Wednesday, November 7, 2012

30 paintings in 30 days, American Samoa, Day 9

Taxi Driver
I chose this image for the color, but didn't know the man in the picture. Mary, who is on the staff at the library, looked at the photo and said "Hey that's Tasi!"

 Alesana asked;
"What makes a painting so expensive?"
     This question was directed at the value of art and how prices are established. Paintings that sell for millions of dollars make the news, but most artists whose work sells for that kind of money are long dead. The price has little to do with what the artist thought about their painting. Da Vinci was never satisfied with the Mona Lisa. He worked on it for years before abandoning it as unfinished. A very small number of artists become famous in their lifetime and even those must have the bravado to say they are worth a fortune. Picasso had no problem. Some set prices by what the market will pay, determined by public reaction.
     The value of art is often set by galleries, auctions and art dealers. Museums can establish value for works of art with the amount they are insured for. That number can be passed on to collectors. Some salesmen are so good at the high end art game they sell things that leave people scratching their heads. The book “The 12 Million Dollar Stuffed Shark” has good examples of outrageous art sales that don’t necessarily give artists a good name. A well done piece of art is one of a kind, like the Hope diamond, but there is no absolute scale to determine the value of art.


  1. Catherine, I think you were an economist in your past life! I'll have to look up the stuffed shark book. :)

  2. Thanks Joel.
    Wish I were selling paintings for millions, but it is very unlikely. Good thing the value for me is in doing it.

  3. Catherine,
    I enjoyed meeting you yesterday and seeing your beautiful work. Your 2013 calendar will bring a knowing smile to many people who have spent time in American Samoa, as well as motivate residents to seek out the beauty that is all around us.

  4. Thanks Lewis, Good to meet you too. You are right, this is an incredibly beautiful island.