Sometimes the reputation of a masterpiece is so high that even its copies are priced astonishingly high.
Edgar Degas is a French impressionist, artist and sculptor. In 1881, he presented his beeswax sculpture of a little dancer during the 6th impressionists’ biennale.
The statue got a lukewarm reception; however, after the artist’s death, 28 replicas of this figurine were cast in bronze. Nowadays, these replicas are sold for big bucks to the world’s biggest museums and private collectors.
In 2009, one copy of the Little Dancer went for a record $19.2 million at the Sotheby’s London auction. Before that, in 1999, another copy went for $12.4 million.
So here we have a paradox: Edgar Degas didn’t make any bronze statues of a Little Dancer. However, the art collectors pay big money for these replicated bronze dancers.
That’s what reputation is – a famous artist can sell even his worst creation; even when that creation isn’t in demand. This rule works for business too. First, you work hard to create a good reputation for yourself and eventually, the reputation will work for you without any maintenance.
“Art is not what you see; it is what it allows others to see” – said Degas. And he was right.