Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Relative Economics of Portraiture

Long-term, clearly the news is good.

With Ronald Lauder's purchase for $135 million of "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer 1" by Gustav Klimt (whom I sometimes confuse with Gussy Fink-Nottle, the character from a P. G. Wodehouse novel) coming on the heels, relatively speaking, of the $116 mil somebody paid at auction for "Portrait of Dr. Gachet" by van Gogh (these two transactions top the Wikipedia list of most expensive paintings ever sold), it is clear to me that portraiture is the smart move.

By the way, Picasso's "Garcon a la pipe" and "Dora Maar au chat" come in respectively at numbers 4 and 5, all-time, as adjusted for inflation. If you just count straight dollars, unadjusted, "Bal au moulon de la Galette, Montmartre" drops from its #3 spot down to #5, switching places with Dora and her cat.

Between you and me, $110 million, adjusted, seems high for a Renoir, but that is a nice painting. I love the guy in the hat.

So clearly, sooner or later, the money should start pouring in. In the meantime, I am thinking about selling my watch. It's a beauty--a early-70s Rolex Explorer II, stainless. Having never used ebay, I'm leaning towards reaching the local NY market through Craigslist.

I'll keep you posted.

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