originally posted in her blog "Humans 4 Humanities"
On May 4th, 2010, in the realm of an art auction, numbers flew about and darted back and forth like the rapid-moving, metal sphere of a pin-ball machine. Within eight minutes, the game was over and one lucky winner walked away with Pablo Picasso’s painting Nude, Green Leaves and Bust. What was the cost to play this auction game? A stunning amount of $106.5 million dollars. How long did Picasso spend creating this painting, which he began in 1932? Only one day. It is hard to believe that a single day of work could generate such an unprecedented monetary value. If only Picasso could have stuck around to see his painting become a piece of history as well as an object that holds a larger value than the salaries of both Oprah Winfrey ($82 million) and Steven Spielberg ($100 million) [Forbes 2014]. How is it possible for a single painting, painted in a single day, to be worth so much!?
One reason stems from art standing as an illustrative depiction of culture from a set period of time. Rather than being a purely economic trade, some people willingly to drop over a million dollars on one painting aim to display a refined cultural standing. It is also a tossup as to whether or not the buyer is buying it for the bragging rights of the price-tag or for the artistic meaning of the painting. Honestly, it would be nice to believe that all buy a painting for the actual artistic value rather than the monetary value. But, does this mean that less expensive art, even original pieces of art that sell for $20, are less valuable? How should we measure the value of art?
Despite the cost that a painting may sell for, any piece of art, as well as its artist, is capable of having an impact on a buyer. The true value of art rests in the eyes of its beholder and the card can be looked at from both ways. On one side, the artist may be the one to see the largest value in his or her painting; on the other side, the buyer or observer may value the painting more. The value of art stems from how the painting speaks to the observer. Each painting embodies a piece of the artist. Paintings illustrate and bring life to the emotions, thoughts, opinions, personalities, and even personal life stories that the artist metaphorically underscores with the strokes of a paint brush. When these undernotes to the painting match those of the observer, a true attachment to the painting forms as the observer, too, feels a personal connection to both the artist and the painting. When a painting uncovers a new or perhaps hidden aspect to our inner minds and beliefs, we encounter the enthralling moment when our own personal value for a painting transcends the price tag’s value on it.
So next time you look at a painting, one that is two dollars, twenty dollars, one thousand dollars, or even one that is solely on display as a student’s project, do not be compelled to judge its worth based on the price tag or the grade on it; these are only societal values set by others who may view the image differently than you do. Instead, value it based on the significance that it speaks to you personally. Your interpretation may not match what the artist intended, but then again that is the beauty of art. There is no right or wrong way to value and appreciate a piece of art, as long as that value stems from your own interpretation and connection to what you see and feel.
Have any thoughts tumbling about the brain? Leave a comment and express how you value art!