Most Popular Themes, Subjects, and Mediums for Top-Selling Art

As an artist, you’d often find yourself asking: “What should be the theme and subject of the art I’d create next?” “Will this medium and genre of art make me money?” “Should I go big with my next masterpiece or go for the more budget-friendly, small painting?” After all, making art is where you most likely make the majority of your living. That is why it is crucial for you, as an artist, to know the most popular themes, subjects, and mediums for top-selling art.

The most passionate artists would probably not prioritize making money over creating a piece of art that will genuinely represent them. Their mindset is into the thinking that as long as they make art that they pour their hearts unto, people will buy. And that is not entirely wrong. Eventually, these artists will find a demographic that will genuinely appreciate their art and regularly support them. However, to those artists who would like to make steady revenue using art; knowing what sells the most is indeed considerable. So, if your priority is to sell the art you make, it will be brilliant to look and study what people buy before you go and pick up your brush. Let’s get right into it:

Here Is The Top Ten Best Selling Painting Themes According To Art Business Today.

  1.   Traditional landscapes
  2.   Local views
  3.   Modern or semi-abstract landscapes
  4.   Abstracts
  5.   Dogs
  6.   Figure studies (excluding nudes)
  7.   Seascapes, harbors, and beach scenes
  8.   Wildlife
  9.   Impressionistic landscapes
  10.   Nudes

Now, take a look at the works of art that is currently in your inventory. Do your masterpieces’ themes fall inside the ten mentioned above? If your favorite subject is among the list of top-selling art themes, then you are good to go.

It is interesting to see that people do appreciate art in the image of nature more than themselves. Seeing that landscapes and local views at the very top of the list most likely mean that humans do love nature still. 

Let’s take a more in-depth look at the remaining entries in the list. We can see that people do have a soft spot for dogs, seeing that they are the only animal specified that penetrated the list. Abstracts are still selling steadily strong while nude paintings are climbing up the ranks of top-selling art. Realistically speaking, if you paint genuinely great nudes, you will have more success concentrating on that rather than going for a mediocre landscape. 

At the end of the day, knowing what would sell the most shouldn’t be your only worry. Remember to go and paint those that make you genuinely happy. Do not be entirely into the thinking that you should always cater your works for the public, paint the ones that you want, create paintings that you like. It is indeed great to know the kind of art that will make you money, but do not forget that you make art for your love for it, not just for money.

Let Us Discuss These Top-Selling Art Themes Briefly

Landscape Paintings

Landscape paintings are indeed the king of themes with regards to top-selling art. It is the most quintessential kind of art. Who can blame us, landscapes are indeed universal. There is not a single person out there who does not appreciate a long and beautiful view. That fact makes it that much easier to sell this theme. After all, it is not every day that you may see a landscape marvel, so why not just immortalize it in the form of art?

Come to think of it; this theme is still extensive. Local scenes, landmarks, events, seascapes, harbors, beaches, and many more, fall into the landscape category. The variety of landscape paintings that you may indulge into makes it that much enticing to be a painter that focuses on that specific theme. Find the type that represents you the most and try creating a landscape masterpiece of your own, sooner rather than later; you’d find your market.

Abstract Paintings

People buy art for a lot of different reasons. Some may go for something that resonates within their soul; some may purchase something that triggers nostalgia. But like it or not, a lot of us buy art just to match their home décor. This reason partly explains why abstract paintings sell exceptionally well. Looking at an abstract painting, you might see it just as a color, texture, or shape, and nothing more but this style undoubtedly widely appeals because it fits well with almost every home decoration. That may be the main selling point of abstracts, but for some people, the fact that this theme is usually nonrepresentational and that they are free to interpret it in the way they want; makes abstracts that more compelling to consume. 

Animal and Wildlife Paintings

People seem to love dog paintings more than any other animal paintings out there. In fact, they might like it almost as much as they love their actual pet dogs. Pick your favorite breed of dog or focus on that which is currently popular, that would be an ingenious way of tapping into the hearts of many canine lovers. Wildlife animals, on the other hand, are usually depicted in more extensive, wilder settings and in profile. In that sense, you may conclude that dog paintings represent intimacy and bonds, while wildlife paintings suggest untamed and feral nature.

Figures and Nudes

Humankind loves themselves more than anything else in this world. Thinking of it that way, it is of no surprise that we consume a lot of works of art that depicts our culture, desires, and even ourselves. People will always enjoy looking at other people; this will never change. This means figure paintings and nude paintings, will never go out of style and will remain at the top-selling art categories for a long, long time. As of right now, the trend may look as if people now prefer clothed rather than nude figures, but there is still and probably always will be a market for nude paintings.


Knowing the current trend of top-selling art to base your artworks unto is indeed a great idea to generate steady income but keep in mind that you should still paint for yourself and you should always put your heart into everything you paint. Focusing solely on those that will make you the most money may hurt your innate ability for creating masterpieces that represent you, and you genuinely enjoy making. Whatever it is that you may be painting right now, do it as well as you possibly can in the genre and style that you genuinely want. At the end of the day, you must always paint that which inspires you.

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