Publication Details

This article was originally published as Worthington, AC and Higgs, H, A Note on Financial Risk, Return and Asset Pricing in Australian Modern and Contemporary Art, Journal of Cultural Economics, 30(3), March 2006, 73-84. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2006. Original journal available here.


In this note, 30,227 paintings by fifty well-known modern and contemporary Australian artists sold at auction over the period 1973-2003 are used to construct a hedonic price index. The attributes included in the hedonic regression model include the name, age and living status of the artist, the number of works sold, the size and medium of the painting, and the auction house, month and year in which the painting was sold. The results indicate that returns on Australian modern and contemporary art averaged nearly five percent over the period with a standard deviation of sixteen percent. The results also show that a ten percent increase in the Australian stock market is associated with a 3.4 percent increase in the art market. Generally, artworks by artists deceased at the time of auction, larger works, works executed in oils, and those auctioned by Sotheby’s or Christie’s in July or August are associated with higher prices.



Link to publisher version (DOI)