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The Wiley Handbook of Genius by Dean Keith Simonton

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27 Prominent Modern Artists Determinants of Creativity

Christiane Hellmanzik

Introduction

The nature of creativity and particularly the conditions that foster creative genius are of great interest not only to economists, but also to scientists from various fields. This chapter is based on a novel dataset of prominent modern visual artists that encompasses extensive information on their biographies and auction results. The dataset covers a global sample of 214 prominent artists born between 1850 and 1945, and auction results of their paintings in modern art auctions from 1988 to 2007. These auction data are used as a measure for the quality of paintings, based on the assumption that market prices reflect the true quality.

Pooling the dimensions of output quality and biographical information for a given year in an artist's career, this chapter exploits the link between the characteristics of an artist's life and work to draw conclusions on factors promoting creativity. First, the data collection and sampling methods are presented, followed by the econometric framework of analysis.

The next section focuses on the two most important global cluster locations for artists born between 1850 and 1945: Paris and New York. Paris is by far the most important cluster attracting the largest share of artists in total throughout the entire period. But also New York serves as a local as well as global cluster particularly for artists born between 1900 and 1945. However, New York cannot attain ...

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