There’s Still Time: New Study Says Artists Don’t Hit Their Creative Peak Until Age 42

Julie Gerstein
artist Theres Still Time: New Study Says Artists Dont Hit Their Creative Peak Until Age 42

Photo: Getty

So you haven’t made it big as a creative quite yet? Don’t stress, you’ve likely got plenty of time. In fact, this is probably exactly how it’s supposed to work out, because according a new study from economist Philip Hans Franses of the Erasmus School of Economics in the Netherlands, artists don’t reach their peak creativity until age 42.

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Franses completed an exhaustive study of 221 famous painters from between 1800 and 2004, and attempted to determine when they created their most masterful work. Franses, being an economics guy, defined “masterful” as the age an artist was when they made their most expensive painting, which may be an objectively quantifiable thing, though not necessarily an all-encompassing qualifier. Franses also limited his study to more well-known artists. Not surprisingly, there aren’t a lot of women on the list — Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keefe, and Mary Cassatt are but a few females that made the cut.

But even so, taken together, Franses found that the average age of creation was 41.92 — just shy of 42-years-old.

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And indeed, many of these greats were creating way into their 60’s, 70’s and even 80’s.

So our point? Keep working, keep trying, and don’t get discouraged if you haven’t had your big break just yet. It could still be coming!