The prices of artworks seem to keep breaking new records. The question “What is The Value of Art?” is a valid one and many people ask me that question. The reasons to pay extremely high prices for artworks are varied and can lead one to buy art out of love, in search for status or to impress those surrounding.
In his BBC Documentary film “What Makes Art Valuable?” art critic and journalist Alastair Sooke tries to give insight into the world of the super-rich and to bring the “remarkable stories behind the Top Ten Most Valuable Paintings in the World.” This film brings the stories behind the most expensive artworks that have been sold in auction houses at prices that can be verified. (You can find information about higher prices for different artwork that was bought in private transactions but no official confirmation.) However it is important to remember that today, in 2014, prices might have changed (since the release in 2013 of this movie at least one of the artworks described has broken a new record in the art world; Three Studies of Lucian Freud triptych by the British painter Francis Bacon placed as number 5 in the movie’s list after selling in 2008 for $86M, but since was sold in November 2013 for $142M.)
My recommendation is to treat this movie as a way to understand the reasons that motivate an art buyer to pay astronomical prices and not necessarily as artworks’ price index.
Watch the movie here: