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Innovation, experience and artists’ age-valuation profiles: evidence from eighteenth-century rococo and neoclassical painters

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  • John Galbraith
  • Douglas Hodgson

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Abstract

Age-valuation profiles for artists’ works are to some degree analogous to age-earnings profiles for workers more generally and are of interest for valuation of art objects as well as for what they reveal about artists’ career dynamics. A number of writers have suggested that the school, or style, characterizing an artist’s work may have implications for the peak of the age-valuation profile (the age of the artist at the time at which his or her most highly valued works were executed). In particular, shifts of style which change the relative valuation of innovation and originality, versus craftsmanship and experience, have been hypothesized. The second half of the eighteenth century provides an interesting potential test, because socioeconomic and political changes at this time were paralleled by revolutionary change in the fine arts, especially painting, witnessing major changes in subject manner and aesthetic style among prominent artists. We revisit the hypothesis using data on auction sales of works from this time, estimating hedonic age-valuation profiles using a novel data set. We pool our set of artists to estimate profiles for different birth cohorts, also using a specification where profiles shift continuously with year of birth. We also use dimension-reduction and model-averaging techniques to allow estimation of individual profiles for several artists, despite limited sample sizes. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Suggested Citation

  • John Galbraith & Douglas Hodgson, 2015. "Innovation, experience and artists’ age-valuation profiles: evidence from eighteenth-century rococo and neoclassical painters," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 39(3), pages 259-275, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jculte:v:39:y:2015:i:3:p:259-275
    DOI: 10.1007/s10824-014-9231-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Graddy, Kathryn, 2013. "Taste Endures! The Rankings of Roger de Piles (†1709) and Three Centuries of Art Prices," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 73(03), pages 766-791, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Age-valuation profile; Art market; Auction prices ; Dimension reduction; Model averaging; Neoclassical painting; Z11;

    JEL classification:

    • Z11 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economics of the Arts and Literature

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