Red is the Colour of Money when it comes to Selling Art

So why is this? Red notably has been the concept of danger, stopping for traffic signals or the colour of the fire alarm. Red lips are considered beautiful and in turn Red is the signal of sex! The red light district needs no explanation! Red is the warmest of all colours. Red is the colour most chosen by extroverts. In China, red is the colour of prosperity and joy. So does red in paintings turn us on?

See Rothko’s ‘Untitled 1970’ with its thick splash of red across the top. One of the primary colours and in Rothko’s own words ‘red is the colour of blood, tomatoes and the occasional apple’.


Sotheby’s art expert Philip Hook (said) the colour red – sells…’Artistic genius and masterful brushwork are all very well, but for a painting to fetch the highest prices it needs to have a splash of red’…”

Kate Brinkworth ‘s incredible detailed work is sensual and moody. Red backdrops allow the viewer to feel a sense of danger however they are lost in the beauty of the work. The fine brush work and incredible reflective quality detracts from the danger of the colour and lightens the mood.

Under physiological research red has been shown to increase blood pressure and stimulate the adrenal glands. The stimulation of the adrenal glands helps us become strong and increases our stamina. Pink, a lighter shade of red, helps muscles relax. So with this in mind do red paintings inflict us to be dominant when it comes to decision making. Would it empower anyone enough to buy a piece of art work?

World renowned artist, Mackenzie Thorpe smacks the paper with a handful of red pastel chalk to create his latest piece. ‘In Dad’s Boots’ is large, the whole work measures almost 40” sq and priced at £9,950. The red football give the whole piece a focal point without distracting from the initial child like emotion of the boy looking up at his father.


So, if we take into account red is both gory and sensual. I suppose the artist trick is to land of the side of sensual indication. Let’s say for example this is what helps sell a work of art? As Mackenzie has portrayed so well let’s look at bridging the gap between portraying a statement of danger to that of lust and mood. An almost erotic tendency that makes the viewer feel good and releases endorphins. So it is entirely plausible that the colour red does sell art.


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