Picasso prints

General

WHAT’S NOT THERE

The Picasso Museum on wheels, currently at the de Young in San Francisco, is such a wonderful show (see “Picasso by the Bay” below) that it’s almost easier to discuss what’s not there than what is.  Well not quite, though each great Picasso, in addition to being loved and understood on its own merits, must be seen in the context of his entire oeuvre for full appreciation, given the added dimensions that the context inevitably provides.  I won’t again trot out the by now overused Picasso-ism about the movement of his thought interesting him (in his later years) more than the thought itself–there, I said it anyway. But nowhere is that movement better preserved, with the exception of the successive […]

Collecting, General

The State of the Art: The Picasso Market as of September, 2010

The Picasso print sale of the millennium just came and went (Sotheby’s London), so one would think it might deserve comment, not least of all because it was such a strong auction.   Yeah, I know that’s a pretty bold statement, given that the millennium isn’t even half over.   OK, so it was at least one of the two sales of the millennium.  Depending on which prints you’re most interested in, you might prefer to nominate the Mourlot estate sale at Christie’s NY in 2003 for that honor.   But the auction last week included Picasso’s two most expensive prints, and quite a number of other great works.  It also set some world’s records, especially for the most valuable pieces.

Collecting, General

Art as Investment: The Mei Moses® Fine Art Index

I’m often asked about my opinion of art as investment.  My opinion, whatever it is, is presumably clouded by my love for Picasso.  Better to direct such inquiries to the Mei Moses® Fine Art Index  (artasanasset.com), a statistical database and analysis compiled by two NYU economists.  Quite sensibly, they limit their statistics only to auctioned works (so that the facts of the sale are in the public domain and known beyond any doubt) and further limit their stats to those works that have sold at auction more than once.  That is, they compare only the prices achieved at auction for two or more sales of the same artwork.  The advantage is immediately evident: they’re comparing only like commodities.  More than

Collecting, Technical Matters

Fading

I’ve belatedly considered that it might be useful to indicate here when I’ve updated any of the Collecting Guides.  Well, perhaps you might like to know that  I’ve just expanded the discussion on the fading of prints, which you could find in the “Collecting Pitfalls” chapter of The Guide to Collecting Picasso’s Prints, just a little ways down from the top….

Art Fraud, Collecting, Signatures, The Collecting Instinct

THE DOCTORS, THE DENTISTS, & THE DIRTY DEALS: PiCostco, A Slight Return

Last week my six-year-old came home from school loaded up with books from the school book fair but nonetheless wanting to Amazon another, How to Read People’s Minds.  Now, among other considerations, I try to evaluate my kids’ “needs” (they always classify their wants as such) through the prism of educational merit.  From that perspective, this request was an easy one to accept.   Much of one’s success in life is supposed to be related to EQ (emotional intelligence), of which understanding other people plays a large part.  (Dubya is supposed to have had it in spades, though, personally, I’d rather have a beer with Barack any day of the week.  And, anyway, if I were imbibing with Dubya, I’d request

Collecting, Technical Matters

THE MINIATURE PICASSO COLLECTOR’S CORNER

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

Collecting

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