Have you reached your peak creativity level?
If you’re under the age of 42, chances are good your best creative years are still ahead of you.
That’s according to a new study out of the Creativity Research Journal by economist Philip Hans Franses of the Erasmus School of Economics in the Netherlands.
Franses examined the lifespans of 221 famous painters between 1800 and 2004, and attempted to determine the year they created their most masterful work based on the artist’s most expensive painting ever sold. He gathered the data from both Robert Cumming’s “Eyewitness Companions — Art” as well as the Artprice.com database.
“For each of these artists, the most expensive painting was identified and taken as an indicator of peak creativity,” Franses said in the study. “Of course, many other measurements are possible, but this seems to be the most objective one.”
Objective, yes, but not necessarily the best method. Most of the paintings associated with the more well-known artists in the study are not their most famous work. There was also only a smattering of female painters who made the list, like Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Mary Cassatt.
Nevertheless, Franses found that on average, the painters produced their most highly-valued work of art when they were an average of 41.92 years old.
He also noted that the paintings were created when the artists had lived roughly 62% of their total lives, and noted that the fraction was striking given that the famous “Golden Ratio” found in art, nature, and even financial forecasting is approximately .618. “[My results were] only 0.0018 away from the divine fraction,” Franses said.
Below are some of the more famous painters included in the study, as well as the age they painted their most expensive work to date.
Francisco Goya, “Suerte de Varas” (76 years old)
Edouard Manet, “La rue Mosnier aux drapeaux” (46 years old)
Claude Monet, “Bassin aux nymphéas et sentier au bord de l’eau” (60 years old)
Mary Cassatt, “In a loge” (35 years old)
Georges Seurat, “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” (26 years old)
Vincent van Gogh, “Portrait of Dr. Gachet” (37 years old)
Paul Cézanne, “Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier” (55 years old)
Gustav Klimt, “Landhaus am Attersee” (52 years old)
Henri Matisse, “La robe persane” (71 years old)
Salvador Dalí, “Ma femme nue regardant son propre corps devenir marches” (41 years old)
Man Ray, “Impossibilité Dancer-Danger” (30 years old)
Pablo Picasso, “Boy with a pipe” (24 years old)
Frida Kahlo, “Autorretrato con chango y loro” (35 years old)
Georgia O’Keeffe, “From the plains” (47 years old)
Jackson Pollock, “Number 8, 1950” (38 years old)
NOW WATCH: Executive Life videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.