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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

The World of Art

Big Prices, Big Risks

art for sale
Art For Sale
  • The 3 Ds
    • Debt
    • Divorce
    • Death
  • Restitution
    • Art in museums returned to owners from whom they were stolen
      • Nazis
  • 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)
contested art pulled from auction
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
auction at christies ny
Auction at Christies NY
  • Monet’s “The Railroad Bridge at Argenteuil” sells at a record $41.4 million
auction at christie s london june 2008
Auction at Christie’s LondonJune 2008
  • Monet’s “Le Bassin aux Nymphéas” sells for a new record $80.4 million
private sales
Private Sales
  • David Greffen--$283.5 million
    • Jasper Johns
    • De Kooning
    • Pollock
duccio s madonna and child
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
stylistic approach
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
stylistic scientific authentication
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”
alex matter
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
controversies in scientific authentication
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
terri horton
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?”
kramer v the pollock krasner foundation sdny 1995
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.