Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Picasso Baby or almost Olympic Records in the Art Market

Yesterday, November 12 2013, Christie's New York auction in Rockefeller Plaza has broken more than one record: the auction itself gathered unprecedented $691,5 mln in total sales of which  $142,4 mln. were paid for Francis Bacon's triptych, Three Studies of Lucian Freud (1969). This sale smashed previous record of the most expensive painting ever sold in public auction - Edvard Munch's The Scream (1985) which went for $119.9 mln. on May 2, 2012 on the competitor's auction. 

According to Former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Bacon was the “(that) man who paints 
those dreadful pictures”. This triptych depicts Bacon's friend and rival Freud and was sold almost twice as much as it was estimated by Christie's 

Edvard Munch's The Scream has several variations. 
This one is tempera and pastel on board (1893)
but very few of you probably know this painting 
called Despair, oil on canvas (1893-94) 

Meet Jeff Koons' 12 ft "Balloon Dog (Orange)" - the most expensive piece of art by a living artist sold on a public auction at a record $58,4 mnl. Jeff Koons made five variations of colored sculptures (red, orange, magenta, blue and yellow) aiming at reflecting "<..> joy of celebrating a birthday or a party." This theme has been well-marked appearing in many topnotch cultural and art sites such as  Grand Canal in Venice to the roof terrace of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Jeff Koon's 12 ft "Balloon Dog (Orange)" from 1994 "Celebration" series 
Gerhard Richter's Cathedral Square, Milan until 
yesterday was the most expensive painting of a living artist

Still, the unbeatable record is Paul Cézanne's The Card Players (1894-95) sold on April 2011 for $259 mln in private sales to the Royal Family of Qatar which earned Sheikha Al Mayassa the title of the most influential art persona of 2013 by the Art Newspaper because of her agency’s “vast purchasing power”George Embiricos, a Greek shipping magnate and former owner of the painting, made a good business by selling the only privately held piece in the same year of few big retrospective exhibitions of Paul Cézanne, including the one in Paris and Milan. 

The Card Players 1892–93. Oil on canvas, 97 × 130 cm

Cézanne have made numerous studies and five paintings of the theme which is very significant for art history and is a cornerstone in the artist's artistic career, a prelude to his most acclaimed works. 
The Card Players, 1892-95,Courtauld Institute, London 
The Card Players 1894–1895, Musée d'Orsay, Paris
The Card Players, 1890–92, Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Card Players, 1890–92, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Olympic Games' motto Citius - Altius - Fortius, the three words in Latin that mean Faster - Higher - Stronger, can be attributed to art world as well. Maybe the reason of sky-rocking prices can be explained by Nicolai Iljine's, an art consultant for the Guggenheim, phrase: “There is not much great art left on the market and there is a lot of competition to get it.”

If you are curious, the list of the most expensive art pieces ever sold (ca.50 items) in auctions include nine Picasso's and five Vincent van Gogh works, buyers apart from mostly American museums include Arab royals, quite a few hedge fund founders and businessmen, and ex-prime minister of Georgia, also a successful businessman. IMHO, Picasso is a Louis Vuitton of art world - or you crave it and adore (especially, the real luxury models), or you find it too mainstream like some of LV's model that made one of my consultant colleagues specializing in luxury say that LV is an "aspirational brand for secretaries" (no offense, plus, this colleague has so many leather goods  with LV monogram). Myself, I like a more figurative blue and pink periods of Piccaso and the time of his collaboration with Braque. 

Coming back to aspirational point of art, I want to finish the post with famous rapper Jay-Z's recent song Picasso Baby

"I just want a Picasso in my casa, no, my castle
I'm a hassa, no, I'm an asshole
I'm never satisfied, can't knock my hustle
I wanna Rothko, no, I want a brothel
No, I want a wife that fuck me like a prostitute
Let's make love on a million
In a dirty hotel with the fan on the ceiling
All for the love of drug dealing
Marble floors, gold ceilings
Oh, what a feeling, fuck it, I want a billion
Jeff Koons balloons, I just wanna blow up
Condos in my condos, I wanna row of
Christie's with my missy, live at the MoMA
Bacons and turkey bacons, smell the aroma"

If you want to read more about this, I suggest to check out SF MOMA's blog post.

If you love rankings, then check out the top 20 most expensive contemporary art auction prices list of 2013 compiled by Blouin Artinfo

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