Ah, Ravels in Review

My fingers are relieved to take a bit of a break this week (perhaps you’re relieved not to be presented with a long, involved post ; ) . I’ve gotten into some topics I find super interesting.

We kicked off the week with a proposal against taking photographs of artwork in museums, which got some agreement, certainly some disagreement, and a lot of mixed feelings. It stuck in my mind, and I revised my opinion to allow that instead of being evil and stupid is was perhaps a sign of engagement with an artwork.

We played a game matching the artwork to its auction house estimate. Nobody won, so I’m keeping the $1M prize. In fact, even the auction houses didn’t win; they still have their two biggest works by Picasso and Giacometti.

I had the pleasure of seeing the musical South Pacific at Lincoln Center, and then having the song Honey Bun in my head for the whole week.

In fact, that annoying song is probably why I got a little contentious in my post on the Affordable Art Fair, contributing to my backhanded praise of the store Urban Outfitters for so cleverly following the pluralistic trends evident at the fair.

And my personal pick of the week was on the use of writing in painting, especially as it evolved during Modernism. Anyways, thanks for a fun week guys, and have a good weekend!

Addendum: On Sale this Spring For What?

Well, dear reader, the auction results from our little game of match the estimate to the artwork are in. Sotheby’s had a terrible night on Tuesday, not selling some of its bigger works. To add insult to injury, Christies had a pretty good night on Wednesday selling the same artists.

Sotheby’s couldn’t sell its Picasso (estimated at $16-24M) or its Giacometti at the Impressionist and Modern auction. Giacommetti’s The Cat ($16-24M) at Sotheby’s went nowhere, even though the next night at Christies Giacometti’s “Bust of Diego (Stele III)” sold for more than its high estimate of $6.5 million.

On the other hand, Sotehby’s Monet sold for well over its estimate. Six bidders fought for “Sailboat on the River Seine, Argenteuil” that was originally estimated to fetch $1.2-1.8M. It was purchased for $3.4M.

On sale this Spring for what?

Let’s play a game, shall we? The New York Times highlighted some quality works coming up for auction that have a newly-lowered price tag. I thought we’d play a little game to see how our own values line up with art world estimates.

Here’s the game: match the artwork with its estimate.

The Prices, in no particular order:
1. 1.2 to 1.8 M; 2. 3.5 to 4.5 M; 3. 16 to 24 M; 4. 1.2 to 1.8 M; 5. 6 to 8 M; 6. 6 to 8 M

The Artworks:

A. Giacommetti’s The Cat

B. Monet’s Sailboat on the River Seine, Argenteuil

C. Martin Kippenberger’s Untitled Self-Portrait

D. Jeff Koon’s Baroque Egg With Bow (Turquoise/Magenta)

E. Tamara de Lempicka’s Portrait of Madame M.

F. Alexander Calder’s Untitled Wall Relief

The answers are listed below. Auction houses consider Impressionist and Modern works to be the most stable purchases. These choices certainly cover many tastes. Does a Monet now cost more than a Jeff Koons? Are any of these estimates more than guesses (16 to 24M is a wide range…)?

These sales begin today at the big auction houses, so if you have disposable income in the range of 1M plus, maybe you should check out these newly-minted bargains. For the rest of us, I’ve got my thinking cap on for how we might get a little art on the walls. Cheers!

Answers: 1 & 4 at 1.2 to 1.8M are B and F, 2 at 3.5 to 4.5M is C, 3 at 16 to 24M is A, 5 & 6 at 6 to 8M are D and E.

*See the addendum for auction results. (May 7)