Artworx Gallery | Contemporary Art & Gifts | Goolwa SA

Artworx Gallery - currently celebrating its 10th anniversary - is a regular award winner and the finest contemporary art gallery on South Australia's Fleurieu Peninsula.


My kid could paint that...

It's something most of us have said or at least thought when we see some pieces of art - particularly if it's got a high price ticket.

What is often not recognised in the strange world of art pricing, is that the price is often bound up in who the artist is and not the art itself. The more well-known the artist is, the more likely they are to attract higher prices for their work.

An extreme example would be to come across an original straight line drawn by Monet. This straight line on a white piece of paper is worth nothing, because everyone could do it - even a kid with a ruler! The worth is in Monet's signature in the corner of the paper. That  straight line is now worth a million!

It can be assumed that every one of the impressionists works were masterpieces because they are worth so much, but this is not the case. There are some ordinary works in museums and major art galleries that were painted by famous names. There worth is in the name, not the painting.

The 19th century impressionists were pioneers and trailblazers and as such their works are special and worth a lot. In reality, there are much better impressionist painters today who have stood on the shoulders of these pioneers. The modern impressionists however will never command the same millions as those of old. Which further proves that it is not so much the work but the name that will dictate the price of original paintings.

Further proof is seen in celebrities who have taken up art. I won't go into the indignity of naming names, but some of these celebrity artists produce work that, well, your kid could produce. Despite that, their market value is elevated because of who they are. Notoriety, good or bad is a sure-fire way of selling your art. It's just a fact of life.

Several years ago a fellow artist who produced very good decorative abstract work, decided that their work was worth thousands because it was as good as some art that does command that price.  This artist approached a gallery and asked that a high price to be put on them. The gallery refused, not because of the quality of the work but because the artist was unknown. Again it was about the name and not the work.

The art world is a strange old place on many fronts and particularly on pricing. It's much the same as antiques. An old quill pen can be worth so much, but if it can be proved that the same quill was used by Queen Victoria then the price goes up a hundred fold! It's all about the story or provenance behind the object and less about the object itself.

Welcome to the art world and happy painting!

Mike Barr

This painting by New York abstract artist Barnett Newman sold for a $43.8 million at Sotheby's in 2013. Painted in 1953.

This painting by New York abstract artist Barnett Newman sold for a $43.8 million at Sotheby's in 2013. Painted in 1953.


Liz and John Francis

12 Hays Street
Goolwa, South Australia

Phone: (08) 8555 0949


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