Pricing Color Intensity and lightness in Contemporary Art Auctions

Rachel Pownall, K. Graddy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Color plays an important part in modern life and influences our decision making process. However, little is known about how the different attributes of color, namely intensity and lightness, influence price. By analyzing auction data for paintings we can put a price on these attributes of color. Using a unique set of data for Contemporary artworks of Andy Warhol prints, we are able to observe the influence of intensity and lightness using RGB values as explanatory variables on prices achieved at auction. Controlling for other hedonic characteristics, our empirical results find significant evidence of intense colors fetching a premium over equivalent artworks which are less intense in color. Furthermore, darkness carries a premium over lightness. (C) 2016 University of Venice. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-420
Number of pages9
JournalResearch in Economics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016


  • Art Economics
  • RGB color
  • Value

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