centerlogobigAAD logo


We begin with a history lesson that started twenty-eight years ago with a now famous, or infamous depending on your point of view, price paid for an oil on canvas painting at auction. The sale in question was the US$53.9 million dollar price paid for Vincent Van Gogh’s “Irises” in 1987. The Australian Alan Bond purchased the “Irises” [28 inches x 36.625 inches] and although he never actually took possession of the painting, the sale was historically significant for another reason. Someone determined that the sale price was an incredible $52,559.26 per square inch.

irises S

'Irises' by Vincent van Gogh (Image PD) 

Then only a few months ago the Los Angeles Times headline reported that the Getty breaks record with $65.1-million purchase of Édouard Manet's 'Spring'.


Edouard Manet's 'Spring' 
Image :: Christie's Press Department

As reported by CRAIG NAKANO in the November 5, 2014, issue of the Los Angeles Times. “The J. Paul Getty Museum paid more than US$65 million for an Édouard Manet painting at Christie’s auction Wednesday evening in New York City The painting shattered the record price for the French artist's work and became what the museum said would be one of the top five paintings in its collection.” “Manet completed the painting in 1881, two years before his death. The painting portrays actress Jeanne Demarsy in a flowered dress, bonnet, parasol and full length gloves. The paintings first public showing was at the 1882 Paris Salon. “Spring” measures 29 inches by 20 inches. That puts the Monet purchase price at US$112,284.48 per square inch, another record.” The new $300+ million dollar world record price for a privately sold painting goes to When Will You Marry? (Nafea faa ipoipo?), a 40 x 30 inch oil painting dated 1892 when the French Post-Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin was in Tahiti. The painting also breaks another recently broken world record, the price per square inch. Simple math tells us that the Gauguin painting sold for a staggering US$250,000 per square inch.


Paul Gauguin's 'When will you marry?' (Nafea Faa Ipoipo?)
Dates to 1892 (Image PD)

Bonus Fact: This story has two significant added connections: First, the J. Paul Getty Museum of Art now owns both the Van Gogh painting and the Monet painting. And second, in 1987 the $52,559 PSI for the ‘Irises’ was the equivalent price for a top of the line BMW. By comparison, in 2014 the $112,284 PSI for the Monet is again the equivalent price for a top of the line BMW. But to find a $250,000 BMW you have to either buy a ‘classic’ old school BMW, or the BMW powered MF5 Black Bat that is draped in vinyl and sports a matte black finish.

blackbatWiesmann Black Bat, powered by BMW
Paul Gauguin's 'When will you marry?' equates to approximately 1200 of these bad boys...

Screen Shot 2015 11 14 at 20.15.56

You may also like to read:

* A Little Bit of History & Controversy, Goes a Long Way

* When I’m Wrong I Admit I’m Wrong

* Over The Top At $112,284.00 Per Square Inch?

* Damon Johnson, Graffiti Artist

* Supermarket of Swag Revealed at Last: The Stasi Warehouse at Mühlenbeck

About the Author

Lawrence Klepper

Lawrence Klepper

As an artist, Gallery Management Instructor, Gallery Director, Independent Curator, and Special Exhibitions Coordinator for City art museums, college art galleries, and commercial galleries in Califor...