While everyday advice on buying art states one should only buy art one likes, which is certainly true, it does not answer the question of why certain pieces are more valuable than others. One may ask what makes works by William Kentridge or Marlene Dumas, two South African-born artists who command steep prices at home and abroad, more valuable than that of other artists? An artwork’s worth is determined by its artistic features and its monetary value. While the first, which depends on artistic quality, is fixed when the work has been created, the monetary value can fluctuate, depending on the demand for the artist’s work and the prevailing market conditions. We all have personal convictions about art aesthetics. We form opinions about what we like or not, based on our emotional experiences and our subjective and somewhat irrational mind. This is what constitutes personal taste. However, personal taste alone may not be the answer if one wishes to build a worthy art collection that wo...

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