What's in a Name? the Effect of an Artist's Name on Aesthetic Judgments

Axel Cleeremans, Victor Ginsburgh, Olivier Klein, Abdul Noury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Both economists and art historians suggest that the name of the artist is important and belongs with the work. We carried out an experiment to explore the influence that the presence and knowledge of an artist's name exert on aesthetic judgments. Forty participants (20 students majoring in psychology and 20 in art history) were asked to rank 12 works painted by different artists, some of which bore the name of their actual creators, others not. The results demonstrated that the presence of artists' names led to higher rankings among psychology majors, but only if they had been attending to the presented names. In contrast, in the case of art students, it was knowledge of the artists that predicted judgments. The results suggest that for people untrained in the visual arts, the presence of a name can function as heuristic cue to denote value.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-139
Number of pages14
JournalEmpirical Studies of the Arts
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • context
  • experimental aesthetics
  • name of artist
  • perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Music
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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