How much is my sculpture 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 sculpture and want to know its value? Mearto provides quick and affordable online appraisals of sculptures. 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 sculpture. 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 sculpture? 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 a sculpture?

Sculpture is defined as a medium of art that exists in 3 dimensions. Sculpture is considered a "plastic art," meaning it involves the physical manipulation or molding of a plastic medium, or a medium that can be carved or shaped such as wood, ceramic, stone, concrete, or glass. The process of creating sculpture can be divided into two categories: reductive, where material is taken away from the original volume to reveal the finished product (like stone or wood carving) and additive, where material as added to itself or other material to create a finished product (like in clay/ceramic sculpting or merging metal).

The medium of sculpture began out of necessity. The first examples of pottery were created for cooking and food storage. As time progressed and man’s immediate needs began to be met with more ease, sculpture evolved into an art. Sculpture is central in religious culture and expression. Before literacy was a standard skill, sculpture, along with other art forms, helped convey religious and civil concepts. Sculpture, at its core, is a highly utilitarian and durable art form.

What are the different kinds of sculpture?

  • In-the-Round: also described as free-standing sculpture, such as statues, are not connected to any surface (except traditionally at a base). Free-standing sculptures, particularly from earlier eras, are made from durable materials and have therefore survived the test of time, but not without casualties. Most ancient and classical sculptures were painted, but where stone stood strong, paint chipped away. This led to centuries of aesthetic interest in white marble sculpture.
  • Relief: Relief sculpture is a reductive media in which the three-dimensional forms are attached to a background surface. Relief sculpture is classified by the depth of the reduced surface.
  • Bas relief or low relief sculpture
  • Mid relief sculpture
  • High relief sculpture
  • Sunk relief sculpture
  • Kinetic: sculpture that depends on motion for effect.
  • Cast: Casting is the process of pouring a liquid material into a mould containing the hollowed out cavity in the desired resultant shape.

What are the most commonly-used materials for sculpture?

Sculptures from the Classical periods were usually made from the most durable materials like bronze and other metals. Other popular and durable materials include stone, like marble, wood, bone, and clay. Precious materials such as gold, jade, and ivory were used for smaller, more luxurious works.

Sculptures were often painted using a variety of techniques including tempera, oil, and enamel. Some sculptures were even decorated with gold leaf.

More contemporary sculptors like Picasso or Duchamp often incorporated found objects into their sculptures. Duchamp, in particular, invented a new type of sculpture called the “readymade” when he used found objects to exclusively construct his works.

What are the most expensive sculptures ever sold?

The top three most expensive sculptures ever sold came from the hand of Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti. L'Homme au doigt, L'Homme qui marche I, and Chariot sold for $152.4 million, $122.3 million, and $109.1 million respectively. Living American sculptor Jeff Koons occupies two of the top ten spots with his sculptures Rabbit and Balloon Dog (Orange), which fetched $91.1 million and $58.4 million, respectively.

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