Friday, November 17, 2017

Does $450M Art Masterpiece Boost The Book Industry?

A painting just sold at auction for $450 million.  Yes, that’s not a misprint.

Even though the highest sale ever for a painting was $300 million --in a private sale two years ago -- a Leonardo DaVinci painting just fetched 50% more than that and two times more than any previously auctioned artwork! Talk about inflation.

What’s even more amazing is the painting originally wasn’t believed to have been created by DaVinci, but in recent years it was declared one of the painting master’s.  Imagine if 450,000,000 dollars was paid for a fraud?

I love and support the arts but enough is enough.  How is one picture worth so much money, so much more than other art, and so much more than the rarest books, prized sports memoraphalia, or celebrity memento?  How is it worth more than the most expensive house, more than a sports arena, more than most businesses?

This art sale is part of a bitcoin economy, where everything is commoditized and sold off like a Madoff Ponzi scheme.  I don’t know that such a high price tag for art is good for society or even artists.  It turns the focus of art to money and a business -- and not on creativity and inspiration.  This kind of art can’t be touched or experienced – it’s under lock and key and treated like the Hope Diamond.

Most art doesn’t fetch anywhere near millions of dollars.  The industry seems to vary wildly.  No one really knows what to charge for any art -- it’s whatever people are willing to pay.  Most artists don’t make a lot of money, but some do manage to get thousands of dollars per piece and if they can work with a gallery or get online buzz, they can manage to afford to practice their craft.

But art, though it’s always been collected, sold, and traded, should be seen for its beauty and not its appeal to get rich.  Art shouldn’t be a lottery ticket.  It should be a conversation piece, a valuable contribution to the community, and a source for inspiration to all who view it.

Maybe I’m just not seeing this correctly.  Perhaps I should be glad that someone values art enough to pay such a huge sum for it.  Perhaps when art sells at that price at the top it lifts all boats at the bottom.  But it just seems like capitalism gone awry.  Instead of pouring all of that money into one piece of art you could open up several art museums that can provide art appreciation to lots of people.  For $450 M you could probably eradicate a disease.

The sale came on the heels of a new study that shows over 50% of the world’s 280 trillion dollars in assets is owned by 1% of the population and 10% of the world’s citizens owns 85% of the globe’s wealth.  

The top of the art world’s a mere toy for the uber rich.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby

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