Magic Index on the Wall: Who Is the Most Valuable Artist of Them All?

  • Nathalie MoureauEmail author
Part of the Sociology of the Arts book series (SOA)


In the early 1970s, Willi Bongard proposed a kompass to navigate in the art world. Since then, many other proposals have emerged, and people refer to indexes, rankings, top 50, and top 100. Their relevance depends on the conceptual thinking of the economic and social phenomenon it aims at defining. Nevertheless, indexes are often produced without thorough research. In this chapter, studying current indexes available in the press and on the web (Artfacts, Kunstkompass, Artprice, etc.) and using a socio-economic analysis, we emphasise the difficulties of producing relevant indexes but also the bad effects they can induce in the art market. We show how these rankings can have perverse implications because of the self-fulfilling effect they can have on this market characterised by a high uncertainty.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université Paul Valery – Montpellier 3MontpellierFrance

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