You often hear that an artist is listed, so what does this really mean? Basically, it means that an artist has attained a certain level of recognition in the art world.
Just like everyone else, an artist starts their career at the bottom level. They start to show their work by attending local or school shows, having their art in galleries that specialize in emerging artists, listing their art on sites like eBay and Etsy. As their art matures and they develop a signature style, the artist will start winning awards in major shows, have representation in more established galleries, articles written about them and possible museum attention.
This gets the artists noticed by the publishers, curators, art critics or sites that reference these artist. These entities report biographies, dealers and secondary market information. The importance of this is that it validates that the artist is a professional, creates quality art, deserves recognition and has a stronger potential for maintaining or increasing in value.
It’s the same type of progression as a musician that starts playing at the local pub and graduates to large concerts and the cover of the “Rolling Stone”.
During pre-internet days, the major reference books, kind of the “Rolling Stone” for art, that an artist could be listed in were Benezit, Mayers and Who’s Who in American Art. Being referenced in these books qualified the artist as being “listed”. Publications in which an artist paid to be referenced in do not qualify the artists for this distinction.
Today there are major art reference web sites (most are subscription based for all or part of the information). If an artist is referenced on these sites, they are considered as “listed”. The major sites are AskArt, ArtPrice, ArtFact and ArtNet. It is very easy to verify if an artist is “listed” by checking these sites. These sites are constantly being updated with new information.
Picasso, Rembrandt and Van Gogh are examples of “listed” artists. Very few listed artists achieve their level of recognition, but this does illustrate that not all listed artists are created equal. Some are much more famous than others.
Just because an artist is not listed does not mean that they are not a creative and accomplished artist, but a “listed” artist has the added confirmation and recognition of their talent.
Most artists never receive this recognition and sometimes, not until after they have passed away.