Thursday, August 09, 2012

Germany: What is the Free Market Price of a Bronze Sculpture?

This article is also available in Macedonian and Albanian
- на македонски на Блогерај: Германија: Колку чини една бронзена скулптура на слободниот пазар?
- на македонски на Блогспот: Германија: Колку чини една бронзена скулптура на слободниот пазар?  
- në gjuhën shqipe në Në Maqedoni luanët më të shtrenjtë se kudo  

I find it interesting to compare the price of bronze statues in an affluent market economy, with those bought under conditions of political party control of state resources, through public procurement.

This Spring in Berlin I came across a shop selling various art and decorative works. Several bronze life-size or smaller sculptures representing animals were displayed on the street in front of it. I assume they are intended to adorn the homes or yards of richer people who like to represent themselves as lovers of nature and the arts.

Bronze statues of animals displayed in the street in front
of a art shop in Berlin, Germany in May 2012.

The sculpture of a bear, with a size approximately 80 x 130 x 150 cm, costs EUR 5.800.

A paw of a bear statue with the price.

Thematically, the bear can be compared to the bronze lions from the Skopje 2014 project. Their artistic quality is similar or lower, and their size is about double. Meaning, they would need 4 times more bronze, because the volume in 3 dimensions needs to be filled.

Allegedly, the four lions on the "Goce Delchev" Bridge cost the state budget at minimum EUR 2.3 million. This price includes the pedestals, which feature quasihistorical reliefs like the one representing Aristotle teaching the future absolutist ruler Alexander that "democracy is the basis of freedom," a motto in Macedonian language inscribed with some strange mix of Cyrillic, Latin and Greek alphabet. It turns out that one lion + pedestal costs about EUR 570,000. Even if the cost share for the lion is... whatever... a fifth of the total price, it still boils down to over EUR 100.000 per animal sculpture.

I don't know if this is comparable - correct me if I am wrong, but to smelt a copy of the same bear with double size would cost 4 times more (~EUR 25.000) - taking into consideration the proportional amount of material. In essence, changing the dimensions of the work does not affect the author's fee, which was included within the initial price, and would be smaller or equal to it minus the price of the bronze and smelting. Even if making a bigger bear costs 10 times more, considering the need for additional skill or equipment, it still amounts to EUR 60.000. The large gap between this and the price of the lions could indicate the difference between a free market and an economy based on combination of communist-style economy concerted by the state and feudalism.


Anonymous said...

Moje ime je Borut imam umjetničku ljevaonu Livartis u Ljubljani
Cijena onog medvjeda je nenormalno niska je po mome reprodukcija više komada izljevanih negdje na istoku.
O skulpturama u Skopju se slažem......nenormalno pretjerane cijene.Mi izradjujemo skulpture po cca 3000€ po kvadratu površine netto.

Развигор said...

Translation of the previous comment:

"My name is Borut and I own art smelting company Livartis in Ljubljana.

The price of the bear is extremely low and I estimate that it is a reproduction made in multiple casts somewhere in the East.

I agree about the Skopje sculptures... their prices is are abnormally excessive. We make sculptures with a net cost of about € 3000 per square meter of surface."

Развигор said...

Poštovani g. Borute, hvala Vam na informacijama.