Economist Rates Art by Numbers

Professor studies textbook reproductions to determine greatness
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2008 8:52 AM CDT
Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, painted by Pablo Picasso in 1907, is the greatest artwork of the 20th century, according to one economist.   ((c) hibino)
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(Newser) – Most art historians would agree that Pablo Picasso's Demoiselles d'Avignon is a great painting. But one economist says it's the best work of art of the 20th century, and he can prove it. The New York Times reports on the work of David Galenson, who analyzed the frequency of reproductions in textbooks to determine the greatest art of the past century.

"Quantification has been almost totally absent from art history," said Galenson, whose list of the greatest modern works continues:

  1. Vladimir Tatlin, Monument to the Third International, 1919-20
  2. Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty, 1970
  3. Richard Hamilton, Just What Is It That Makes Today's Homes So Different, So Appealing?, 1956
  4. Pablo Picasso, Guernica, 1937