I'm trying to set my pricing of paintings. I've painted most of my life, but struggle with charging. How do you reason to produce a price for your art?

Just completed a relatively large autumn landscape. Oil on canvas, 80*122 cm. It's somewhat rough focusing on colour.

What factors should I take into account to establish a reasonable price for this particular painting?


  • 1
    No one can possibly price anything for you. There are far too many variables which play a role when considering the price of anything conceptual in nature. The best answer is.. whatever someone's willing to pay for it.
    – Scott
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 12:42
  • To close-voters. I think the question is fully answerable; I've just edited out a section that invited to opinionated answers. Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 16:05
  • @bytebuster I wasn't "fighting" honestly. 😀 If anything I was explaining my position as to why this question should be closed and why I think there's no real answer to this - no way to calculate pricing, no pricing model to follow, etc. But I have formatted my comments into an answer.
    – Scott
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 21:16
  • @Scott I forgot that I've asked this question on Meta.SE eight years ago. Time flies! :) Is “there's no answer” an answer? Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 21:34
  • Fair enough :)
    – Scott
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 21:46

3 Answers 3


Art has no intrinsic value. The only value of any artwork is the value the artist places upon it or what others are wiling to pay for it.

Diamonds, as an example, also have no intrinsic value. They are priced at whatever consumers have been convinced they should pay. Buy a diamond for $5,000 and walk out of the store, turn around and walk back into the jewelers.... or go immediately to another jeweler.... it's then worth less than half what you paid for it. (Now, the diamond market has a consortium that actually sets values. So, members [dealers] are essentially "price fixing" to ensure they all charge relatively the same amounts. "Spend three months salary on a diamond for her" was a marketing tactic to convince consumers of a value where none actually exists.)

Find the right buyer and you may sell a painting from a (presumably) unknown artist for $1,000,000. But being unable to find the right buyer may mean the painting is worth $20 at the local flea market. Same painting - no intrinsic value.

In addition, demand plays a role. How many are seeking landscape paintings from an unknown artist? How many artists out there are painting random landscapes? Will this landscape painting have more value if sold where the landscape is recognized?

There's no possible way for anyone to place any value on this painting other than the artist themselves or someone shopping for landscape paintings.

The best one could do is shop themselves... see what similar paintings are being sold for and price for that same venue or sales outlet. Unlike commercial art, with fine art time spent creating is rarely a qualifiable figure which can be used to calculate pricing - those purchasing fine art do not care if it took 10 minutes or 10 years to create the artwork.

I am not convinced that the migration from Arts & Crafts was worthwhile. Freelancing, in my experience, rarely deals with these types of situations. Freelancing is far more related to commercial or commissioned artwork. Not really paintings for the sake of painting and afterwards trying to find buyers.

If one were commissioned to create such a landscape painting, then time creating would be quantifiable and used as a pricing factor.

  • 1
    This is a great answer and would be (have been? should be?) entirely appropriate for Arts & Crafts. We have a hard time there with edge cases like this being about money, more abstractly and not directly involved in the process of craft. Probably why it got pushed this way.
    – rebusB
    Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 0:13
  • It was migrated because we don't deal with the pricing of items (see here) (yet?). Questions should not be judged by their answers, so this should not change a thing.
    – Joachim
    Commented Oct 31, 2020 at 7:43

I would say take into account your expenses, time (can be based on how large the painting is) and the level of detail required. What you have looks good. We worked with someone who charged $500-$1000 for life sized paintings if I remember correctly.


The question of the value of artwork is difficult, as has already been mentioned. It reminds me of the usual question, "Oh, you're an artist! What do you do for a living?" Still, some artists are successful in selling their creations. Here is an approach that I have seen used with success...

A sculptor I once knew created a massive metallic dragon-like creature that he displayed at art shows at science-fiction conventions. He priced it at something like $25,000 in case anyone wanted to buy it. Everyone wanted it, of course, but they could not afford it. They could not even afford the space in which to keep it nor the time required to keep it dusted.

He also created similar dragon sculptures, much smaller, that might fit on a desk or even in your hand. Those sold for less than $100 each. He sold dozens of the little dragons while the mother dragon remained unsold.

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