Part 1: Good Art for Sale

This week is the start of the fall auction season here in New York. Christie’s and Sotheby’s are holding big, BIG Impressionist and Modern auctions. As is longstanding tradition, all lots are put on display a few days prior to the auction. It’s always been important for me to try and visit the auction houses and view the works before they’re sold. They’re like great museum shows except you can buy stuff. These are pieces that were held in private hands and after the auction will disappear back into private hands, where they will never be seen by the public (i.e., me) again.

I’m lucky enough to work just a few blocks away from Christie’s, so I popped over on my lunch hour. Here are a few lots that I would love to own, but never will for obvious reasons. Please take a minute and really meditate on the estimates. Try to grasp the astronomical amount of cash that these works might sell for. It boggles the mind! The first painting is being sold in London and the estimate is in British Pounds. Also, the quality of the pics isn’t that great. The lighting wasn’t optimal and you can only do so much with a cell phone camera.

Part 2 will be a post of art for sale that boggles the mind for a different reason.

Here’s a lovely, thick van Gogh that’s estimated to sell for £5,000,000 – 7,000,000. Remember, van Gogh died broke, having sold only one painting to his brother.

vangI became a bigger fan of Mark Rothko after I saw Alfred Molina play him on stage. The play, Red, gave me a better understanding of his work and his creative process. Estimate: $18,000,000 – $25,000,000.
rothkoHow would this Matisse look hanging in your parlor? Estimate: $4,000,000 – $6,000,000. I think I remember a storyline in Doonsbury whereby Zonker won the lottery and spent all the money on a Monet. He ruined it by spilling mayonnaise on it. If I had this Matisse, I’d probably do something like that.

matisseHere’s one of Andy’s Liz’s! Pretty lips. Estimate: $16,000,000 – $19,000,000.

lizMargaret Thatcher once called Francis Bacon, “That horrible man.” That’s good enough for me! I especially like Bacon’s sinister painting of the Pope. I had to take this photo on an angle because of the glare from the glass. Estimate: $12,000,000 – $18,000,000.

baconFinally, here’s the crown jewel of the auction. One of Degas’ little dancer statues. You don’t see many of these come out on the open market!

9-Year Old Daughter has been in love with this statue for a long time and I’m sure she’d like to see it adorn bedroom. At bedtime, I used to read a children’s book to her about the little girl who posed for the statue. I think the story was contrived but it did serve to endear her to the statue.


When The Daughter turns the corner and sees her at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it’s like she’s seeing a long, lost friend. Estimate: $25,000,000 – $35,000,000!!

9 thoughts on “Part 1: Good Art for Sale

  1. I’ve always loved the Degas. None of the paintings are favourites but – being from the cinema generation I’d find room for Liz. Perhaps you could bid for me?

  2. dinah: Doesn’t it just blow your mind that some people have art of this caliber hanging in their house?! It makes me woozy.Pat: This was just a small sampling. I’m sure there’s something in the auction catalog that will loosen those purse strings.

  3. Surprise me that the van gogh is one of the bargains!I’m with the daughter. I have been in love with the Degas dancers since I saw one of these sculptures in Boston.

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