IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/7407.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Quantifying Artistic Success: Ranking French Painters - and Paintings - from Impressionism to Cubism

Author

Listed:
  • David W. Galenson

Abstract

For 35 leading painters who lived in France during the first century of modern art, this paper uses textbook illustrations as the basis for measuring the importance of both painters and individual paintings. The rankings pose an interesting puzzle: why do some of the greatest artists not produce famous paintings, and why do some relatively minor artists produce some of the most famous individual paintings? The answer may lie in an important difference in approach between experimental and conceptual painters. Experimental artists work incrementally, their innovations appear gradually, and they generally do their best work late in their careers; conceptual artists innovate more suddenly, produce individual breakthrough works, and usually do their best work early in their careers. This paper demonstrates that artistic success can usefully be quantified, and that doing so increases our understanding of the working methods of modern painters.

Suggested Citation

  • David W. Galenson, 1999. "Quantifying Artistic Success: Ranking French Painters - and Paintings - from Impressionism to Cubism," NBER Working Papers 7407, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7407
    Note: LS
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w7407.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Elish Kelly & John O’Hagan, 2007. "Geographic clustering of economic activity: The case of prominent western visual artists," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 31(2), pages 109-128, June.
    2. 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.
    3. Victor Ginsburgh & Sheila Weyers, 2006. "Creativity and Life Cycles of Artists," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 30(2), pages 91-107, September.
    4. David W. Galenson, 2003. "Literary Life Cycles: The Careers of Modern American Poets," NBER Working Papers 9856, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. David W. Galenson, 2005. "Toward Abstraction: Ranking European Painters of the Early Twentieth Century," NBER Working Papers 11501, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. David W. Galenson, 2003. "The Reappearing Masterpiece: Ranking American Artists and Art Works of the Late Twentieth Century," NBER Working Papers 9935, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. 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.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7407. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: () or (Joanne Lustig). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.