The Art Market
"There are no rules about investment. Sharks can be good. Artist’s dung can be good. Oil on canvas can be good. There’s a squad of conservators out there to look after anything an artist decides is art." - Charles Saatchi











"When one reflects on art collectors Robert and Ethel Scull, what often springs to mind is Robert Rauschenberg giving Robert Scull an angry shove after the 1973 auction of 50 of the couple’s works at Sotheby Parke Bernet, when the artist’s Thaw (1958), purchased by the Sculls in the late ’50s for $900, sold for $85,000.Rauschenberg famously said, 'I’ve been working my ass off for you to make that profit.'” - Roni Feinstein in Art in America

Andy Warhol, Ethel Scull 36 Times, 1963.











Mona Lisa Takes New York
"The art market as we have come to know it as a far more recent creation, the effect of an international bourgeoisie that, reconstructed after World War II, emerged in the boom years of the sixties with money to burn on art, particularly American Pop, that brand which, as the art historian Thomas Crow has put it, 'looked like products being sold like products.'"
- Art Since 1900











"If the standard-bearer of the eighties boom was an advertising executive like Saatchi, then his counterpart in the last upswing was a hedge-fund manager like Steve Cohen, who has used his enormours profits as founder of SAC Capital to build an extensive collection of postwar art in a short time. According to Amy Cappellazzo, deputy chairman of Christie's auction house, the new type of collector [understands contemporary art] 'as an assest one can borrow against, or trade on and defer capital gains taxes on' and regarded the art market essentially as a branch of the securities markets. An added attraction [is] that insider traiding and price fixing, illegal in other areas of investment, [remain] standard practices in the art world." - Art Since 1900
Sold in 2006 by David Geffen to
Steve Cohen for $137.5 million
Willem De Kooning, Woman III, 1953.










Sold in 1990 at NY auction for $82.5 million
$75 million, plus a 10 percent buyer's commission
$135.0 million adjusted to 2009’s inflation
Vincent Van Gogh, Portrait of Dr. Gachet, 1890.











During the First Gulf War, the lack of liquidity of major financial markets combined with the bankruptcy of financial institutions and the economic climate of recession caused art prices to shrink by 55% between 1990 to 1993 - Artprice
2010 sold at auction for $290,500
Julian Schnabel, Portrait of Dennis Hopper, 2008.











"In 1993, the New York Times writer N. R. Kleinfield tested the desperation of Soho dealers. Haggling like a man buying a used car, Kleinfield consistently extracted 20 percent reductions, the discount level reserved today for major collectors and museums. At Leo Castelli, he was offered what had been only a year earlier a $400,000 Lichtenstein sculpture for $270,000." - Artnet
Sandro Chia, The Idleness of Sisyphus, 1981.











Purchased in 1941 by Victor and Sally Ganz for $7,000
Sold in 1997 by the Ganzes at auction for $49 million

In 2006, Steve Wynn tore a silver dollar sized hole into the canvas with his elbow, after finalizing $139 million sale of the work the day before. He released the buyer, Steve Cohen, from the sale and restored the painting at a cost of $90 million. He then sold the restored painting in 2013 to Cohen for $155 million.

Pablo Picasso, Le Rêve, 1932.











In a private sale in 2006, Maria Altmann sold the work to Ronald Lauder for $135 million
New York Times art critic, Michael Kimmelman described the heirs as "cashing in" and thus transforming a "story about justice and redemption after the Holocaust [into] yet another tale of the crazy, intoxicating art market." "Wouldn't it have been remarkable (I'm just dreaming here) if the heirs had decided instead to donate one or more of the paintings to a public institution?"
Gustav Klimt, Adele Bloch Bauer, 1907.











Erin Hiromoto's, Zach Novick's, and Severina Worthington's Presentations


Takashi Murakami, 727, 1996.
Jeff Koons, Rabbit, 1986. Polished stainless steel.