Henri Neuendorf, for artnet news.
Why are galleries so reluctant to reveal prices? The lack of price transparency is often one of the most baffling and frustrating things for art world outsiders to understand.
“I think artists are uncomfortable about, and do not wish to have their work discussed in terms of prices and market value, and what is selling and not selling,” art dealer Augusto Arbizo, director and partner at New York’s 11Rgallery, told artnet News in an e-mail. “Prices aren’t openly displayed because they want the work discussed in critical terms and historical context. That is why prices are often not so public.”
There are of course other motivations for keeping prices secret. As the director of a prominent London gallery told artnet News, “We don’t like to speak about prices to prevent our clients’ spouses or the tax authorities from finding out about their purchases.”
And as the recent Panama Papers leak has shown, the super-rich routinely use art to dodge taxes and hide assets from their spouses.
Arbizo, however, insists that “all the galleries I have ever worked at always had a checklist with prices printed and available to the public, and 11R has one available for every exhibition.”
Nevertheless, the lack of tangible attributes often makes it difficult for first time buyers to assess the fair value of an artwork. Indeed, prices of artworks are often negotiable. Read More