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Prices for Paintings by African American Artists and Their Contemporaries: Does Race Matter? (Revision of Working Paper No. 2006-06)

Richard Agnello and Xiaowen Xu ()
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Xiaowen Xu: Department of Economics,University of Delaware

No 08-06, Working Papers from University of Delaware, Department of Economics

Abstract: This paper investigates the extent that economic markets have incorporated mainstream artistic acceptance of African American art. Price levels and movements for paintings by African American artists versus their white contemporaries are compared using auction data from 1972 to 2004. Means in the aggregate as well as individually are found to be significantly lower for African American artists in almost every case. Hedonic regressions are used to refine the statistical analysis by controlling for factors characterizing the painting and auction environment. In the regressions significant differences persist between the two groups with African American artists experiencing lower price levels but higher price appreciation throughout the period. The price gap thus appears to be narrowing indicating a possible convergence of economic reality and artistic appreciation. In addition, the higher investment returns for paintings by African American artists made them a relatively profitable art niche in recent years and possibly for the future since economic values have not completely converged for the two groups.

Keywords: Economics of Art; Painting Prices; African American Painters; Hedonic Regression (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D44 G12 Z11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 27 pages
Date: 2008
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