Painting Color Intensity (04-29-22)

In a study with applications beyond the specific research question investigated, Garay, Perez, and Pulga probed responses to color palettes used in paintings.  They report that “Most existing literature has ignored the potential effects that color intensity may have on art prices. . . . We examine 1627 paintings executed by the “Big Five” Latin American artists (Rivera, Tamayo, Lam, Matta, and Botero), and sold at Sotheby’s and Christie’s between 2003 and 2017, to analyze this impact. We find strong evidence indicating that paintings that are more intense in color fetch higher prices, but only up to a certain degree (paintings whose color is ‘too intense’, ‘too vivid’ or ‘too dark’ actually fetch lower prices). To the best of our knowledge, these results are the first to confirm, for the case of the art market, early experimental evidence in the psychology literature pointing to the existence of an inverse “u” pattern on the preferences for color intensity.”

Urbi Garay, Eduardo Perez, and Fredy Pulga. 2022. “Color Intensity Variations and Art Prices:  An Examination of Latin American Art”  Journal of Business Research, vol. 147, pp. 158-176,