Picasso paintings, anti-colonialism, speculators’ big money

This video says about itself:

Guernica (Picasso)

1 May 2011

Check out this antiwar mural by Pablo Picasso commemorating the bombing of Guernica.

Pablo Picasso‘s Guernica is well-known as a work of art against war and oppression.

A bit less known, because of Cold War politics, is a similar, later, painting, Massacre in Korea.

This video is about the Jeju Massacre.

This 2019 music video says about itself:

Piano Improvisation No. VIII ~ “Massacre in Korea” ~{An Interpretation of Picasso}~ was composed and recorded by Richard J. Panizza.


All rights reserved.

Another video which used to be on YouTube was called Matt L. Thush W. discuss Picasso’s Massacre in Korea and Goya‘s Third of May.

A few years after the Korean war, Picasso started a series of paintings connected to the French colonial war in Algeria.

From Tate in Britain:

Picasso’s series The Women of Algiers was started within a month of the Nationalist uprising in Algeria in 1954 which lead to the eight-year long Algerian War of Independence.

France’s history and politics in the post-war period was closely tied up with its relationship with its colonies and their bid for independence. In the midst of these events Picasso made the link with Eugène Delacroix’s The Women of Algiers 1834. His dialogue with Delacroix can be traced back to a number of early drawings from 1940 and the famous ‘Louvre’ test of 1946 in which Picasso directly juxtaposed his work with masterpieces in the museum. Picasso would have been drawn to Delacroix’s idea of the authenticity of antiquity in North Africa and to the relationship of Spanish culture to the period of Moorish domination.

The colours of Algeria were a great influence on Delacroix. Picasso explores colour throughout his series of paintings after Delacroix, also producing one monochrome version. Picasso also appreciated the patterning in a tiled interior, which can be seen as a continuation of his concern with handicraft and folk embroideries from Eastern Europe. Picasso’s sympathies remained with those who were deprived of their freedom or subjected to repression and torture.

Today, one painting of Picasso’s series The Women of Algiers is big news in the big media. However, the news is mainly not about war, repression, or torture; but about big money.

This 1 April 2015 video says about itself:

Picasso’s masterpiece Les Femmes d’ Alger to go for auctions.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Pablo Picasso‘s Women of Algiers sells for $179m to set new world auction record

Auction was held in New York by Christie’s

Andrew Buncombe, New York

Tuesday 12 May 2015

How much would someone pay for a brightly hued painting of a woman revealing her breasts set against a jumble of Cubist angles and shapes? If it was the work of Pablo Picasso, a quiet $179,365,000.

In truth, there was nothing quiet about the auction of the Women of Algiers (Version O) in New York on Monday evening, nor of the anticipation prior to its sale that it would set a new world record.

Indeed, when news broke that bidding at Christie’s had passed the $142.4m paid out two years ago for Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud, it appears that nobody was particularly surprised.

The sale also featured Alberto Giacometti’s life-size sculpture Pointing Man, which sold for $141m, earning it the title of most expensive sculpture ever sold at auction. The buyers of neither of the works were immediately made public.

The Associated Press said Women of Algiers, once owned by the American collectors Victor and Sally Ganz, was inspired by Picasso’s fascination with the 19th-century French artist Eugene Delacroix.

It was part of a 15-work series Picasso created in 1954-55 designated with the letters A through O. It has appeared in several major museum retrospectives of the artist.

Last year, Christie’s said its global sales of impressionist and modern art were $1.2bn, an increase of 19 per cent over the previous year.

Experts said the prices are driven by artworks’ investment value and by wealthy new and established collectors seeking out the very best works.

“I don’t really see an end to it, unless interest rates drop sharply, which I don’t see happening in the near future,” New York art dealer Richard Feigen told the news agency.

Adapted from an earlier blog post:

Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad of 6 May 2004 published a Top 10 of most expensive works of art. Paintings, all of them.

The most expensive one of all, by Pablo Picasso, was sold for 104,1 million $.

In the Top 10 are 4 works by Pablo Picasso. An artist with far more luck than many others, in that appreciation already came during his lifetime.

So, compared to the overwhelming majority of artists, he was able to live well from his art. Still, he was much less of a millionaire than the speculators dealing in his work after his death. Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is widely seen as one of the most influential paintings, maybe even the most influential painting, of the twentieth century. Yet its maker got only 25,000 French francs for it, from a wealthy fashion designer. In 1937, The Museum of Modern Art in New York bought it for 28,000 dollars. While if some art dealer would sell the painting today, he would sell it for tens of millions of dollars, or more.

Mondrian Sells for $50.6 M., a New Record, at Christie’s $202.6 M. Impressionist-Modern Sale: here.

9 thoughts on “Picasso paintings, anti-colonialism, speculators’ big money

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