Pricing Art and the Art of Pricing: On Returns and Risk in Art Auction Markets

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paperOther research output

472 Downloads (Pure)


We study price determinants and investment performance of art using a vast sample of transactions worldwide over the past 60 years. We focus on paintings and drawings, which have appreciated at a real (nominal) annual return of 2.49% (6.24%). Higher art returns are reached for paintings at the high end of the price distribution, oil paintings, more recent art movements, and transactions by reputable auction houses. The risk–return trade-off of paintings underperforms that of other passion investments. Paintings’ Sharpe ratios are below those of stocks, bonds, and gold but outperform those of commodities and real estate. Investments in paintings enter the optimal investment portfolio.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTilburg
PublisherCentER, Center for Economic Research
Number of pages76
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2021

Publication series

NameCentER Discussion Paper


  • auction
  • art investment
  • cultural economics
  • hedonic pricing model
  • repeat sales model


Dive into the research topics of 'Pricing Art and the Art of Pricing: On Returns and Risk in Art Auction Markets'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this