagerman


Small Landscape Paintings on eBay by William Hagerman

This is a brief post to inform you of a new and exciting opportunity to acquire one of my paintings in true auction style on eBay. There’s no buy now option or some hidden reserve bid. The auction starts at only $.01

That’s right only one cent!

This very first auction starts August 2, 2013 around 8 PM US central standard time and will run for 7 days.

In an effort to reach a wider audience I’ve completed four new 9×12 paintings on canvas. These paintings are different than my “gallery” works. These employ a technique where they are started in acrylic and finished with oil painted highlights and embellishments.

To find me on eBay you can go to:
Once the auction starts you should be able to see the listed works on this page. Alternatively you can search for Hagerman Landscape Oil Paintings on the eBay search engine.

Here’s a peek at one of the items up for auction titled: Joyous Autumn. Hope you win!

Painting by William Hagerman