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The Strange Market of Art

Blogs: #29 of 37

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The Amedeo Modigliani painting selling recently for 157 million dollars in a Sotheby's auction got me thinking about the very peculiar nature of art sales and market. In 2015 one of Modigliani's paintings sold for even more, at 170 million dollars. This was an artist who in his lifetime created scandals with his nude paintings and much like Vincent Van Gogh, was poor and underappreciated in his lifetime. But now other people prosper and get rich from the art created by these and many other long ago and dead artists. Go figure. So many great living artists have a hard time making a living with their art in their lifetime and yet art is huge business, mainly benefiting others than the people who create or created the art. Somehow this just does not sit well with me. It adds to my sense of lack of justice in this world. Neither money nor art should be the golden bull that trumps good humane values, morals or ethics. Appreciation is good. Fair value is good. But when the wheeling and dealing becomes extreme, I cannot help but think that perhaps some people just really do have way too much money. Art should not be considered so much an investment as enjoyment. It is meant to be shared and seen, not locked hidden in some dark place because it is too valuable to take the risk of being shown in public. Now, if the work is commissioned by a patron, they might have the right to keep it hidden and for their own eyes only. But if the piece was not created commissioned, it should be seen by the world if the artist so wishes. These are my personal opinions that may or may not be shared by you. I think original art should be affordable. Not too cheap nor too expensive but of fair value. The downside of these outrageous auctions is that there are people who think that they, and not the artist, should be able to state the monetary value of any piece of art without knowing anything at all about the time and effort involved by the artist. This can lead to underbidding and low offers which nearly any artist will encounter at some point in their career. We human beings are strange creatures and the more money and power we have the more bizarre the extreme behaviors in some of us will likely become. The art market of some dead artists' work is simply dizzying when it comes to monetary exchanges that take place in the auctions. These are games that some extremely rich and privileged people play while others starve. This world is a very strange place indeed and we have a long way to go to get to the mountain top of humanity. Too many entities in this world still make money in even way more questionable ways than auctioning out the works of dead artists for huge profits. I want to add that I personally appreciate all of my clients and I try to price my art very fairly, based on the size and time and effort I put into any of my works. Thank you to all of you who have bought and continue to buy my art and also buy the work of other contemporary artists! Living artists need your support.