There has been a lot of news around about the most expensive painting ever to be sold recently, so I thought I would go see what people have been saying about it.
For those that didn’t hear, a Gustav Klimt painting sold to Ronald S Lauder for about $135 million (American dollars).
The Spiegel in Germany called it the “Mona Lisa for America”..
Is Adele worth its record price of $135 million? Only three years ago, the last top-selling Klimt managed to fetch all of $29 million. Norman Rosenthal, chief curator of the London Royal Academy of Arts, calls Adele “an icon of a specific, important epoch in art history” and believes the price is justified. But, he adds, “art is like gold; one has to believe in its value.” Spiegel
A columnist at the Guardian in the UK thinks the value may be in the gold on the painting..
There are experts and there are art experts. Experts I admire. Art experts are mostly fruitcakes. I was therefore on raisin watch this week when Gustav Klimt’s gold-encrusted Adele Bloch-Bauer I was declared to be “worth more” than the £73m world record it had just fetched. Worth more what? Surely not money. Was it the value of the gold if you scraped it off? Guardian
While another writer at the Guardian thinks the painting could be worth more..
The reason his 1907 Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I is worth so much is not the gold that dazzles and dissolves in the painting’s mysteriously unanchored visual field, or the striking long features and hands of the sitter. It is that this is a piece of real estate in an invisible city, a chunk of the vanished Vienna before the two world wars that tore the life out of it. The very reason such a prime painting has come to auction is that it was successfully claimed by the heirs of the rightful owner, from whom it was looted by Hermann Goering in 1938. It is a glittering fragment of a cruel century whose madness Klimt was one of the first to see coming. Guardian
And Bloomberg says there could be more impressive prices paid for Gustav Klimt paintings this year..
Richard L. Feigen, a New York dealer, values the remaining works by Austria’s most famous artist at $130 million to $140 million. He puts the 1912 portrait, showing Bloch-Bauer in a long dress and hat, at about $60 million, and the landscapes, 1903′s ‘Buchenwald/Birkenwald,” 1912′s ‘Apfelbaum I” and 1916′s ‘Hauser in Unterach am Attersee,” featuring birches, apple trees and houses, at $18 million, $25 million and $30 million, respectively. “But they may go higher,” said Feigen, an expert on 20th- century art. ‘There’s a tremendous amount of money out there looking for ever-decreasing supplies.” Bloomberg
I personally don’t have an opinion either way. If it gets people thinking about art it’s probably a good thing, but I do think about the good that $135 million could do. We should value great paintings highly, but more because they are great paintings and not because a wealthy art collector paid a lot of money for it.