What is a listed artist?

You often hear that an artist is on the list, so what does this really mean? Basically, it means that an artist has reached a certain level of recognition in the art world.

Like everyone else, an artist begins his career at the lower level. They start showing their work by attending local or school shows, displaying their art in galleries that specialize in emerging artists, and posting their art on sites like eBay and Etsy. As their art matures and develops a distinctive style, the artist will begin to win prizes at large exhibitions, have representation in more established galleries, articles written about them, and possible museum attention.

This causes artists to notice publishers, curators, art critics, or sites that reference these artists. These entities report biographies, traders, and secondary market information. The importance of this is that it validates that the artist is a professional, creates quality art, deserves recognition, and has greater potential to maintain or increase its value.

It’s the same kind of progression as a musician who starts out at the local pub and graduates from big gigs and the cover of “Rolling Stone.”

During the days before the Internet, the main reference books, a kind of “Rolling Stone” for art, in which an artist could appear on the list were Benezit, Mayers and Who’s Who in American Art. Being referenced in these books called the artist “listed.” Posts in which an artist paid to be referenced do not qualify artists for this distinction.

Today there are major art reference websites (most rely on subscriptions for all or part of the information). If an artist is referenced on these sites, it is considered “listed.” The main sites are AskArt, ArtPrice, ArtFact, and ArtNet. It is very easy to check if an artist is “listed” by checking these sites. These sites are constantly updated with new information.

Picasso, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh are examples of “listed” artists. Very few artists on the list reach their level of recognition, but this illustrates that not all artists on the list are created equal. Some are much more famous than others.

Just because an artist is not on the list does not mean that they are not a creative and accomplished artist, but an artist “on the list” has additional confirmation and recognition of their talent.

Most artists never receive this recognition and sometimes not until after they pass away.

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