Kim Oosterlinck | Université libre de Bruxelles | Artists as Brands: Art Market Valuation of Master with Provisional Names („Master of“)

Ringvorlesung | Kunstmarkt – Interdisziplinärer Dialog | 10.01.2019 | Lecture

Foto: Philipp Fernandes do Brito

In his talk Kim Oosterlinck analyzed to which extent artists’ names may be viewed as brands. The identity of the artist is central in art market valuation. For some artworks however, the identity of the artist remains unknown. To overcome the limitations linked to anonymity, market participants rely on a variety of strategies. They may use Spatio-temporal designations (for example Flemish Master 16th century), they may create Masters with Provisional Names (for example the Master of the Parrot), they may consider Attribution qualifiers (School, follower, circle of…) or even rely on Authentication. The literature on the two last approaches is well devloped but the two first ones remain understudied. The conference by Kim Oosterlinck focused therefore on Masters with Provisional Names following his recently published article with Anne-Sophie Radermecker and on the work of Anne-Sophie Radermecker for the spatio-temporal designations.

The main results of the analysis suggest that the creator of the provisional names matters, as well as the number of years since the provisional name has been created. Markets value less the provisional names created on the basis of the name of a collector. For the Spatio-temporal designations, art markets values precision (either in terms of location or in terms of ranges of years). Linking these observations with branding theory makes perfect sense. Creating names helps to develop a narrative around the artist, and as pointed out by Preece, Kerrigan and O’Reilly (2016, p. 1383) “Our pleasure in the work may be enriched by what we think we know of the artist”. By giving a provisional name, art historians allow market participants to form an image about the artist. They are creating a homogeneous group out of heterogeneous anonymous paintings. Art historians rely on singular characteristics to create provisional names. The value of these MPNs increases with their credibility and their longevity

Kim Oosterlinck is professor of finance at the Université libre de Bruxelles. His work on arts includes, amongst others, the evolution of art markets during WWII in France and in The Netherlands, the impact of fake discoveries on art markets, the reactions of art markets to monetary reforms, or the strategic motivations of banks to create art collections. Kim Oosterlinck is currently Vice-Rector in charge of prospective and finance at the Université libre de Bruxelles.

Universität zu Köln | Hörsaalgebäude | Hörsaal E | 17.45 (s.t.)

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