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I wanted to dismiss this finding as some kind of reputation adder, whereby after a hit a professional's work would receive extra positive attention that might not have been warranted. However, but the authors appear to extend their result to artists such as Van Gogh, who was not, to my understanding, famous during his lifetime. According to the authors, he managed to produce his best works in a clustered manner while the feedback from these works presumably remained about constant.

The research is using prices to determine the "best" paintings for an artist, but that means that their data for art is basically determined by the not-exactly-quality-based forces involved in pricing art. "Van Gogh painted this one at the same time as X that sold for $$$$Y" is an effective selling point to certain segments of that market.

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