The creation of value by artists: The case of Hector Berlioz and the Symphonie Fantastique

David Throsby*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction Consider an artwork such as a painting, a novel, a symphony, a musical performance, a play, or some other work created by an artist. Much of the contemporary debate about the value of such a work focuses on the comprehension of value by the consumer (viewer, reader, listener, etc.). That is, value is brought into being by the interaction of the individual consumer and the work. In making their evaluations and reacting to their experience of consumption, people may be influenced by many factors, including the social, political, and cultural context within which the work is received; the historical tradition from which it derives; and the known or imagined assessments of others. But the essential feature is that value is a social construct deriving from individuals' reactions to the work of art. This interpretation of value underlies most of the economic modeling of the valuation of cultural goods, as evidenced in studies of demand for the arts, price formation in art markets, and the economic valuation of cultural heritage. An alternative interpretation of the origins of value with a long provenance in the history of art is that value is somehow intrinsic to the work itself. In other words, it exists whether or not it is perceived by anyone. Under this tradition, art obeys certain fundamental principles, which are absolute rather than relative and define a pure purpose for art expressed in terms of concepts such as beauty, truth, mystery, and spirituality (Etlin 1996).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBeyond price
Subtitle of host publicationvalue in culture, economics, and the arts
EditorsMichael Hutter, David Throsby
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press (CUP)
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780511793820
ISBN (Print)9780521862233
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


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