What price for a painting...?


(Helen Wright) #21

I loved your response and will look for that book…I was just wondering if you had ever come across the Turner prize at the Tate gallery in uk…???

It was maybe one of the first times some years back that I thought to myself that seriously how on Earth can this be considered art…???

unmade bed and a pickled cow and her calf cut in half…

I think Hockney displayed a private collection there a couple of years back maybe last year…


(Mary Wolcott) #22

Helen, I know already that I would love to meet you and talk with you… That said, let me just say that you are mixing apples and oranges. One’s subjective judgment of just one work of art, can come out just as you have described. Yours is a subjective judgment of the items you recognize in the painting which, for the life of you it seems, you cannot fathom why valuable to place on a canvas or whatever, and frame it.

That’s what I was intimating. While it may sound hoity-toity to suggest, you really do want to know a bit more about the artist, and try to get some idea of what it’s like to be an incredible genius artist. In a world where so few things are simple - yet are passed off as simplistic and with something akin to “I could have thought/done/made that” please look a bit further and do read that book. And, others, too, if you have time, that are about the life of an artist, or the artworld in general. I do think Tomkins is one of the most accessible authors on art topics, so his works (and Merchants and Masterpieces is one of several authored by him) are perhaps good to start with.

There is so much more to that Hockney painting, than just the brushstrokes/composition/choice of subject. While it’s important to have a visceral reaction, such as you have described, to an artwork, it’s also incredibly important to realize how much brainpower and sheer talent goes into artwork.

It’s a far greyer world than you suggest. And you look a bit foolish, dear (hope-to-be) friend, saying things as baldly as that. While it may seem fun and be a bit of a tickle to describe things so glibly, it’s going to be so much more richly rewarding to you if you might dig a bit deeper and read more about Hockney or whatever paintings/art works you are mentioning. My suggestion: say those things you’ve stated, internally, keep them in your head (I do the same at first). Then, get to know more. It’s almost like those glib statements that I have and you have, are a huge overt out-and-out invitation (if not a demand, to my brain’s way of seeing it) to FIND OUT A LOT MORE before I speak or think any further on it. It’s like I say, okay, I know it’s a cow and a nude woman and whatnot… But I’m not going to do the Emperor’s Clothes thing with a serious art piece. I save the Emperor’s Clothes thing for clowns like… say, Trump. :wink:

But then again, this topic is about how to price a painting and as Tim states, $80 mil is obscene. Yeah. Man, what I could do with $80 mil. But then again, what I could do with… $1 mil. I dunno about stating the sale of it for $80 mil as obscene. I just don’t but maybe Tim does. So, I’ll be quiet about that in favor of saying that the world is complex and just wondering who would pay that much… But only in the ‘wonderment’ sort of wondering way. If that makes sense. I am, after all, a big fan of having artists finally recognized for having value and I guess this is one way that recognition is visible… The best thing about it, is the visibility it gives an artist, David Hockney. There’s so much more to discuss, like why art is stuck so often in art galleries/museums and is not in the public (though Banksy’s work is priceless in the best sense, and isn’t stuck in art museums/galleries). And, so much to discuss about why artwork makes news when its sale price at auction reaches such heights. Why only now, when the subject matter and the artist, to my mind, have so many other fascinating aspects?


(Helen Wright) #23

I love banksey too…where I used to live graffiti was instantly recognisable as either mindless vandalism or in many cases a work of art and my own and many’s recognition of budding new artists…

I think my own visceral response to the painting at auction most likely has to do with it depicting a swimming pool having looked at the really disturbing art collections of the Podestas amongst others…children hanging and beaten and in swimming pools some obviously dead …I can’t contemplate the minds that would avidly collect those sorts of paintings/drawings…???

and then also Marina Abromovic and her enthusiasts…


(Mary Wolcott) #24

My stepfather’s carpentry workshop was housed in one-half of the garage. Years and years ago, he lost two of his fingers while sawing something in there. He walked out of the garage holding his mangled hand and my mom never forgot the image.

One day about a decade ago, I was sitting, holding a dead mouse that had been killed by a puncture wound from something in the garage. I was sitting by the garage door, holding it, when mom drove up in her pickup truck and as she neared the garage to park her truck she spied me quietly holding the mouse in her hand and had a visceral reaction perhaps similar to yours, in that she recalled the scene with her husband and attributed it for some reason to what she was seeing when spying me sitting there quietly holding and mourning a dead fieldmouse.

Nothing similar at all. Made no sense. Sometimes, ridiculous precedence wherein perhaps someone got sympathy or empathetic or compassionate response to something where someone was comparing apples to oranges, sparked this notion that it’s acceptable to repeat such. But, I say it’s addictive, like a habit in which one sparks the endorphins illogically.

There’re plenty of ways to spark endorphins and get that feeling to surge, but perhaps one could use a bit of selectivity. One could, conceivably, reap an even greater, richer spark of endorphins if one mines a bit more information and realizes the depth and complexity rather than the surface judgment and reactivity. The ‘high’ if you will, from experiencing something at a deeper level, lasts longer and has a greater impact - easier to recall and bring back the feeling, next time. If that makes sense. :sunny:


(Helen Wright) #25

I get that Mary…we no doubt all have memories indelibly marked as if there had been a camera there to take the photo…screenshots frozen in time that stay with us before any of us ever knew what a screenshot was…

I would hope that he isn’t linked in any way to the horrors of child trafficking and child abuse…and the collections of “art” that I’m talking about and am so repulsed by…

If I had that many dollars or euros or whatever hanging around spare then I’d probably not be sitting in on the auction…I’d be thinking what can I do with my superfluous millions that may make a difference to my local community…,

Be interesting to see who the buyer is…??? x :slight_smile:

With love…:heart:


(Chris Kite) #26

(Mark Robbins) #27

Genius :sunglasses:


(Sandy Hewlett) #28

hmm, there’s a suggestion that the original picture rolled up inside the frame and another dropped down … someone on Twitter shows that the angle between the two pictures is wrong and also there’s too much distance between the head and body. I don’t know. But it raises an interesting point … does the buyer have to complete his purchase since the painting was destroyed whilst in Sotheby’s custody? Or, better, has the painting now quadrupled in value due to this unique Banksy stunt! Either way, like Mark said, genius.


(Mark Haywood) #29

I’m sorry, but these sort of debates tend not to be grounded in any understanding of modernist or contemporary art, nor of the mechanism of international art market/s (there’s more than one - for instance look at contemporary Chinese painting) where the art which commands the highest prices may be solely an investment and never actually viewed.

Whatever someone pays for an artwork in an international auction has nothing do do with ‘artistic merit’ (whatever that means), or its enduring historical significance. This assertion can be easily substantiated by looking at record auction prices for previous centuries and how they fared subsequently (eg. Landseer). Instead future generations will most value those artworks of our time which (rightly or wrongly) are the most readily perceived to be the most representative of our time. For instance, I doubt that Jeff Koons’ will cease to be a sound investment, regardless of how one might view his contemporary ‘kitsch’ subject matter.

People sometimes get very emotive about art and money in a way which is less common with footballers’ transfer fees,.but I’d suggest that €100,000,000 on a painting in that price range is probably a better punt than on footballer (eg CR7) whose value might suddenly plummet.

I don’t expect everyone to agree with the above, but as a practitioner I’ve been involved in the international contemporary art scene for several decades,.was a professor in charge of a university art school and published a lot of material on contemporary and historical aspects of art.

From this perspective, I’m continually amazed by why so many posters (who don’t ‘live’ in art) feel so strongly about its manifestations, despite having so little practical or theoretical understanding of the subject. upon which they are opining/


(Mark Robbins) #30

Everyone is allowed an opinion, be it on art, or, for example what cheese is best. You may well be an “expert”, doesn’t give you to right to say whether others opinions of “art” is right or wrong though. FWIW, I reckon Banksy has just given you so called “experts” a good kick in the balls.


(Ann Coe) #31

“From this perspective, I’m continually amazed by why so many posters (who don’t ‘live’ in art) feel so strongly about its manifestations, despite having so little practical or theoretical understanding of the subject. upon which they are opining/”

Maybe because some of us live in the real world and do not ‘live in art’
I consider myself an artist without any pretensions. I am amazed by all the BS that surrounds this subject. I remember many years ago an artist exhibiting some of his works and receiving much praise from the critics, only to reveal that in fact the work was by his 3 year old son !


(Paul Flinders) #32

If I were being cynical (far from it :wink:) you seem to be saying that any old crap is fine as long as the punters can be conned into thinking that it is good art, or at any rate a good investment.

As long as everyone buys into the idea that the emperors new clothes are cut from the finest cloth everything will be OK.

Up to a point I get what you are saying - if buying art as an investment then one should be dispassionate about the work - cold and untouched by it even - and view the transaction in purely business terms.

But does that not demean the art itself?

And you won’t change my view that, with so many better ways of spending $80 million that to do so for a few daubs of colour on a canvas - however skilfully and pleasingly placed - is obscene.


(Helen Wright) #33

I have that picture on a fluffy blanket…I love it…x :slight_smile:


(Helen Wright) #34

I came across Barnett Newman today…(have no idea why except maybe because I love Banksy and am following this story) …Newman’s work also sells for millions of dollars and to my eye it’s just crap…! I’ll take full responsibility and whatever flak might come my way from saying that but ffs it’s just not art…x :slight_smile:


(Paul Flinders) #35

I don’t think I’d go so far as to call it crap, minimalist pure abstraction perhaps and I might even go so far as to say he abstracted any art right out of his work but it isn’t actually displeasing to look at.


(Helen Wright) #36

Last sold for almost $44 million usd…


(Ann Coe) #37

I can paint you a really good copy for 44 euros Helen :rofl:


(Chris Kite) #38

This is what Sotheby’s had to say…

Onement VI by Barnett Newman overwhelms and seduces the viewer with the totality of its sensual, cascading washes of vibrant blue coexisting with Newman’s vertical “Sign” of the human presence, his iconic and revolutionary “zip.” As a portal to the sublime, the limitless realm of sumptuous color envelops the viewer and brings life to Newman’s assertion that his monumental canvases be experienced up close rather than from a distance. The demarcation of the zip, in its placement, form and complementary hue of light blue, serves both a temporal and spatial purpose in the expansive and personalized experience of this masterpiece of Newman’s aesthetic.

Took the words right out of my mouth🤣


(Ann Coe) #39

I think a touch of verbal diarrhea on the part of Sothebys there, what an absolute load of BS ! :scream:


(Paul Flinders) #40

I’m with Ann on this one - while I would happily hang this work in our living room £/$/€ 44 seems rather more in the realms of what I would be willing to part with than 44 million.

But as the good Dr Haywood says - the artistic “merit” has little to do with the cachet and the price.