Purity of art , in my opinion, happens when there is no thought of commerce involved. That is so difficult. But back when the artists painted on the caves in France, was there purity there? Or sculptors before there was a market?
And once there were museums and salons, there were gatekeepers in place to even give something the title of “art”. To the curators of the salon in Paris in the 1800′s, most of the impressionists paintings were not considered art.
Who are we to say? Well the artist has a lot more say when they are willing to part with something. But value can be affected by so many things. Look at music. What has I-tunes done to what we perceive as the value of music? Plenty.
As artists we strive to make a living off of what we do, but often fall to the line of “That’s just what we pay”. “That’s what everyone is getting for this.”.
That’s why I always push for originality in work. Because if nobody else does what you do, it puts you in a better position. Even though “they” like for you to feel you are a “dime a dozen”. You are not.