How much is my American art worth?

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Mearto Specialist:

Anne M.

Anne has been providing collectors with fine art appraisals and authentication research for the last 10 years. She specializes in the identification of forgeries and has worked alongside some of the world's leading experts in the field of provenance research and scientific analysis. Her extensive experience includes collaborations with major museums, foundations and auction houses in Europe and the United States, ensuring the integrity of high-value transactions. As an online appraisal expert, Anne enjoys the diversity of items submitted by Mearto customers and takes pride in sharing her knowledge and passion for fine art.

Have you recently inherited or purchased a work of American art and want to know its value? Mearto provides quick and affordable online appraisals of American art. All you have to do is click on the “Start Appraisal” button above and follow the steps to send us information about and images of your American art. One of our qualified and experienced specialists will review and get back to you with a fair market and insurance value, typically within 48 hours.

Have questions about the valuation provided, or would you like some advice about selling your American art? We are here to help! Our platform allows you to chat back and forth with a specialist to ensure that all of your questions are answered.

What is American art?

American art refers to creative works produced by artists who have lived and worked in the United States, or whose works are deeply influenced by American culture, history or society.

American art encompasses various styles, movements and mediums, including painting, sculpture, photography, installation art, performance art, video art and more. It reflects the social, political and cultural context of the nation, as well as the individual experiences and perspectives of its artists.

What are the different time periods of American art?

  1. Pre-History to Colonial Era (Pre-1600s): The art of indigenous peoples in North America dates back thousands of years. Native American tribes created intricate pottery, weavings and carvings that reflected their spiritual beliefs and cultural practices. These artistic expressions were rich in symbolism and often showcased a deep connection with nature.
  2. Colonial Era to 19th Century: With the arrival of European settlers in the 17th century, American art began to reflect the influence of these new cultures. Initially, American artists emulated European styles. Portraiture was a prominent genre during this period, exemplified by artists like John Singleton Copley and Gilbert Stuart. The 19th century witnessed a burgeoning sense of American identity and an emerging national aesthetic. The Hudson River School, led by artists such as Thomas Cole and Frederic Edwin Church, celebrated the sublime beauty of the American landscape. Meanwhile, the American Realists, including Winslow Homer and Thomas Eakins, depicted scenes of everyday life with honesty and authenticity.
  3. 20th Century: The early 20th century marked a significant shift in American art. The Ashcan School, spearheaded by artists like Robert Henri, rebelled against academic traditions, portraying gritty urban scenes and the diversity of American society. Meanwhile, the Armory Show of 1913 introduced European modernist movements like Cubism and Fauvism to American audiences, sparking a new wave of experimentation. The mid-20th century saw the rise of Abstract Expressionism, with artists like Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko leading the way. This movement emphasized the emotional and spontaneous aspects of painting, breaking away from representational art. Concurrently, Pop Art emerged, incorporating imagery from popular culture, as seen in the works of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
  4. Contemporary Era: Since the latter half of the 20th century, American art has been characterized by a diverse range of styles, reflecting the multicultural nature of the nation. Artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring brought graffiti and street art into the mainstream, challenging conventional artistic boundaries. In recent years, American art has embraced new media and technology, with digital art, video installations, and multimedia creations becoming more prevalent. Artists like Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley, and Cindy Sherman explore themes of identity, race, and gender, pushing boundaries and provoking critical discussions.

What are some of the most expensive works of American art ever sold?

  1. Three Studies of Lucian Freud by Francis Bacon (1969) - $142.4 million in 2013.
  2. Rabbit by Jeff Koons (1986) - $91.1 million in 2019.
  3. Orange, Red, Yellow by Mark Rothko (1961) - $86.9 million in 2012.
  4. No. 10 by Mark Rothko (1958) - Sold for $81.9 million in 2012.
  5. White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose) by Mark Rothko (1950) - $72.8 million in 2007.
  6. Untitled XXV by Willem de Kooning (1977) - $66.3 million in 2016.
  7. Woman with Flowered Hat by Roy Lichtenstein (1963) - $56.1 million in 2013.
  8. Abstraktes Bild by Gerhard Richter (1986) - $46.3 million in 2015.
  9. Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 by Georgia O'Keeffe (1932) - $44.4 million in 2014.
  10. Flag by Jasper Johns (1958) - $36 million in 2014.

How do appraisers determine the value of American art?

Our specialists consider all of the following factors when determining the value of a work of American art:

  • Artist Attribution: The identity and reputation of the artist, prominence, historical significance and critical reception play a significant role in determining value.
  • Artistic Characteristics: We assess the quality, rarity, and condition of the artwork and consider elements like the composition, technique, materials used, artistic innovation and craftsmanship.
  • Comparative Market Analysis: Our specialists analyze recent sales of comparable artworks by the same artist or similar artists to gauge the market value. They examine auction records, private sales, gallery transactions and art market databases to understand the current demand and pricing trends.
  • Provenance and Authenticity: The artwork's history, ownership records and authenticity are crucial factors. Provenance, which is the documented ownership history, can affect the value. Additionally, if an artwork has been authenticated by recognized experts or institutions, it may carry higher value and credibility.
  • Art Market Trends: Finally, we consider the overall state of the art market, including supply and demand dynamics, collector preferences and shifts in taste by tracking trends, movements and the reputation of specific artists.

What our customers say:

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I received a response and information regarding my items in less than 48 hours, which I appreciated. The appraiser was very knowledgable.

Kristal Hicks Torpey

I highly recommend Mearto if you're curious of the value or background of any item in your home.
The appraisal I received from Mearto was detailed and thorough.

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I received a quality appraisal in less than 48 hours. I also acquired a second opinion of an industry expert who concurred with Mearto's appraised value.  

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