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Buy one painting, get two names. On the valuation of artist collaborations in the art market

Anne-Sophie V. Radermecker (Department of History, Arts and Archaeology, Université libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium)

Arts and the Market

ISSN: 2056-4945

Article publication date: 23 June 2020

Issue publication date: 26 June 2020

345

Abstract

Purpose

To analyze the market reception of multi-authored works of art through the lens of collaborative old master paintings (“formal/prestige collaboration”). This paper tests whether multi-authored attribution strategies (i.e. naming two artists as brand names) affect buyers' willingness to pay differently from single-authored works in the auction market.

Design/methodology/approach

This case study focuses on collaborative paintings by Flemish masters, based on a data set comprising 11,630 single-authored and collaborative paintings auctioned between 1946 and 2015. Hedonic regressions have been employed to test whether or not co-branded artworks are differently valued by buyers and how the reputation of each artist might influence valuation.

Findings

Despite the opportunity for buyers to purchase one artwork with two brand names, this study reveals that the average value of collaborative paintings is statistically lower than that of single-authored paintings. This is especially true when a reputed master was involved in the collaboration. The present findings suggest that the valuable characteristics of formal collaborations (i.e. double brand name, dual authorship and reputation, high-quality standards) are no longer perceived and valued as such by buyers, and that co-branding can affect the artist brand equity because of a contagion effect. We argue that integral authorship is more valued than partial authorship, suggesting that the myth of the artist as a lone genius is still well-anchored in purchasing habits.

Research limitations/implications

Prestige collaborations are a very particular form of early co-branding in the art world, with limited data available. Further research should consider larger samples to reiterate the analysis on other collaboration forms in order to challenge the current findings.

Practical implications

Researchers and living artists should be aware that brand building and co-branding are marketing strategies that may generate negative effects on prices in the art market. The perceived and market value of co-branded works are time-varying, and depends on both the context of reception of these works and the reputation of the artists at time t.

Originality/value

This market segment has never been considered in art market studies, although formal collaboration is one of the earliest documented forms of co-branding in the art world. This paper provides new empirical evidence from the auction market, based on buyers' willingness to pay, and it further highlights the reception of multi-authored art objects in Western art markets that particularly value individual creators.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

A previous version of this paper was presented at the Ninth European Workshop on Applied Cultural Economics (EWACE2019, Copenhagen). I am grateful to Kim Oosterlinck, Victor Ginsburgh, Didier Martens, Valentine Henderiks, Filip Vermeylen and Sophie Raux for their relevant remarks on this chapter of my PhD dissertation. I wish also to thank two anonymous referees and the editor of Arts and the Market for their valuable comments, as well as Kaylee P. Alexander for her work in editing the final version of this paper. I remain responsible for errors. This research acknowledges financial support from the F.R.S-FNRS and the Belgian American Educational Foundation (B.A.E.F.)

Citation

Radermecker, A.-S.V. (2020), "Buy one painting, get two names. On the valuation of artist collaborations in the art market", Arts and the Market, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 99-121. https://doi.org/10.1108/AAM-10-2019-0030

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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