A mad world where money is meaningless – MoneyWeek

ThetenmostexpensivepaintingseversoldatauctionrangefromMarkRothko’sWhiteCenter(1950),whichwentfor$72。

8min2007,tothemostexpensiveofall,Picasso’sNude,GreenLeavesandBust(1932),whichfetchedarecordpriceofalmost$106。

5mlastyear。

Whoeverboughtit(rumouredtobeaGeorgianoligarch)haslentittoTateModernfortwoyears。

“TherearereportsthatotherpaintingshavesoldprivatelyformorethanthePicasso,”saidSookeinTheTimes。

RonaldLauder,forexample,heirtotheEstéeLaudercosmeticsfortune,issaidtohavepaid$135min2006forGustavKlimt’sPortraitofAdeleBloch-Bauer1(1907),whichnowhangsinhisNeueGalerieinNewYork。

AsSookeobserved,thecanvas,“embellishedwithsilverandgold,practicallyscreams‘money’”。

Itwouldbehardtoimagineapaintingmoreinfatuatedwithhighsociety。

(Boch-BauerwasthewifeofaJewishsugarmerchant)。

Ingeneral,thesuper-richcompeteforblue-chipimpressionistandmodernpictures–thereisonlyoneOldMasterinthetopten,Rubens’sMassacreoftheInnocents(circa1610),boughtatauctionbyCanadianbillionaireDavidThomsonandhisfatherKenin2002。

Theworld’sfinestOldMastersneverappearontheopenmarket:theywereallacquired,yearsago,byleadingmuseums。

Sowhyarethesuper-richpreparedtopaysomuch?

“ThepeopleIworkwitharesurroundedbyqualityintheirlives,sowhywoulditstopintheirartcollecting?

”saysTaniaPos,anartadviser。

Shebought,onbehalfofananonymousclient,theseventhmostexpensivepaintingeversoldatauction–apictureofwaterliliesbyMonetthatwentforalmost$80。

4matChristie’sinLondonin2008。

“Theywishtohavetheverybestit’sjustthewaytheylive。



“Thewholethingaboutartandmoneyisridiculous,”saysArneGlimcher,theNewYorkartdealerwhousedtorepresentRothko’sestate。

“Thevalueofapaintingisnotnecessarilythevalueofapainting。

It’sthevalueoftwopeoplebiddingagainsteachotherThoseareimpetuousmoments,andmoneybecomesmeaningless。

Ithasnothingtodowithart。



Tabloidmoney…



“Youroldjewellerycouldnowbeatreasurechestworthupto£2,500asgoldpricescontinuetorocket,”saystheNewsoftheWorldinitsfinalissue。

Withpriceshavingreachedanall-timehighthisyearagainstthepound–ahefty£950anounce–latestestimates“reckonthenation’shouseholdsarelikeFortKnox–sittingonapotentialgoldmineofalmost£7bn”。

TheaverageBritonhastenpiecesofgoldjewelleryeachworthabout£250,includingengagementandweddingrings,cufflinksandchains。



“IfIhadaeuroforeverytimeIhadheardaBritishpoliticianpromise‘BritishjobsforBritishworkers’Icouldsingle-handedlyfundthenextGreekbailout,”saysTonyParsonsintheDailyMirror,“ortheonethatwillbeneededinpoor,bankruptPortugal。

BritishjobsforBritishworkers?

Ho,ho,ho。

YoucanhavefreedomoflabourmovementwithintheEuropeanUnion。

OryoucanhaveBritishjobsforBritishworkers。

Youcan’thaveboth。





“Onelawforthebossesandanotherfortheworkers,”saysPaulRoutledgeintheDailyMirror。

“AndreaHill,chiefexecutiveofSuffolkCountyCouncil(whospent£12,000onamanagementcoachandfacedallegationsofbullying,ofwhichshewascleared),hasbeenpaid£218,592compensationafterquittingherjob。

SusanDeValhaswalkedawaywitha£77,000pay-offafterresigningher£85,000-a-yearpostaschieflegalofficerwithHullCityCouncil。

Meanwhile,ShropshireCountyCouncilissackingitsentirestaffof6,500workers,rightdowntothecleaners,withoutcompensation。

Theywillonlybere-hirediftheytakea5。

4%paycut。

Furthercommentwouldbesuperfluous。

Andprobablylandmeincourt。



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