Art Market Returns: Misgivings and Certainties

11 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2014

See all articles by Ventura Charlin

Ventura Charlin

V.C. Consultants; EVENTUS ANALYTICS; V.C. Consultants

Arturo Cifuentes


Date Written: June 26, 2014


Paintings are − among other things − financial assets. The most basic piece of information regarding a financial asset is probably its return, or, more appropriately, the potential return that it can offer. Not surprisingly, many scholars have devoted a fair amount of effort to explore how to compute returns for such assets.

Unfortunately, after more than forty years of efforts, many fundamental issues regarding returns remain unsolved. In this paper we address two issues that somehow have been overlooked by previous research: (i) how the choice of metric influences the computation of estimated returns; and (ii) the importance of taking into consideration the error propagation in the computation of these estimates. We conclude that estimating returns for paintings is far more difficult than previously believed; there is no unique or best solution; and perhaps more relevant, the errors associated with these estimates are quite substantial.

Keywords: Art markets, hedonic pricing, repeat sales, paintings, returns

JEL Classification: C18, D44, G11, G12, Z10

Suggested Citation

Charlin, Ventura and Cifuentes, Arturo, Art Market Returns: Misgivings and Certainties (June 26, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Ventura Charlin (Contact Author)

V.C. Consultants ( email )

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230 E 73rd Street
New York, NY New York 10021
United States

V.C. Consultants ( email )

United States

Arturo Cifuentes

CLAPES--UC ( email )

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Santiago, Región Metropolitana 8331150

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