expensive abstract art painting by mark rothko hanging on a white wall

Why Is Abstract Art so Expensive

If you've recently dipped your toes into the art world, you might be baffled about why seemingly simple paintings are sold for staggering sums.

Take, for example, Mark Rothko's painting below, which at a glance, features blocks of color - two orange and one brown, all against a red backdrop.

With a rather straightforward title, "Orange, Red, Yellow," it appears deceptively simple, almost childlike to some.

Yet, this artwork fetched a jaw-dropping 87 million dollars in 2012.

So, why is abstract art so expensive?

Mark Rothko Abstract Expensive Painting on White Background

Most Abstract Art is NOT Expensive

Here's a little secret: Not all abstract art commands such astronomical prices.

Truth be told: Most abstract art doesn't cost anything at all because it's either bad, or the artist is unknown. 

Many of the world's most popular artists only hit the jackpot of fame posthumously, their masterpieces only gaining critical acclaim long after they're gone.

Why Are Some Abstract Artists So Famous?

So, what makes certain abstract art pieces worth millions?

It boils down to the basic economic principle of supply and demand.

Artists leave behind a finite number of works. Mark Rothko, for instance, has about 800 paintings to his name, while the renowned Gustav Klimt has roughly 200, many lost forever in the throes of World War II.

But here's the catch: limited supply doesn't necessarily mean there's demand. 

The question is, what sets these artists apart?

In the following, I am presenting five different conditions that are crucial for an artists success.

Innovation and Influence

To be truly outstanding, abstract painters need to master the 6 elements of abstract art.

Icons like Caravaggio or Pablo Picasso weren't just masters of their craft; they were pioneers, pushing boundaries and charting new territories in art.

They were visionaries, with Picasso shaking the foundations of traditional art with Cubism. Caravaggio, on the other hand, set new standards in the way he placed his figures in the light.

Historical and Cultural Impact

Some artists reflect the spirit and conflicts of their era, like Francisco Goya, whose raw portrayals of Spanish society resonate through time.

They don't just create art; they immortalize moments, shaping our understanding of history.

Personal Stories and Mystique

Sometimes, an artist's fame is tied to their personal saga. The struggles, controversies, and mysteries of their lives fascinate the public.

Van Gogh, for instance, battled mental illness and obscurity, elements that now define his tragic legacy, making his art even more profound.

Patronage and Connections

Many artists owe their success to influential supporters. Networks and patrons, like the Medici family during the Renaissance, have launched unknown artists into the annals of history.

They've been the wind beneath the wings of many talents, including Michelangelo.

Visibility and Legacy

The endurance and prominence of an artist's work play significant roles in their fame.

Those fortunate enough to have their works grace places like the Louvre or MoMA, or fetch eye-watering sums at auctions, secure a spot in the public memory. Their legacy lives on, inspiring and captivating new generations.

Why Does Some Abstract Art Cost Millions?

In the art world, fame and fortune hinge on a mix of talent, timing, societal influences, and a dash of luck.

The artists we celebrate have etched their marks not just on canvas, but on the very soul of human culture.

For an abstract artwork to be worth millions, it must tick one or several boxes of the condition discussed above, a public nod of something extraordinary.

Here are they again:

  • Innovation and Influence
  • Historical and Cultural Impact
  • Personal Stories and Mystique
  • Patronage and Connection
  • Visibility and Legacy

Take Rothko, for example. His ability to blur the lines, literally, and create spaces where colors ebb and flow, speaks to something primal in us. 

Rothkos undefined realms of color seem to drift or suspend, pulsating with an unnameable vitality. Observers who engage deeply with these canvases often recount a sense of transcending their immediate reality. This is why Mark Rothko's paintings are is so valuable to us.

Value, after all, is subjective. It's about collective belief.

We agree that a ten-dollar bill is worth ten dollars because we believe in the value of what it represents.

Similarly, society agrees on the value of certain artworks, whether you find it absurd or not. They're treasured for their beauty, their message, their monetary value - or all of these reasons combined.

And that, dear reader, is why some abstract art pieces come with million-dollar price tags.

It's all about consensus.

Discovering Affordable Abstract Art

Chances are, a Picasso or Rothko might not be in your budget, but who says you need one? There's a plethora of stunning, soul-stirring abstract art that won't break the bank.

abstract wall art in a living room

Here at Pinturami.com, we've curated a collection just for art enthusiasts like you.

Our abstract wall art prints range from modern and contemporary art to minimalist, and geometric art.

For every art lover, we have something in our assortment.

Looking for the perfect piece to jazz up your space? You're in the right place. Starting from $29 per print, we're delivering worldwide.

If you'd like to have your art print framed, just pick the right color and size on our product page.

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