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The Life Cycles of Modern Artists

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  • David Galenson

Abstract

There have been two very different life cycles for great modern artists: some have made their major contributions early in their careers, while others have produced their best work later in their lives. These patterns have been associated with different artistic goals and working methods: artists who peak late are motivated by aesthetic considerations and work by trial and error, whereas artists who peak early are motivated by conceptual concerns and plan their work in advance. This paper applies this analysis to the careers of the leading members from the two generations of painters who made New York the center of the art world in the 1950s and ‘60s. The results not only yield a new understanding of the life cycles of creative individuals, but also provide new insights into the rationale behind the prices paid for works of art at auction.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE in its journal World Economics Journal.

Volume (Year): 3 (2002)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 161-178

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Handle: RePEc:wej:wldecn:114

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Cited by:
  1. Carlos Casacuberta & Ianina Rossi & Máximo Rossi, 2003. "El arte y el éxito: un matrimonio incómodo," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0303, Department of Economics - dECON.
  2. David W. Galenson, 2004. "One Hit Wonders: Why Some of the Most Important Works of Modern Art are Not by Important Artists," NBER Working Papers 10885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Federico Etro & Laura Pagani, 2012. "The Market for Paintings in Italy during the Seventeenth Century," Working Papers 217, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2012.
  4. Francesco Daveri & Maria Laura Parisi, 2010. "Experience, Innovation and Productivity - Empirical Evidence from Italy's Slowdown," CESifo Working Paper Series 3123, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Victor Ginsburgh & Sheila Weyers, 2006. "Creativity and life cycles of artists," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/99270, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  6. David W. Galenson, 2004. "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young or Old Innovator: Measuring the Careers of Modern Novelists," NBER Working Papers 10213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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