Would You Pay $95.2 Million for this Painting?

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picasso.jpg

Somebody did, just last night at Sotheby's. Details:

"Dora Maar au chat," which depicts Picasso's mistress, went to an anonymous buyer in the room who was competing with telephone bidders during Wednesday's auction.

Its selling price ranked second only to another Picasso piece, "Garcon a la pipe," which sold at Sotheby's for more than $104 million in May 2004, the auction house said.

Whole story via MSNBC here.

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  1. Well, if I follow the reasoning used on the American Idol thread a few days ago, it must be crap, because its worth a lot of money.

  2. I am not sure I would ever be drunk enough to find that painting appealling?

  3. Wow! That’s a really, really, really good painting! She’s so pretty!!

    I’m guessing it’ll be worth a lot more in a few years so probably a good investment.

    Still, if I had that much money I’d probably just spend it on top quality hookers and coke. That way, my life would be my art.

  4. Put a cat in the picture and the price doubles–it’s an old trick!

  5. R.C.: No one in that thread claimed anything even remotely like “it must be crap because it’s worth a lot of money.” Some people did suggest that something must be good if it’s worth a lot of money, but obviously that’s not the same thing.

  6. Some people did suggest that something must be good if it’s worth a lot of money, but obviously that’s not the same thing.

    By that reasoning, nukes are sweet. Full stop.

  7. By that reasoning, nukes are sweet. Full stop.

    …. they aren’t?

  8. No one in that thread claimed anything even remotely like “it must be crap because it’s worth a lot of money.”

    I know, I know. It was actually a pretty thoughtful thread.

    I was channelling more the music nerd/snob phenomenon, where the only things aren’t crap are obscure bands that no one is heard of, which somehow turn into crap the instant they get popular.

  9. well, that part is totally true.

  10. Picasso painted this when he was about 14:
    http://www.nga.gov/images/noncol/fisherfs.htm

    Youth is wasted on the young.

  11. I wouldn’t pay that kind of money for a painting if it were a self-portrait of God! Unless, of course, I knew for sure that I could sell it for more than I paid. (sigh) I guess I’m just a philistine.

  12. I was channelling more the music nerd/snob phenomenon, where the only things aren’t crap are obscure bands that no one is heard of, which somehow turn into crap the instant they get popular

    Aaaawww man I HATE those guys. I tried to chat a girl up in a bar once and she was just moaning about any band that wasn’t a fusion of ‘electro-dub with a contemorary urban impulse but at the same time urgent and somehow whimsical’.

    Idiot.

    So I went home, stuck on my ‘Best of Frank Sinatra’ and cranked one off.

    Sometimes it’s the only way of dealing with a situation.

  13. This proves I desparately need a life, but the Blowhards had a really interesting post a few days ago about how the writer didn’t like Picasso. I can’t link to it, having no HTML skills. (I promise to learn. I don’t want to continue being a jerk.) It should still be in their archive.

    I had a poster in college of both of the Picasso paintings I like: The Guitar Player and the charcoal sillouette of Don Quixote. Everything else he did seems to me to be deliberately ugly. (RC, I agree with you on the “it’s only good if noone else likes it or understands it” sort of snobbery. With modern and contemporary pictures I subscribe to the redneck principal that only pictures of objects I recognize are any good. I am not at all being sarcastic, either.)

  14. Imaginary friend – Dutchess!

  15. It’s simple economics. Almost all Picasso paintings are held by museums who would surely NEVER sell them on the open market. It’s an easy case of demand FAR, FAR outstripping supply.

    Quibble with the aesthetics all you want, but the economics should come as no surprise.

  16. Damn, girl! If that’s what his mistress looked like, I don’t want to see a picture of his wife

  17. The point isn’t whether I’d pay that much money, the point is that I’m free to do so (or not) if I feel like it (or not).

    Any other answer requires the thought processes of a central planner.

  18. “I tried to chat a girl up in a bar once and she was just moaning about any band that wasn’t a fusion of ‘electro-dub with a contemorary urban impulse but at the same time urgent and somehow whimsical’.

    Idiot.

    So I went home, stuck on my ‘Best of Frank Sinatra’ and cranked one off.”

    !!!!!!!!

    “…a fusion of ‘electro-dub with a contemorary urban impulse but at the same time urgent and somehow whimsical’.”

    Wow- I hope you took her up to the roof and pushed her off before you left.

  19. OK, true story:

    Back in the mid-80s, I was working in an art museum. Came the day when a Japanese insurance company bought Van Gogh’s Sunflowers at auction for a record $40 million. I overheard two curators discussing the sale, and one of them (the curator for 20th-century art, very distinguished in the field) said, “I wouldn’t pay forty million dollars for any work of art!”

    (That’s about $71 million in 2005 dollars.)

  20. Here’s the 2Blowhards thread Karen was mentioning.

    Yeah, I know HTML – How To Meet Ladies that is.

  21. Looks like a nice compact Castello or L’anatra. Probably rusticated. Throw some Mastro Venezia blend in there and you’re all set.

    Nice work, Garcon.

  22. OT, but . . . the popularity of the Blowhards has long puzzled me. Their posts have always struck me as the kind of thing newspaper columnists write to fill space in a slow week.

  23. She shows up better on film than on canvas: facial; pectoral; dorsal.

    I was under the impression Modernist art had massively collapsed in value in 2001, but either I was wrong or it’s picked up quite a bit since then.

  24. Tim, it just goes to show that even a weird looking dude can score with a good looking lady if he knows how to play the “I’m an artist?” card.

  25. Well, I’m inspired.

    There’s a hot passage in Pete Hamills’ A Drinking Life where he describes the beginning of his affair with an art model.

  26. BTW — what happened to the Atlas Shrugged thread that got started late yesterday afternoon? I posted a thoughtful, provocative comment, and then the whole thread just disappeared.

  27. It only takes one person to decide that this painting was worth 95 million dollars. That’s how the free market works, but I don’t need to tell that to anyone here.

    Oh, and metalgrid… nice call with the Foster’s reference? Always nice to get a Tartakovsky shout-out from someone once in a while.

  28. “!”, not “?” I’m quite sure I approved of metalgrid’s comment. 🙂

  29. I keeping thinking of that old expression “More money than brains.”

  30. jp,

    All threads drop off the main page after about a week or so. You have to click on ‘More Hit And Run’ at the botton to find the old threads.

    Anyway, the Atlas Shrugged thread is here:

    Atlas Shrugged Thread

  31. Ah, need to work on the reading comprehension. You said yesterday afternoon. I didn’t even know there was one up yesterday afternoon.

  32. Thanks for the link, but yeah, there was a separate one yesterday (Wednesday). At least two comments were made before it went poof.

  33. it just proves that many New Yorker’s are both

    1) Morons

    2) Extremely Wealthy

    I know a guy who bought a cows head in an aquarium for a quarter million, tried to have a discussion about it but had nothing insightful to say.

  34. I wouldn’t pay that much, but I might buy a print; I kind of like it.

  35. Yes, New Yorker’s are good for nothing but riding in cab’s and subway’s to see show’s up on Time’s’ Squ’are.

  36. Ya can say what you want about the painting, but

    Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole

  37. Only a fool woundn’t buy it for $95M given that in a year or two, they could very easily sell it for $130M.

  38. Damn, girl! If that’s what his mistress looked like, I don’t want to see a picture of his wife…

    Ha, ha! True dat, peachy!

    I don’t like the artwork, so no, I wouldn’t buy it. I think Picasso is way overrated, and I intend to skip the Picasso museum when I visit Paris in a week.

    (p.s. Pablo Picasso is an asshole…take that, Jonathan Richman).

  39. Only a fool woundn’t buy it for $95M given that in a year or two, they could very easily sell it for $130M.

    Art collecting: The ultimate pyramid scheme

  40. Picasso painted this when he was about 14

    Dude had a mistress when he was only 14? Surely he was The Man.

  41. Not a pyramid scheme, but the Greater Fool Theory of Investing. And I think pro sports franchises still reign supreme in that category…

  42. I like the existential restlessness of the work. The emotional color of the work is also near sublime – both inviting and castigating. Of course in the context of his other Maar paintings it makes an interesting contrast to them.

    emmajane,

    Picasso often referred to Maar as an “afghan cat.”

  43. I dunno Sports Franchises seem like a pretty good investment to me. You get;

    1) Natural Monopoly

    2) Fixed costs (Salary cap)

    3) Large Public Subsidies (to help build stadiums, etc…)

    These comments only reflect the top 3 major US sports (Baseball, basketball, football). Minor League baseball, WNBA, and others seem to be money losers.

  44. Pay? No. Sell: HELL YEAH!

  45. BTW — what happened to the Atlas Shrugged thread that got started late yesterday afternoon? I posted a thoughtful, provocative comment, and then the whole thread just disappeared.

    Comment by: jp at May 4, 2006 12:34 PM

    Who is John Galt? 🙂

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