In practical terms that the art market understands ~ auction prices have become divorced from every day reality. When the market announces a major sale of over $100 million dollars, the average Joe cannot accept nor understand the drive and desire to spent that kind of money on a piece of painted cloth.
The recent $180.6 million sale price for two Rembrandts, half from the Rijksmuseum and the other half from the Louvre, set the stage. The next sale was a Modigliani that the Wall Street Journal coped an attitude on, and announced that it would not make or break $100 million. When all was said and done the painting of an exquisite reclining female brought a bid of $180 million dollars, followed shortly thereafter the Rothko that opened the week with a sale at 46.5 million and a later Rothko sold for 86 million. Art experts maintain that the money is divorced from the reality of the physical work. Is it an artists revolt or a market rebellion?
But for most people who buy and invest in stratified art works, it's not a decision that they calculate based on price. Even as the intellectual discussion has turned in that direction more than once recently with surveys of price comparisons between stable, mature artists with provenance and marketable provenience; and contemporary works with an air and quality history to present and to project.
At this level the rarefied air is compressed and sustained, as it's more about the emotional draw, the recognition of the date, the piece and its place in history.
Art works with affluent prices become an identifiable brand, and a brand is a recognized attitude of acceptance and willingness to spend the megabucks to establish the pedigree of the thoroughbreds of the art world at this moment with reflection.
Art auctions have become good conversations in the morning, over coffee and scones from Chez Papa; a shared dialog that enriches the day early on the boulevard next to the new car parking lot. The cars eventually get sold, some with classic lines from royal times and attitudes, some the standard model without the gimmicks. At dusk the tempo becomes at one with a beat. We dance under the orders to play and to deliver.
In the aftermath the white shirts and paisley ties will assess the two days of open art sales and declare them to be the most successful event of the month.
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