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Monet, Impressionism and project investment appraisal

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Works of art have many meanings and some have more meanings, but even if all their meanings may never be known to any one observer, his obligation is still to encounter each work from as many aspects of his own intellectual and emotional experience as he can. Because each work of art originates in the mind and feelings of a human being, it reaches its destination in the mind and feelings of another.

George Heard Hamilton1

How to evaluate a painting?

To evaluate a painting is more than deciding whether you like it or not. The web site Art Encyclopaedia2 offers some suggestions on how to appreciate art. These include:

  • When was the painting created?
  • Is the painting abstract or representational?
  • What school of movement is the painting associated with?
  • At what point was the artist in his career?
  • What was his background?
  • What materials were used in the creation of the painting?
  • How does the painting compare with others?
Investment Appraisal

The APM Body of Knowledge3 defines Investment Appraisal as: a collection of techniques used to identify the attractiveness of an investment.

It goes on to note there are many factors and does give some guidance. Six areas are listed being financial, legal, environmental, social, operational and risk.

The Business case will have been prepared by one or more individuals who are likely to have invested much time and effort in researching, considering, interviewing, documenting and drawing together the necessary information before the final version is published. When reviewing the business case, or performing an investment appraisal, what if we were to consider the Business Case as though it were a work of written art that originated in the mind of a human being(s).

The concepts and proposal presented may appear to be abstract to our thinking, perhaps may be contrary to our own or organisations’ accepted norms and it may even challenge the way we would ordinarily challenge and our initial reaction therefore is likely to be one of opposition.  

Art Historians will advise that the Impressionists ‘faced harsh opposition from the conventional art community in France’4. Monet was an impressionist. However one of his Water Lilies paintings, on 6 May 2014, ‘was auctioned at Christie's, New York City for $27 million’5 and this after his paintings were sneered at by the critics as reflecting his ‘blurred vision’.

When performing an investment appraisal could you be opposing a yet to be highly valued, yet unappreciated, work of art? What if you are using preconceived notions and criteria, perhaps subconsciously, which results in missing the bigger picture? Is it your vision that is blurred?

George Hamilton advises us ‘to encounter each work from as many aspects of his own intellectual and emotional experience as he can’. Let us consider the same when we evaluate an investment appraisal. 


  1. Hamilton, George Heard, Painting and Sculpture in Europe 1880-1940, Penguin Books, 1989, Print
  3. APM Body of Knowledge, 6th


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