Getty Images / Oli Scarff

A new study has found that abstract paintings dominated by blue and red will sell for more at auction than any other primary or secondary color.

“Colors, Emotions, and the Auction Value of Paintings”  – a study conducted by CentERlab at Tilburg University in the Netherlands studied prices in the art auction market, incorporating color attributes into pricing models. Their findings confirm what art dealers have long suspected: red and blue are auction house gold.

This is true for Chinese, American, and European markets. On average, participants bid nearly 20 percent more than average for monochrome blue and monochrome red abstractions.

One of the authors of the study told Artnet that “it’s striking that few scientific studies have looked into the economic impact of colors and the emotional channel that relates color to prices in the auction market.”

The study itself originated from a 2013 op-ed by then-Sotheby’s specialist, Philip Hook, who claimed that “blue and red tend to be good news” for dealers. It looks like he was on the money.

Weekend Staff Writer

Isabelle is an Australian writer based in Berlin.

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