Archive for May 2009


There are those collectors who love the art no matter how small, and there are those who won’t look at a piece if it doesn’t reach a certain size.  This “column” is for the former.  Having addressed the merits of collecting small art works before, I would now like to further the discussion by drawing your attention to two highlights of this spring auction season.  They demonstrate both the highs and lows of collecting miniature Picassos.  Well, just the current high, not the real highs—some of those were most recently sold a couple of years ago (see Does Size Matter?). First the low: the 1919 gouache and pencil, Nature morte à la guitare that went for a giveaway 60,000 Euro…

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The Auction Tango

A collector on whose behalf I am about to bid at auction just posed the following question: how many years back has the art market now retreated? To provide a satisfactory answer, one would have to do a formal statistical analysis, for which I have neither the tools, time, nor inclination.  Shooting from the hip, most people last November were saying 2006, and the market has certainly improved and partially stabilized since then, at least for the time being.  Having just perused representative auction catalogues from years past, I fear that 2005 is closer to the mark on average for Picasso prints.  But, mostly, I find it impossible to generalize in any meaningful way, because Picassos of different media and…

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Never Too Late Picasso

Looks like we won’t have a chance to see the blockbuster Gagosian show.  By now I’ve however looked through the catalogue a couple of times and am deeply impressed by the assortment of wonderful paintings he amassed for it. (I’m not so big on late Picasso prints, with a few notable exceptions.)  John Richardson’s essay was of course also quite gratifying, as usual.  This is not at all a criticism, for as Richardson somewhere says, including drawings would have of necessity greatly broadened the scope of the show.  It would, I imagine, have been difficult to assemble a suitably representative cross-section of his late works on paper, since his output in the last few years was both vast and varied. …

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