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The World of Art Big Prices, Big Risks Art For Sale The 3 Ds Debt Divorce Death Restitution Art in museums returned to owners from whom they were stolen Nazis Auction at Christie’s NY November 2006 Issues

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The World of Art

Big Prices, Big Risks


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Art For Sale

  • The 3 Ds

    • Debt

    • Divorce

    • Death

  • Restitution

    • Art in museums returned to owners from whom they were stolen

      • Nazis



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Issues

  • Guarantees: “undisclosed minimum sums that are paid [to the sellers] regardless of a sale’s outcome”

    • Protect sellers

    • Risky for auction houses

      • Possibility of losing millions

      • Warehouses full of unsold art

  • Hedge fund billionaires

  • Financiers (Asia, Russia and India)


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Contested Art Pulled from Auction

  • Picasso’s “Portrait of Angel Fernandez do Soto

  • Owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation

  • Claimed by Julius H. Schoeps

    • Great- uncle ‘forced sale’ after Nazis devastated his personal fortune

  • Federal court in Manhattan ruled it did not have jurisdiction to decide on the merits of the dispute



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Auction at Christies NY

  • Monet’s “The Railroad Bridge at Argenteuil” sells at a record $41.4 million


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Auction at Christie’s LondonJune 2008

  • Monet’s “Le Bassin aux Nymphéas” sells for a new record $80.4 million


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Private Sales

  • David Greffen--$283.5 million

    • Jasper Johns

    • De Kooning

    • Pollock



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Duccio’s “Madonna and Child”

  • Acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY) in 2004 for $45 million

  • Thought to have been painted around 1300


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Stylistic Approach

  • James Beck (Columbia University Art Historian)

    • Jesus’ “goard-like head is hardly rewarding and is quite at odds with confirmed and documented paintings by Duccio”

    • “Parapet in the forefront of the painting is inconsistent with Duccio’s style and did not surface in Renaissance art until around 1400 or 1450”

    • Has studied the painting hanging at the Met, but has not asked to examine it


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Stylistic/Scientific Authentication

  • Keith Christiansen (curator of European painting at the Met)

    • Duccio scholars accept

    • X-ray and infrared reflectography

    • Comparison with the Frick’s “Temptation of Christ on the Mountain”

  • Luciano Bellosi (Duccio scholar at the University of Siena)

    • Comparison with the Duccio’s “Maestà” altarpiece in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in Siena

    • Parapet testifies to the relation between “the young Duccio and the young Giotto, who both worked in the workshop of Cimabue”



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Alex Matter

  • Matter’s mother and father were artists and friends of Pollock’s

  • Found a group of small drip paintings in a storage locker in Wainscott NY


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Controversies in Scientific Authentication

  • Richard Taylor (Assoc. Prof. of Physics at the University of Oregon)

    • Fractals (“regularities that recur on increasingly finer magnification”) are different in the drip paintings and paintings known to be Pollocks

  • Catherine Jones-Smith (Ph.D. candidate) and Harsh Mathur (Assoc. Prof. of Physics at Case Western)

    • Made drawings using Adobe Photoshop that had the same fractal characteristics as Pollock’s paintings


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Terri Horton

  • Bought a large painting in a thrift shop in CA for $5

  • Buyer offered $9 million

  • Rejection by connoisseurs

  • Canadian restorer claims to have matched fingerprints

  • Documentary: “Who the #$&% is Jackson Pollock?”


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Kramer v. The Pollock-Krasner Foundation (SDNY 1995)

  • Christie’s and Southeby’s use the Pollack-Krasner Foundation EXCLUSIVELY to authenticate Jackson Pollack’s paintings. Kramer is claiming this connection is a conspiracy to monopolize and is in fact a monopoly.