Fine Art vs Commercial Art

How can you tell the difference?
January 31, 2021
Fine Art vs Commercial Art
Fine Art vs Commercial Art

Understanding the value of Fine Art and identifying what elements differentiate it from Commercial Art is not always an easy task, the line between both can be very thin for the inexperienced eye. 

In this short article, we have put together a list of three questions you can ask yourself to determine what kind of art you are getting. It is also a good guide to understanding why Fine Art and Commercial Art are priced differently. 


1. Is it unique or mass-produced? 

Uniqueness is the most precious quality of fine art, and it is one of the elements that determine its value and price. It means that you will not be able to find anywhere else that creation, since it was done by the artist using very specific techniques and materials that helped him materialize or communicate his creative idea. 

In the fine art world, you can find fine art prints, these formats allow multiple editions but they are always limited in number and are done with the artist's involvement and supervision.  

Commercial art is mass-produced, they are identical and their reproduction has no involvement from the artist. It can be found in retail stores, they hold an aesthetic and decorative value but no artistic value.  


2. Is there an art discourse?

It is essential when it comes to acquiring art, to find out what the artist’s discourse is, or if there is even one. Fine art is backed up by research, the creative process as well as the process of materializing what the artist is communicating, it is the result of a reflective process. 

Commercial Art has no discourse, It is more important to be cost-effective and look good. There is no ulterior motive beyond serving as an element to embellish a space. 


3. Will it increase in value? 

The materials used and simple production technique, bring no artistic value to Commercial Art, once you buy it from the retail store, it will just depreciate.

Fine Art has an artistic added value that comes from its uniqueness and it has the potential of increasing its worth in the long run. Although many reject the idea of acquiring fine art as an investment and collect for the simple pleasure and satisfaction of owning outstanding pieces, fine art is likely to be an investment, whose value is expected to grow over time.


About the author

Mariela Saad-Delgado El Homsi

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