Thursday, 25 October 2007
On the news last night, they had a story about a woman who found a painting in the rubbish (what was she doing looking in the first place?!?), and rescued it minutes before the dustcart came to empty the bins. What she had found was a lost example of Latin American abstract art, which is expected to fetch $1 million at auction.
Now, personally, I wouldn't pay $1000 for it, but that's just me. I can see that it might have merit if you know what to look for (I don't). And of course, the guy's dead, which also makes the work more valuable.
What I really find interesting is the fact that people will pay $1 million for a painting in the first place. You can get an original in almost any style by a professional artist for a few hundreds or thousands. It's not the material or the labour that you're paying more for, it's the connection with the particular famous artist who painted it.
Tracey Emin's bed fetched $300,000. They could have mine for $200,000. It's not got the funny stains or used condoms, but at that price I'm sure I could find (hire?) someone to help me with that...
I would draw the line, though, at this. If you read the article carefully, you'll see that the gallery spokesman describes it as a "seminal" work. Wrong end, surely?
I don't care how much money I could make. Except, of course that no-one would pay for mine. It's not as "valuable". But why?
Which brings me to the pictured work. This is a prime example of the juxtaposition of figurative and Picassoesque traditions (look at the positioning of the nose, for example), and the masterful use of light and shade to draw a subject who's life's work could be summed up in those very words, is simply breathtaking.
It's also the only existing work by this particular artist (unless anyone's been going through my rubbish). So surely it's worth something? I mean it's crap, but you'd rather have this than one of Manzoni's tins, right?
Anyway, I'll sell it to the highest bidder...