IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Masterpieces and Markets: Why the Most Famous Modern Paintings Are Not by American Artists

Listed author(s):
  • David W. Galenson

A survey of the illustrations in art history textbooks reveals that the most important modern American painters, including Pollock, Johns, and Warhol, failed to produce individual paintings as famous as the masterpieces of a number of major French artists, such as Picasso, Manet, and Seurat. Analysis of the textbooks reveals that art historians do not consider the American artists to be less important than their French predecessors, or judge the Americans' innovations to be less important. The absence of American masterpieces instead appears to be a consequence of market conditions, as changes over time in the primary methods of showing and selling fine art reduced the incentive for artists to produce important individual works.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8549.

in new window

Date of creation: Oct 2001
Publication status: published as David W. Galenson, 2002. "Masterpieces and Markets: Why the Most Famous Modern Paintings Are Not by American Artists," Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History, vol 35(2), pages 63-75.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8549
Note: LS
Contact details of provider: Postal:
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Orazio Attanasio & Patrick Bolton & Hyun Song Shin, 1999. "Introduction," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 1-2.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8549. 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: ()

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.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.