Valuating art is complicated, and you definitely know it.
Understanding how the value of art is translated into price would help the buyer make an educated and smart decision.
Compare the artwork with other artworks of the same artist, with similar attributes that have sold in the Canadian art market.
Finding the recent auction prices realized for similar works by the same artist is your first step. You can find this information by looking at public sales records.
ArtPriceIndex.ca database is the best choice when looking for artwork created by Canadian artists, and sold in Canada.
Create a "basket" with artist's similar artworks
Select artwork created in the same medium as your valuation artwork.
i.e. oil paintings sell for higher prices than watercolors, pastels or drawings.
Find and select artwork sold in the last 5 - 10 years.
Recent sales are most reliable for price estimation.
If there are only a few sales records available, you would have to put in the "basket" all these records, regardless of the medium or sale date.
For artists with numerous artwork sales, consider these attributes:
Year of creation - it determines the historical value or the specific period in the artist's style evolvement, or association with a group.
Dimensions - generally, artist's large scale artworks sale for much more than smaller sized pieces.
Provenance - if an artwork was in a museum collection, it would be worth more than the same artwork from an unknown private collection.
Exhibitions - when the work was exhibited in a museum or in a notable gallery, it had a much large exposure to the society, and the price would increase.
ArtPriceIndex.ca search tool is designed to help sort artwork by many attributes, so you can easily optimize the content of your price index.
Conditions that affect the value of an artwork
Damages - a damage to the artwork would possibly result in a decline of the resale value.
Authenticity - if there is any doubt the artwork was indeed created by the artist, it would result in a decrease in the price.
Subject matter - i.e. for some artists often (though by no means always), the artwork depicting still life or an urban landscape, would be less valuable than a serene landscape.
Plenty vs. Rarity - i.e. if the artwork is part of a large edition of prints, the value can be lower than of similar artwork produced in limited editions.
Demand - if the artwork was not sold at a previous public auction, or sold at a much lower price than estimated, as a result of a fallen trend, it might cause less demand, and sell for a lower price.
Use ArtPriceIndex.ca available information to start a more in depth research.