50 thoughts on “Vincent van Gogh’s birthday in 2005. Art and money

  1. 3/14/06 at 12:46PM

    Playing: Money, money, money, by Abba

    As this blog pointed out before, there are at least two ironies in the relationship between art and business.

    First, traders and speculators who themselves did not contribute even a single drop of paint, making millions from the works of artists whose lives more often than not were a struggle economically.

    Second, capitalists profiting from artists often critical of capitalism (Picasso, Dadaism, Chagall, and others from the article below).

    Bloomberg reports:

    Picasso, Warhol Top List of Actively Traded Art

    By Linda Sandler

    March 14 — Pablo Picasso, who painted the world’s most expensive picture, held his place as 2005’s most actively traded artist, and Andy Warhol bumped Claude Monet from No. 2, said Artprice.com, a data service.

    Canaletto’s Venetian views propelled him to fourth place from 239th.

    Picasso collectors raised $153.2 million last year from 1,409 works sold at auction, said Artprice, which is based in France.

    Owners of Warhols realized $86.7 million from 660 images, while 22 Monets took $61.5 million and 18 Canalettos $55.5 million, it said.

    … Three Chinese painters, including Zao Wou-Ki, born in 1921, jumped onto Artprice’s top 50 as Christie’s International and Sotheby’s Holdings Inc. expanded Asian auctions.

    Henri Matisse fell to 13th from sixth as his best bright-patterned works became scarcer.

    Artprice published its ranking of artists by auction volume on its Web site as part of a survey of market trends in 2005.

    Prices came from 2,900 auction houses worldwide, it said.

    Picasso’s `Garcon’

    In May 2004, Picasso’s “Garcon a la Pipe” sold for $104.2 million at Sotheby’s in New York, becoming the most expensive artwork ever to sell at auction.

    Fine-art auctions last year raised $4.2 billion, an increase of 15 percent from 2004, as the hammer came down on 477 lots priced at $1 million or more. …

    New York, where the billionaire Eli Broad paid $23.8 million for David Smith’s “Cubi XXVIII” sculpture at Sotheby’s in November, was expensive in 2005.

    Values swelled 35 percent in the biggest market. Art prices in London increased 4.8 percent.

    New York Gains

    The U.S. was catching up with an earlier surge in the No.2 market, Artprice said.

    From 2002 to 2004, London auction prices shot up 87 percent, dwarfing New York’s gains of 28 percent.

    Prices in Paris, the No. 3 market, were little changed last year.

    For Hong Kong, which has overtaken Germany to become the fourth-largest market, Artprice said there’s insufficient monthly data to provide comparable numbers.

    However, China’s economic boom sent indexes of the country’s contemporary artists and old masters about 80 percent higher at auctions worldwide, it said.

    The hottest art movement in 2005 was Dada, an early-20th- century group whose best-known work is Marcel Duchamp’s urinal, “Fountain.”

    An Artprice index of Dada works rose 137 percent.

    Italian futurists including Gino Severini added 93 percent.

    London Bombings

    New York took a 44 percent share of fine-art auctions.

    London’s auction totals swelled by one-fifth, giving the U.K. capital 28 percent of the pie.

    A Canaletto painting of Venice fetched $32.6 million in a packed Sotheby’s London auction room after a day of bombings on July 7, making the 18th-century Italian artist the most expensive of the year.

    Hong Kong, which contributed more of Christie’s 2005 auction totals than Paris, had a 3.7 percent market share, while Paris raised 6.6 percent.

    Publicly traded Artprice has headquarters in Saint-Romain-au-Mont-d’Or, France.

    Here are Artprice’s 10 most actively traded artists:

    Pablo Picasso
    Andy Warhol
    Claude Monet
    Mark Rothko
    Marc Chagall
    Willem de Kooning
    Fernand Leger
    Jean-Michel Basquiat
    Lucian Freud

  2. Warhol painting sells for $71-million

    Associated Press

    May 17, 2007 at 2:25 AM EDT

    The Globe and Mail

    NEW YORK — An Andy Warhol painting sold for more than $71-million (U.S.), more than quadrupling the previous top auction price for the pop artist’s work, Christie’s auction house said.

    Wednesday’s auction of postwar and contemporary art took in a total of nearly $385-million, making it the second most lucrative art auction ever held, according to Christie’s.

    The Warhol painting, Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I), went for $71.7-million. The previous auction record for a Warhol work was $17.4-million, set when Mao sold at Christie’s in November, 2006, the auction house said.

    Green Car Crash, painted in 1963, is part of a series of Warhol works that drew on photographs of fatal accidents. Silkscreened over a green background, the work makes use of a news photograph of a grisly crash in Seattle. It had been in a private collection for decades, the auction house said.

  3. £15m for a Monet? The smart money’s on the new

    Jennifer Cunningham

    June 19 2007

    This evening, those with more than £15m to spare could splash out on one of the world’s greatest impressionist paintings. Claude Monet’s Nympheas, painted in 1904, is among the earliest in the artist’s waterlily series to focus almost entirely on the surface of the water.

    It is now regarded as a very influential work in the movement towards abstraction in the twentieth century – and is also, of course, luminously beautiful. The sale at Sotheby’s in London is generating enormous excitement, not least because the painting, one of the few Monets remaining in private collections, has not been seen in public since 1936.

    In this case – as with the other big names in the sale, including Matisse, Renoir, Modigliani, Toulouse-Lautrec and Picasso – bidders are putting their money on entirely bankable commodities, but would they have been as keen on Nympheas in 1904?

    The question arises in the wake of one of the contemporary art world’s cautionary tales. Damien Hirst, who hit the headlines as the new enfant terrible of British art in 1990, with A Thousand Years, a glass case containing maggots feeding on a dead cow’s head, went on to make hundreds of “spin paintings”, created by dribbling paint over a spinning canvas. The buyers who got out their chequebooks, emboldened by the knowledge that the collector Charles Saatchi was buying Hirst’s work, included the theatre director Sir Trevor Nunn, who reportedly paid £27,000 for one of the swirly paintings.

    However, in his new autobiography, the actor Keith Allen claims the painting was in fact created by Hirst’s two-year-old son along with Allen’s son, then 10. Sir Trevor has since said he sold the painting for a profit of some £20,000.

    The new owners may not see the joke. An art market with newly monied Chinese and Russian oligarchs out-bidding one another for trophy paintings is tempting old families that have been guarding their grand collections to sell choice pieces. The really smart thing to do, however, is to spot new talent and buy what may turn out to be iconic 21st-century works. The impoverished art-lover’s alternative to Sotheby’s and Christie’s summer sales is the degree show.

    A tour of Glasgow School of Art’s show yesterday revealed the usual mix of the beautiful and the bizarre, the technically accomplished and the iconoclastic. Identifying the original mind amid the youthful take on the world’s ills is challenging. Is that still true of Monet?


  4. Warhol and the art of making millions

    Lindsay Pollock, New York
    November 2, 2007

    THE exuberant New York art market enters an auction fray this month, when a record number of artworks will test its limits.

    A 1963 Andy Warhol portrait of a red-lipped Elizabeth Taylor, Liz, bought by Hugh Grant for $US3.6 million at Sotheby’s New York in 2001, returns to Christie’s International on November 13, tagged to sell for as much as $US35 million.

    Art trader Adam Lindemann’s shiny hot-pink Jeff Koons Hanging Heart (Magenta/Gold) is expected to reap up to $US20 million at Sotheby’s on November 14. Mr Lindemann hopes to sell the sculpture, completed just last year, for about five times what he paid Gagosian Gallery, two dealers said.

    These and other sellers at 11 auctions are offering 1892 impressionist, modern and contemporary works, projected to tally as much as $US2 billion. In May, similar sales totalled a record $US1.4 billion from 1804 lots.

    “There’s no restraint,” said Miami-based art adviser Lisa Austin. “In the financial market, you have analysts who hold things down based on earnings. Here it’s whatever the market will bear, without regard to who will be important in the long run.”

    Auction house executives urged collectors to sell now or face an uncertain future for Wall Street and the US economy.

    There are already signs of a pullback. At auctions held earlier this month in London, lesser works by Damien Hirst, Warhol and others went unsold.

    “If it’s not A-plus or it’s slightly pricey, people don’t feel the urgency,” said Christie’s senior contemporary art expert Laura Paulson.

    Naturally, most auction-house executives and dealers say they aren’t worried.

    “There is a very consistent sense of confidence in the art market,” said David Norman, head of Sotheby’s impressionist and modern-art department.

    As collectors hold increasing sway in an art market driven by conspicuous consumption rather than connoisseurship, artists seem to be courting billionaire collectors more than art critics.

    Artist Richard Prince, who has three works in the November evening sales, gave Christie’s owner and French billionaire Francois Pinault a personal tour around the Guggenheim show as reporters and critics watched from afar.


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