Thursday, May 29, 2008

Yeah, We sold that- The Art History Edition

Some of you might be aware that a couple weeks ago, a Lucien Freud painting was sold for almost 34 million dollars making it a world record price for any living artist sold at auction. Although we could spend hours debating whether this painting is worth that much money or is even pleasant to look at, what shocked me was when I came the world record for a living female artist

Lucien Freud
Benefit Supervisor Sleeping
Sold for: $33, 641,000
World record for any living artist

Louise Bourgeois

Sold for: €2.888.250
World record for any living female artist

And in the category of "Works to make you scratch your head" we have:


Bear and Rabbit on a Rock
mascot heads, acrylic fur, metal armature, foam rubber, formica pedestal106 3/8 x 74¾ x 51 1/8 in. (270 x 190 x 130 cm.) Executed in 1992.

Sold for: $1,496,000



paintstick on Belgian linen 102 5/8 x 45 in. (260.5 x 114.5 cm.)

Executed in 1977

Sold for: $132,000

Work no. 200: half the air in a given space
12 inch white balloons and air dimensions variable: Choose a space. Calculate the volume of the space. Using air, blow up white 12 inch balloons until they occupy half the volume of the space.Executed in 1998.

(IE: You're not physically buying anything)

Sold for: $90,000

Merda d'artista no. 19
signed and stamped with the number 'Piero Manzoni 19' (on the lid of the tin)sealed tin and printed paper label height: 1 7/8 in. (4.8 cm.) diameter: 2½ in. (6.5 cm.)Executed in 1961. This work is number nineteen from an edition of ninety.

Sold for: $96,000

Maybe these items make more sense if I tell you that they were all part of a sale called: "BEYOND- Selections from the collection of Pierre Huber" and that I just HAD to keep a copy of that catalogue; because, COME ON! No one would believe that some of these things can be considered Art! But the piece that started that started it all is this:

Constantin Brancusi
Oiseau dans l'espace
Sold for: $27,456,000

From what I remember from my Art from 1945 class in college, this sculpture caused the first debate on "What is Art" when it was being brought through customs. Apparently, there are no taxes to be paid on Art going through customs, but these customs officers saw the sculpture as a piece of machinery and definitely not art. I think the debate actually ended up in court (although a quick google search won't pull up any evidence to that effect....) and the jury voted that Oiseau dans l'espace was indeed art. A small triumph for humanity, I'd say.

No comments:

Post a Comment