Archive for August 2006

Just Paintings on Your Walls

“Are you aware of the wonderful quote attributed to Picasso when, in the 60’s or 70’s there was a sudden diminution of prices at auction of his (and others’) works, he was asked what he thought of the loss of value.  He is alleged to have said (although I don’t recall the exact words) ‘for years people have been collecting my art as an investment, and suddenly all they have are my paintings on their walls.’”  -Jerry  G.

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As we know, Picasso was the most prolific artist of all time, and also the artist with by far and away the largest number of styles. But an observation that has not been widely addressed is that he also portrayed a truly vast number of different themes. More often than not, the themes he portrayed tended toward the mundane, and, in so doing it he turned the quotidian into the sublime. It’s amusing to reflect that the most high-brow artist of our times reveled in low-brow scenes. Sure, there was the occasional series of musketeers and nobility. But most subjects tended toward the everyday and everyman. Picasso is definitely by, of, and for the masses. A review of his oeuvre reminds…

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Foot-in-Mouth Disease

Sometimes I just say the wrong thing, and then of course it’s too late to take it back. So to expiate my sins, I guess I have to write about it. It happened two years ago, right after my wife and I, baby in tow, had finished viewing arguably the world’s greatest Picasso collection in private hands. Or at least formerly in private hands, as the famous art dealer, Heinz Berggruen, all but gave it to Germany in return for a lousy $150,000,000 and a rent-free penthouse in his eponymous Berlin museum. Still teetering from his stunning, earth-shattering collection, baby in tow, we stumbled into the bookstore at the ground level. While I’m examining his autobiography, my wife Casey starts…

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