Thursday, 28 December 2006

Rather a nightmare

In 1932, Picasso made a portrait of his mistress. Nowadays, 'Le Rêve' is seen as one of his top-works. Steve Wynn, the owner of the painting, was to sell it a few weeks ago for $139 million. That was before he poked his elbow through the painting. His first reaction was, understandably, one of unbelief: "I can’t believe I just did that. Oh, shit. Oh, man." He told his guests: "Well, I’m glad I did it and not you."

A few hours later, Wynn was already in a cheerful mood: "My feeling was: It’s a picture, it’s my picture, we’ll fix it. Nobody got sick or died. It’s a picture. It took Picasso five hours to paint it."

(Source: The New Yorker)

Thursday, 21 December 2006

Praying for a buyer

On January 25, 'St James the Greater' will go on auction at Sotheby's New York. This Rembrandt masterpiece is estimated to sell for $18m - $25m.

According to the Economist, it will not be easy to find a buyer: "Such an intensely religious picture would appeal to a museum, but few have resources of this kind. One that does, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, is saying privately that it will not be bidding, as it has a similar picture already. That leaves private buyers. With year-end bonuses at record levels, more individuals than ever are rich enough to buy at this price. But religious subjects are not to many people’s taste, which makes them especially hard to sell. If the picture fails when the hammer falls, it will be a blow to Sotheby’s."

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, 19 December 2006

The true value of art ?

In may 2004, 'Garçon à la Pipe' by Pablo Picasso was sold at Sotheby's New York for $104.1 million. The morning after the sale, a Picasso expert was quoted in The Washington Post: "I'm stunned, that a pleasant, minor painting could command a price appropriate to a real masterwork by Picasso. This just shows how much the marketplace is divorced from the true values of art."