Valuation in the Art Market

We all know that the art market’s lack of transparency, particularly around pricing, is a problem. Simply put, sellers often have more information than buyers.  When a buyer is spending serious money on an asset, you’d expect some standardized measure of valuation, with search tools to help them quickly find what they are looking for.  Not so in the art world.

Only a handful of gallerists post prices at art fairs and within their galleries.  Often auction house estimates are more marketing, rather than an accurate measure of fair market value.  Most of the art world relies on opacity. This is where art technology companies can help buyers find art of interest, and know a fair price.

Google has released amusing innovations that pair people with art.  Google’s face-matching app, which matches photographs of people with similar-looking portraits, and their new Art Palette app, which exposes everyday individuals to art, makes finding works of art easier than ever. Using data from 1500 cultural institutions, Art Palette also allows an individual to pick artwork containing similar colors.

These technologies are interesting and entertaining, but unlikely to help serious art collectors.

ARTBnk has taken a different, more ambitious approach.  ARTBnk RTV, a SaaS application, provides its users with instant and objective valuations for tradeable works of art. ARTBnk has carefully built and curated a standardized art market database that serves as the foundation for RTV (real-time valuation). This powers the most effective and accurate application of ARTBnk’s technology.  In fact, ARTBnk contends that it’s irresponsible to apply technology to the inaccurate data which permeates the entire art market.

History shows that a free flow of information among buyers and sellers leads to market expansions.  With better information and greater transparency, we’ll see a leveled playing field and an accelerated expansion of the art market as well.