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scumonkey
May 5th, 2010, 07:54 PM
Art

Another Auction, Another Trophy

By HOLLAND COTTER (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/c/holland_cotter/index.html?inline=nyt-per)

Published: May 5, 2010

Whatever the state of the global economy, there’s always a ton of discretionary cash floating around looking for someplace to land. Tuesday night at Christie’s (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/c/christies/index.html?inline=nyt-org) a chunk of it — $106.5 million to be exact — landed on a Picasso (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/p/pablo_picasso/index.html?inline=nyt-per) painting called “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust,” setting a record for art sold at auction.
Despite the high figure, the whole thing feels a bit ho-hum. These days so much money is in so many hands, and so many of those hands are after trophy art, that record breaking has become routine, de rigueur.
Two, three, four million extra? Worth it. After all, if you’re the evening’s big spender, you not only get to own an object you’ve just helped to make fantastically valuable, but your extravagance, with your name attached or not, also buys a mention in the news. You could lay out the same bucks for a hospital wing, but it wouldn’t be the same. (The Picasso is from the estate of Frances Lasker Brody. The Brodys’ Los Angeles home, by the way, where it had hung for decades, just sold for a quarter of the price of the picture.)
But back to the painting. Madly puffed in Christie’s sales catalog by the longtime Picasso biographer John Richardson, it dates from a single day in 1932 when the artist was, depending on your point of view, at the magical top of his game, or just not trying very hard. With collectors the late 1920s and early ’30s have become a golden phase in Picasso’s career — Acquavella Galleries made the period the subject of a museum-style show in 2008 — thanks to a series of paintings that feature a blond female figure, the same one found in “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust.”
Standard accounts of Picasso’s art tend to be built on a one-woman, one-style model. The muse for the 1930s series was Marie-Thérèse Walter, who was a teenager when she met the middle-aged Picasso in Paris. A standard tale of lust and deceit ensued. The two became lovers; Picasso was married; everything had to be kept hush-hush, nothing could stop their love, etc., etc.
To celebrate this passion Picasso painted Walter (whom Mr. Richardson repeatedly refers to as a girl, as in “this simple, sweet-natured girl,” even when she is in her 20s) over and over, usually depicting her nude, recumbent, twisted, sexually available, but with her eyes closed as if in a post-coital doze. It’s a classic dynamic: active lover-artist, passive lover-muse. Picasso reconstituted it in his art over and over throughout his life.
But, of course, this was hardly the whole story. Picasso’s art is made up of a jumpy bundle of influences: art history, ethnology, popular culture, philosophy, contemporary art. Eros might have been a stimulant, but pure competitiveness kept his motor humming. In the Walter paintings he is looking hungrily at Ingres and with a rivalrous eye at Matisse (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/henri_matisse/index.html?inline=nyt-per). The Christie’s picture is like a cartoon version of each, with some wacky stage props added: a classical bust, some Cézanne (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/c/paul_cezanne/index.html?inline=nyt-per) oranges and Picasso himself directing from behind a curtain.
It’s an entertaining picture. Picasso was a born entertainer, a comic ham. I think that’s one reason for his immense popularity, though it’s not what’s great, meaning original, in his art. His toughness is. The seed of that is found in early Cubist painting and collage, with their shaking-apart structures, razor-sharp slices into space and disorienting confusions of art, language, time and accident. Everything about that work was new and not easy, and still is.
“Nude, Green Leaves and Bust” and other paintings from its period are old and easy, art as usual. They keep to the known, the pleasure zone; they keep old orders firm, artist over subject, man over woman, woman as thing, a pink blob with closed eyes. “Ironically, this painting, which celebrates feminine submissiveness, was executed on International Woman’s Day; this would have delighted Picasso.” That’s Mr. Richardson’s final comment on the most expensive painting ever to hit the block.


http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2010/05/05/arts/design/05auction_2/05auction_2-popup.jpg

ablarc
May 5th, 2010, 10:35 PM
The painting would be a better illustration of the thread's title if it weren't so damn good.

But in a sense, don't you always overpay when you buy art?

scumonkey
May 5th, 2010, 10:59 PM
if it weren't so damn goodAs a trained and professional artist I have to disagree...
... it's NOT so good- it's quite blah!
I'm more inclined to be on the side of it's "just not trying very hard" and "old and easy, art as usual"

But in a sense, don't you always overpay when you buy art? Depends on what you pay...in this case the title of the thread is almost completely accurate- it's just missing one word...
someone (way) OVERPAID ;)

stache
May 6th, 2010, 03:13 AM
I was thinking the same thing, it looks very average. But I like the fruit.

ablarc
May 6th, 2010, 07:57 AM
Do we have to be trained and professional musicians to judge the quality of a Rolling Stones song ar a Tarantino movie?

How about architecture? Do we need a degree and a registration to critique Nouvel or Kaufman?

Ninjahedge
May 6th, 2010, 08:59 AM
Whip It may be an entertaining song to listen to, but it sure as hell isn't something I would consider "great".

just because something is kind of catchy does not mean it has much more merit than the crying clown, Elvis, or dogs playing Gin Rummy! ;)

I think the pic looks OK, but it really does not look like it is challenging much. It seems staged, formulaic and kind of blah. If this was one of the first pics like this, then maybe you could call it ground breaking, but this is like Police Academy 5. You may find somethings rather funny, but 90% is "been there, done that".

In all fairness, a painting made ENTIRELY of dog poo would be better than PA5, but I just could not think of any other sequel....


Maybe European Vacation? Star Wars "I"? ;)

scumonkey
May 6th, 2010, 02:47 PM
Do we have to be trained and professional musicians to judge the quality of a Rolling Stones song ar a Tarantino movie?

How about architecture? Do we need a degree and a registration to critique Nouvel or Kaufman?
No- and i never said you did :rolleyes:
But someone trained in a specific field, to see something the average person has not,
might be a better judge of it's true value (not it's beauty- that will remain in the eye of the beholder).
That's why most people buying art at this price level hire art advisers, when making their art investments- (if they did with this -they got bad advice)
And after all- I started this to talk about the paintings financial worth (or not)- not so much what it looks like.
For Picasso, compositionally, and technically this is barely an "average" image- not worthy of what was paid for it.

"you not only get to own an object you’ve just helped to make fantastically valuable, but your extravagance, with your name attached or not, also buys a mention in the news."

Fabrizio
May 6th, 2010, 03:10 PM
^Bad advice?

The multi-billionaire who bought this became a billionaire because he knows what he's doing. And he can sell this in 10 years and make a few more million. Billionaires don't over pay for anything.

The article says the painting was: "madly puffed in Christie’s sales catalog by the longtime Picasso biographer John Richardson..."

Note the bio of the man doing the puffing:

"During the next ten years he lived in France and became a close friend of Picasso, as well as of Braque, Léger and de Staël. Besides writing books on Manet and Braque, he embarked on an analytical study of Picasso’s portraits, now part of his four-volume biography, A Life of Picasso."

"In 1960, Richardson moved to New York, where he organized a nine-gallery Picasso retrospective in 1962 and a Braque retrospective in 1964. Christie’s then appointed him to open their US office, which he ran for the next nine years. In 1973 he joined M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., as Vice President in charge of 19th- and 20th-century painting, and later became Managing Director of Artemis, a mutual fund specializing in works of art. In 1980 he decided to devote all his time to writing. Besides working on his Picasso biography, he has been a contributor to The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker and Vanity Fair. In 1993 he was elected to the British Academy and in 1995 was appointed Slade Professor of Art at Oxford."

"The first of four planned volumes of Richardson's A Life of Picasso biography was published in 1991, winning a Whitbread Award. The second volume was published in November 1996, followed by the third in 2007. The final volume has not yet been published."

"In 1999 he published a memoir, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and in 2001 a collection of essays, Sacred Monsters, Sacred Masters. The author is currently working on the fourth volume of his Picasso biography. In 2009 the Gagosian Gallery held an exhibition of Pablo Picasso’s late works entitled Mosqueteros which was curated by John Richardson."

^ In other words, the world's foremost authority on Picasso. The value of the painting is guaranteed.

Ninjahedge
May 6th, 2010, 03:29 PM
Are you saying that people who are known for their expertise can give genuine opinions of the worth of an undefinable enigmatic object and then vouch of its worth and salability at a later date?

*cough*GoldmanSachs*cough*

scumonkey
May 6th, 2010, 04:02 PM
The value of a painting is never guaranteed (even if the worlds foremost authority sets it)
economy, among other things, can sway the value of art as much as anything else.

example:
http://www.art-katroz.com/manet_etc/reproductions/rideau_cruchon_compotier_cg.JPG

Considered the most expensive still life ever sold at auction, Rideau, Cruchon et Competier
was painted towards the end of the 19th century by French artist Paul Cezanne.
It was sold at Sotheby's, New York in May 1999 for over $60 million. It was later sold for a loss.
This happens all too often, but kept quite because it's not good for the business ;)

Fabrizio
May 6th, 2010, 05:16 PM
^ Agreed but among Masters I just doubt that it happens often. It would be interesting to see the value of that painting today.

" economy, among other things, can sway the value of art as much as anything else."

Yes, and we're in a down swing. The economy goes up and down. Anyway, let me know when there is a fire sale on Picassos.

-------------------------

"Are you saying that people who are known for their expertise can give genuine opinions of the worth of an undefinable enigmatic object and then vouch of its worth and salability at a later date?"

Yes, happens in the art world all the time.

The actual worth of the painting is zero... it's an old piece of canvas with 10 dollars worth of paint smeared on it.

It's not so much as giving opinions about the paintings worth .... it's actually more a matter of creating the paintings worth.... and that is done by critics, curators, dealers, gallery owners, history etc. If not, you tell us why a Picasso or a Cezanne or a Pollack has value.

And oh, BTW this is a Picasso... it is not an "undefinable enigmatic object."

---------

And the above article leaves out the following: "Part of the sale proceeds will benefit the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, Calif."

As well as the fact that in 2004 a Picasso sold for 104.2 million.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/05/picasso-painting-nude-gre_n_563763.html

ablarc
May 6th, 2010, 08:51 PM
http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2010/05/05/arts/design/05auction_2/05auction_2-popup.jpg


The painting would be a better illustration of the thread's title if it weren't so damn good.

But in a sense, don't you always overpay when you buy art?


As a trained and professional artist I have to disagree...
... it's NOT so good- it's quite blah!


I was thinking the same thing, it looks very average. But I like the fruit.
… at least partly because the fruit is comfy old shoes familiar from a dozen Cezannes.

Like Tarantino, Picasso’s just quoting from something he likes. Also like Tarantino, he changes style just for the fruit. Like using Ennio Morricone.

Currying favor.

But that’s far from where the eclecticism ends. The plants are quotes from arch-rival Matisse, spiced up with Pablo’s own favorite motif, the female pussy. This is mixed with an ass or two (or three?) from different vantage points (that old satyr!), while the pedestaled bust clearly descends from the Ancients, via Chirico. (It’s even pock-marked with age –been so long! --like PP himself, I can stare for a thousand years.)

If I owned this thing, I would ache daily to plunge into that pillowy expanse of purplish flesh, wedging tongue into the enchanting mysteries of the letter “y”. (Before it was fashionable, did Picasso’s models shave their pubes? Did he priapically insist? Did he just take after Ingres?)

The profile reappears as ghost in blue, projected on the drapes of Caesar’s tent, beyond which surely flames do rage, while inexplicable, tentacular grey shadows reach down to envelop the nude --utterly abandoned, like Ariadne in the wilds of sleep. With a single deft line that a million artists would kill to concoct, her arm describes a position we all adopt nightly, but her fingers: can that be a configuration familiar in certain Pompeiian wall paintings? And do they target a vaginal ear? Oh, sometimes a thumb is just a cigar.


Do we have to be trained and professional musicians to judge the quality of a Rolling Stones song … ?
How about architecture? Do we need a degree and a registration to critique Nouvel or Kaufman?
Sorry scumonkey, it was the credential-waving that set me off, partly because having some of my own, I can also form an idea of their worth –which I think you and I can agree is less than the unwashed think. It’s true that professionals see more, but sometimes it’s trees they see, not forest. Just check out the condition of our legal profession.


But someone trained in a specific field, to see something the average person has not, might be a better judge of its true value…
That may or may not be true.

But in any case the folks assigned to determine the dollar value of a visual artwork are not artists themselves, but art historians or art critics --like John Richardson, the gent Fabrizio researched. These guys are worth something as appraisers; they can be trusted because they’re only interested in money. When mulling a purchase, Mrs. Gardner trusted Berenson, not Whistler.


Are you saying that people who are known for their expertise can give genuine opinions of the worth of an undefinable enigmatic object and then vouch of its worth and salability at a later date?

*cough*GoldmanSachs*cough*
Right, and right.


That's why most people buying art at this price level hire art advisers, when making their art investments
That’s exactly right.

My own art world credential is in this field; the thesis course was called “connoisseurship.”


(not its beauty- that will remain in the eye of the beholder).
The word was used by you. Artists talk about this concept.

I was told in school: “We will not use this word.”

After art history, I veered into architecture; I didn’t want to sound like Ronald Colman.

If, at the crossroads, I had taken the path less traveled, I might be advising a mafia chieftain on art. I would recommend that he send a coupla goodfellas to steal this painting and mount it over his mantelpiece –not because there’s any chance that he or his heirs could ever re-sell it—but because its rich mysteries would keep his mind occupied and enchanted well past the onset of senescence.

He might even decide to become an educated person in (an utterly hopeless) quest to plumb the painting’s mysteries.

This one is better than a Vermeer –and think how much less time the old whorebag took to crank it out. A day? That’s efficiency; no wonder his output was so prodigious that he died a billionaire.

scumonkey
May 6th, 2010, 09:41 PM
While I can appreciate most of what you posted...

I absolutely have to disagree with this:

This one is better than a VermeerI'd take one Vermeer over almost any Picasso any day (and I would dare venture to say -so would most museums).
I know I'm in the minority but I believe Picasso is so overrated.
I'd much rather surround myself (and do) with the traditional African art that he drew most of his inspiration from than a Picasso painting such as this.
(his earlier works- now that's a different story);)

Fabrizio
May 7th, 2010, 04:19 AM
That Picasso is decorative and very chic.

Ninjahedge
May 7th, 2010, 09:14 AM
(his earlier works- now that's a different story);)


Artists have a tendency to have more....motivation when they are hungry.

Most of their stuff is not as refined or smooth, but it has much more power and more of a chance for a unique direction.

The hard part is finding the balance point between hunger and practice.

And Fab, what I was saying (I know you know this) is that no matter how much people say something like this is worth, it is only "worth" the materials it is made out of and the time it took to make it. Any other value assigned to it is purely ephemeral and subject to the whims of the time.

The fancies of the human race are strange, where even a comic book can be considered valuable no so much as for what is in it, but how old it is and how many others are still available in the world.

I think this picture is pleasant, but the mere fact that something like this costs more than the GNP of many third world nations sickens me to the core.

I am not preaching for redistribution of wealth, but it is just sad that there is so much of a disparity, even in "modern times" that a pretty picture can go for an amount great enough to feed a country.

Luca
May 10th, 2010, 09:45 AM
Some interesting points made on all sides.

I would add that when you are a billionaire and you buy art, under many circumstances the fact you pay a lot is at the very least part of the appeal. It is a purchase of credibility in terms of not purely commercial sentiment. Much in the same way as large donations to museums, etc. A sort of acceptable form of conspicuous consumption.

At this level / stage in the 'career' of the artist, it's all business.

It's middle class folks like me who buy a piece of art purely because they "like it".

As a purely personal observation, the painting in question seems to me like a fairly middling Picasso but it has a lot of qualities (legibility, clear brand-stamping, etc.) that would make it commerically gold (AND it's been in private hands until now).

ablarc
May 12th, 2010, 11:51 AM
I know I'm in the minority but I believe Picasso is so overrated.
Have you seen this exhibit, scumonkey? It might cause you to change your mind. Much that's in this article is bullshit (complaining about how it's hung, for example), but I bet the artwork itself is primo:

THE PICTURE: Picasso ♥ New York City

The painter and Gotham. May 12, 2010

By Jed Perl

http://www.tnr.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/detail_page/stein.JPG

“Picasso in the Metropolitan Museum of Art” is wretchedly installed. I cannot imagine what Gary Tinterow, the curator at the museum who organized the show, thought he was doing. Tinterow has crammed so many paintings, drawings, and prints so close together that it is virtually impossible to see anything on its own terms or to make distinctions between major and minor works.

In this absurdly overcrowded hanging, key paintings—Gertrude Stein (1905-06), Woman in White (1923), Dora Maar in an Arm Chair (1939)—are treated like straphangers in a rush-hour subway. And smaller glories, which include some extraordinarily important works on paper, such as the 1915 pencil portrait of Ambroise Vollard, get lost in the shuffle. Is there some theory behind this overstuffed installation?

Could Tinterow—who is the chairman of nineteenth-century, modern, and contemporary art at the Metropolitan—be amused by the idea of treating Picasso’s admittedly manic production as so many square feet of high-priced merchandise to be hung in a twenty-first-century parody of a nineteenth-century salon? Does Tinterow believe that by presenting Picasso’s achievement as if it were a posh jumble sale he is saluting the ironic element in Picasso’s own imagination? (It was Picasso, after all, who said that “museums are just a lot of lies”—but apparently had no reservations about showing his work in museums.)

And in any event, whatever Tinterow may have imagined he was doing, couldn’t somebody at the Metropolitan have stopped him? Why didn’t Thomas Campbell, the museum’s new director, prevent this from happening?
The pity of “Picasso in the Metropolitan Museum of Art” is that it had the potential to add fresh depth and shadings to our understanding not only of Picasso’s art but also of his relationship with New York City, where creative spirits were following his every move right up until his death in 1973.

Although Picasso never visited New York, his work has been such an essential presence in the city for so long that it is not unreasonable to think of the Spaniard who spent most of his life in France as an honorary New Yorker. Guernica, his epochal response to the horrors of the Spanish Civil War, hung at the Museum of Modern Art for decades, where its monochromatic palette helped shape the black, white, and gray paintings that de Kooning, Pollock, and Kline were doing in the years around 1950. Those canvases—with their sharp contrasts, their dialectical dramas, their thrilling ambiguities—strike us as an essential expression of the spirit of New York.

While we quite naturally think of the Museum of Modern Art as the place where New York’s deep, abiding love affair with Picasso is most thoroughly articulated, the Metropolitan does in fact have a rather extraordinary Picasso collection of its own.

Taken together, the Picasso holdings at the Metropolitan tend to emphasize the lyrical conservatism that sometimes complicated his anarchic energies, an obsession with tradition that anchored and even at times trumped his fascination with revolution. Gertrude Stein bequeathed to the Metropolitan Picasso’s tough, searching, implacable portrait of her, a work in which the Spanish painter confronts the American writer, and the Old World and the New World seem, for the moment, to achieve some special, secret understanding.

Alfred Stieglitz, the photographer and proselytizer for all things modern, exhibited Cubist works by Picasso at the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession in 1911, and after his death his widow, Georgia O’Keeffe, gave the Metropolitan many of the Picasso drawings that Stieglitz had first shown in New York. Scofield Thayer, who published “The Waste Land” in his great magazine, The Dial, built a spectacular collection focusing on Picasso’s Neoclassicism, which he left to the museum. And there have been other formidable gifts, especially by the dealer Klaus Perls and the collectors Jacques and Natasha Gelman.

Twentieth-century New York artists, who could not come to terms with the Old World without a considerable struggle, felt a special affinity with Picasso’s restlessness—which had pushed him from the dusty enigmas of the Rose Period to the shattered figurations of Cubism, to the steely nostalgia of Neoclassicism, and to the gorgeous absurdities of Surrealism.

At the Museum of Modern Art, Picasso is an artist who is always moving forward, brutally geometricizing the nineteenth-century nude in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and then elegantly anatomizing the results in Ma Jolie. At the Metropolitan one is perhaps more aware of the essentially dialectical nature of Picasso’s activity, of his tendency to remake form as well as break form, to reach for effects that are sometimes simultaneously sweet and sour, emotive and architectonic.

Seated Harlequin (1901) is masklike, contemplative, a work in which Picasso’s fascination with full-out feelings is saved from sentimentality through the boldness of the design. Although the Metropolitan’s Picasso collection cannot be said to be anywhere near as important as MoMA’s—which has its share of classicizing masterworks, including Boy Leading a Horse (1906)—at the Metropolitan we do feel very strongly his pensive romanticism, his tough-minded traditionalism, and his determination to reimagine the reality of portraiture in an anti-realistic age.

Picasso’s portrait of Gertrude Stein stands at the center of the Metropolitan’s collection, and in its own way it is as talismanic a canvas for New York as Les Desmoiselles d’Avignon or Ma Jolie. When Gertrude Stein left the portrait to the Metropolitan in 1947, it was the first of his works to enter the museum, and it feels natural that she wanted to give it to the Metropolitan, the greatest of all American museums. (Her cryptic explanation for why she did not give it to MoMA was that “You can be a museum, or you can be modern, but you can’t be both.”)

The famous story of the portrait’s genesis is told once again in the catalogue of “Picasso in the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” a book with contributions by Tinterow and some half-dozen other scholars that is as lucid as the installation of the exhibition is incoherent; long after the show has closed, this volume will stand as a remarkable guide to a glorious collection.

Picasso worked on the portrait for months, beginning in the winter of 1905, painting out the head in the spring after innumerable sessions with Stein had left him feeling he could no longer see her, and then painting the head back the following autumn, without looking at her again. At the time, Stein was writing Three Lives, the trio of novellas in which she brought a new austerity to English prose. In the various accounts she gave over the years about the gestation of the portrait, she liked to claim that she and Picasso had been working along parallel tracks, one in paint and one in prose, sharpening and heightening their effects, transforming reality in order to get at the essence of reality.

Perhaps she felt closer to Picasso than he felt to her. But surely something about this blunt, bold American spirit appealed to the young Spaniard. The portrait of Gertrude Stein marks the moment in Picasso’s life when he looked deep into the eyes of an American artist—and perhaps found himself asking what it meant to be an American.

For Americans, who have spent so much time wondering what it meant to be Picasso, the portrait suggests some mutual affinity—or at least the promise of such an affinity. And for New Yorkers, living in the city that never sleeps, this Spaniard, who indeed often worked deep into the night, will always be the quintessential modernist.


Jed Perl is The New Republic's art critic.

scumonkey
May 12th, 2010, 05:18 PM
No I haven't...it might be primo Picasso- (with the exception of a few of his earlier works), just not my cup of tea.
I can however appreciate/understand it for what it is/did for painting,(and I've been lucky enough to have seen most of the best of his work in many museums around the globe).
Hasn't changed my mind.
I do agree however that it's bullshit to rip on how it's hung...display choices change over time.
It used to be quite fashionable to fill a wall from top to bottom (I bet the author has never been to
the art museum in Philly he would have a stroke):p

lofter1
May 12th, 2010, 11:08 PM
Lots of big money out there this month, buying up an assortment of big ticket items ...

Jasper Johns' "Flag" brings record price at auction of Michael Crichton's estate (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2010/05/jasper-johns-flag-brings-record-price-at-auction-of-michael-crichtons-estate.html)

Jasper Johns, "Flag" (1960-1966): $28.6M

http://www.josephklevenefineartltd.com/JasperJohnsCrichtonFlag.jpg

This earlier version of "Flag" recently sold (http://jklfa.blogspot.com/2010/04/jasper-johns-flags-keep-making.html) for more than 3 X that price in a private sale ...

http://www.josephklevenefineartltd.com/JasperJohnsCohenFlag.jpg


Purple Warhol and Red Rothko Go for Lots of Green at Sotheby’s (http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/12/warhol-self-portrait-goes-for-32-6-million/)

Warhol, "Self Portrait" (1986): $32.6M

http://www.brianappelart.com/images/articles/spring2008-postwar-contemporary/385-Warhol_Self_Portrait.jpg


Rothko, "Unititled" (1961): $31.4M
http://image.grindstore.com/product/10135-1-400x400.jpg
Which is peanuts when compared with what this Rothko brought at auction in 2007 (http://www.luxist.com/2007/05/18/rothko-painting-sets-record-in-new-york/):

Rohko, "White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose)" (1950): $72.8M

http://www.blogcdn.com/www.luxist.com/media/2007/05/rothko.jpg

ablarc
May 13th, 2010, 09:35 AM
I'm skeptical that those flag paintings have legs. Fifty years from now --when everyone is dead who delighted in their pop freshness when they first appeared-- will they still be worth millions?

Ninjahedge
May 13th, 2010, 02:09 PM
I can always appreciate when something expresses differences from the norm, but the mere fact that people are willing to invest in something that basic sickens me.

"Untitled" "Flag" "Warhol" and the rest are attrociously simplistic and not generators of any true emotional response. Many will differ on that, but simply using one color on a black and white shot of a bad-hair day is not exactly what I would call an unmatched artistic wonder worth $33M......

scumonkey
May 13th, 2010, 03:45 PM
It's the "Brand Name" not the contents ;^)

Fabrizio
May 14th, 2010, 04:30 AM
""Untitled" "Flag" "Warhol" and the rest are attrociously simplistic and not generators of any true emotional response. "

Those artists (especially Johns and Warhol) with their styles, changed the look of graphics and design in a way that is sooo far reaching. They along with the other Pop artists caused a visual revolution.

The US flag presented here as pure design and as a pop object was a new way of looking at things in 1958. That painting was ground-breaking. "Intellectual response" replaces "emotional response".

Ninjahedge
May 14th, 2010, 09:06 AM
Fab, no matter what they started, their pieces mean nothing in and of themselves.

If you NEED context to "appreciate" a piece, then it is not a true communication of emotion and meaning.

And it still does not validate $33M when placed against other items, both physical and not, that could be purchased for those prices.


Do I say they are worthless? No, but when a society gets so old that an ephemeral "symbol" of a change in pop culture is worth more than an entire school building our values on "art" and "culture" can only be described and distended and skewed.



These peices were not bought because they symbolize anything more than money. People may say they are something more, but they are little more than multimillion dollar bank notes that "investors" hang on the wall to try to get respect from others that somehow believe that the collection of things is a sign of importance.


Whatever. "Untitled" is still a red blob that looks like the potato stamp "paintings" I did as a kid in kindergarden. If people want to spend $31M on it, it is just sad.

When the people are running out of bread, it is sad to see cake costing so much.

Fabrizio
May 14th, 2010, 02:10 PM
"When the people are running out of bread, it is sad to see cake costing so much."

And gold too.

Ninjahedge
May 14th, 2010, 03:19 PM
Gold would not have fit the historical ref fab! ;)

I was actually thinking about that though. Very few of the "precious" metals are really worth much. I think Gold is because of its malleability and its high conductivity (great for wires, contacts, etc). It also does not tarnish. An important thing in electronics.

But Silver? Maybe medical uses,but I am not aware of many. Platinum? I am not sure how practical a material it is either (and, having some in my wedding ring, I really can't see the fascination with it. It is more malleable than other shiny metals and does not tarnish, but is its rarity the only thing making it valuable?)

Gemstones are a little harder (no pun intended) being that the rarity and quality of the material itself plays a major role, but so does its workmanship. It is still weird that they are valued so much.

I think if you were to track a societies development, the more free time or resources they have, the more they start to value things that have no inherent worth. It is a difficult thing to trace fully. Some things make you feel better, audibly, visually, olfactorily (is that a word?), and that is a worth that is hard to measure. You feel better, you work better, you live healthier, etc etc....

But at what point do we go from practical "that looks nice" or "That sounds great" to paying millions for an abstract painting or for performing rote repetitive pieces that were heard in similar forms many times before?

Where (when?) does the price or payment for things start exceeding their intangible worth and start becoming something else connected more to the society they are in than the actual value they hold?

Fabrizio
May 14th, 2010, 04:01 PM
"... the more they start to value things that have no inherent worth. "

Like small rectangular pieces of paper with Presidents faces on them?

Ninjahedge
May 16th, 2010, 10:24 PM
No, not at all, especially when those notes represent a supposed fiscal weight.

It was only when they were no longer tied to an ironic gold standard that they no longer bore any real value anymore.

I appreciate the comparison, and on the surface it is very pithy, until you include things like, I dunno, finances and economics into it.

Go fig! ;)

195Broadway
May 19th, 2010, 03:51 PM
I really dig that Warhol "Self Portrait". It just made it to my desktop background. It really grabs me for some reason.

2nd is, "Green Leaves and Bust”, which at first had no appeal, but is slowly catching my interest after some "soak time"

The rest claim no emotional response.

Ninjahedge
May 20th, 2010, 09:06 AM
195, would you pay $30M for that "emotion"?

Are there no other pictures or paintings that elicit similar feelings?

The only other thing that needs to be realized is that not all art is "timeless". Sometimes "art" only has a context within its own period of time. A social commentary or a deliberate statement against the main stream. This makes them very important when it comes to art history, but still does not make them any more important a shot in regards to their own context and content.

Does that make them worthless if they cannot stand on their own in any time? Not really, but is sure doesn't make them worth $30M+

That money is being spent not on the art itself, but on the social statement of ownership.

scumonkey
May 20th, 2010, 12:30 PM
Video from Christie's showing the actual auction for the painting...
http://www.christies.com/features/Pablo-Picassos-Nude-Green-Leaves-and-Bust-632-3.aspx?cid=54470012302