There is no denying that bronze sculptures are some of the most beautiful, striking pieces of artwork that can be created. Whether it’s their ability to become a focal point in bustling cities, complement a quaint garden, or even immortalise our beloved animals and pets, their charm and essence have made them a popular choice for art buyers to add to their collections. But just how much is it going to cost to add a bronze statue to your collection?
Factors that influence bronze sculpture costs
What materials have been used?
Let’s start with materials. It is important to note that the term bronze statue can actually refer to either cold cast bronze (bronze resin) or hot cast bronze (foundry bronze), which despite sounding and looking similar, have different costs associated. There are various key differences to know about between the two, which can have an influence on your bronze sculpture costs.
Foundry Bronze is a more expensive, copper and tin alloy known to last indefinitely in various environments due to its extreme durability and strength. As a result of this, foundry bronze statues are known to cost more and be seen as a serious investment piece.
Another popular material choice is Bronze Resin, also known as cold-cast bronze or bonded bronze. Whilst looking very similar to its counterpart, it is made up of bronze powder, mixed with polyester, epoxy or another resin, then backed up with a very strong fibreglass and resin. Bronze resin is known to last around 50 to 100 years depending on environmental factors, and can be relatively inexpensive to repair.
To learn more, take a read of our article comparing the differences between foundry bronze and cold cast bronze.
Bronze Resin Statue
Foundry Bronze Statue
What technique has been used?
A foundry bronze statue is made through a highly intricate, skilled, labour-intensive process, used as far back as Greek times, called “The Lost Wax Process”. This method is a highly knowledgeable process that requires expertise along all steps, and results in strikingly detailed, long-lasting statutes. “Cold-casting”, whilst still requiring skill to be made, can be done in a lot less time, for a lesser cost.
You can explore our article on how foundry bronze and bronze resin are made to learn more about the lost wax process.
Standing Red Deer Stag Sculpture: Valued at £38,100 in Foundry Bronze and measuring H: 210 W: 180 D: 70 centimeters
Royal Stag Sculpture: Valued at £680 in Foundry Bronze and meausring H: 23 W: 19 D: 9 centimetres
How big is the sculpture? How intricate and detailed is the design?
Material requirements increase with the size of the piece, resulting in a more time and labour-intensive process for the artist.
You can see this demonstrated with Tanya’s work, with the cost of her life sized Standing Red Deer Stag Sculpture vs her mantelpiece sized Royal Stag Sculpture. Whilst still capturing the essence and charm of both animals, it is important to factor the expense of bronze, which is an expensive material to use. The more of the material used, the more expensive you can expect your life sized bronze statue to be. The skill and time required to detail your sculpture can also increase the larger the piece, alongside the added level of complexity and cost when organising shipping.
On the other end of the spectrum, small intricate details and textures that bring your statue to life can incur a longer labour process, resulting in higher costs. Overall, whilst as a general rule, the larger the piece, the larger the attributed costs, it usually comes down to a careful collaboration of size, material and craftsmanship to determine the cost of a bronze statue.
How rare is your sculpture?
Whether your sculpture is a one-off original commission or part of an edition, will affect the amount you pay for the artwork. A one-off is usually, as it sounds, a one-off original piece, where you can expect to own the only of its kind, and for a more premium price. A piece may also be part of a limited edition run, meaning a limited amount of the artwork has been created.
Of course, a limited edition bronze is going to be more valuable for buyers or collectors, given that the pieces are rarer and therefore more desirable. Often, the piece would have been carefully chosen by the tartist before they are created, further adding to their value.
Open editions are made without a fixed amount of pieces decided, meaning that the amount of people who have purchased the artwork can increase over time. These usually create a wider reach and accessibility of the piece, which can be great for first-time art buyers and for those looking to spend less.
How do I know if my bronze is editioned or open edition?
You will usually be able to find the edition number somewhere on your bronze, typically the base, if your bronze is editioned. For example, you may see a label such as “3/25”, which would indicate you have piece number 3 in an edition of 25.
For more information on editioning, read our article on understanding bronze editions.
How much a commissioned bronze sculpture costs
A commissioned bronze sculpture can, of course, cost a lot more than an existing editioned or open edition sculpture due to the fact that the artist is creating a brand new piece and mold, which is a lot more labour intensive and time consuming than making an existing sculpture. However, allowing the artist to edition your commission can help significantly reduce the cost.
Tanya’s “Large Stargazers”, a public sculpture commissioned by a US developer with an edition of 7.
What is the condition of the statue?
Like many things, the wear and condition of the piece can determine how the value of your bronze sculpture is retained over time.
If investing in an outdoor piece, it’s recommended to care for it to ensure the longevity of its life. Maintaining the condition means you can enjoy your art in prime condition for many years to come, and also ensure it maintains its value, should you decide to sell it in the future. Take a read of our article on maintaining outdoor sculptures for further information.
Understanding Bronze Sculpture Costs: To Summarise
It’s important to consider that a bronze statue’s cost is typically reflected in material, craft, rarity, condition and size, so whilst there is no one answer to “how expensive are bronze statues?”, we can infer that it lies within a unique combination of these factors.
By now, you should have a better understanding of the factors that can influence the cost of a bronze statue. Should you have questions about bronze sculpture costs or would like some further guidance on understanding how bronze is valued, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
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Tanya Russell MRBS
Tanya Russell has become well known over the last 30 years for her life-like and vibrant animal sculptures.
Having apprenticed for 7 years with her parents, sculptors Lorne McKean FRBS and Edwin Russell FRBS and after practicing as a sculptor for a number of years, she founded the The Art Academy in London Bridge, now a thriving art college. She has completed many public and private commissions nationally and internationally.
For Tanya, her practice is not only about capturing the animals she sculpts with marks and movement. It’s about our relationships with those animals and their welfare.