Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ars Gratias Artis – art for art’s sake? What price art?
A painting of a nude by Amedeo Modigliani created around 1917 has sold for more than $68.9m (£42.7m) at an auction in New York - a record for the artist's work. The painting, part of a series of nudes was purchased by an anonymous buyer. Modigliani's previous auction record was 43.2m euros (£35.8m), set earlier this year in Paris. Another painting by the artist - Jeanne Hebuterne (au chapeau) - one of the first portraits he painted of his lover, sold for $19.1m (£11.8m), high above its estimate of $9-12m (£5.6-7.4m).The artist, who lived from 1884 to 1920, originally focused on sculpture but switched to painting in part because of health problems. Modigliani sold no paintings in his short lifetime, sometimes giving them away in exchange for meals, but the moment he died they went like hot cakes.
An ex-art student in Manchester who worked alongside artist Tracey Emin for two weeks admitted 10 counts of fraud and has been jailed for 16 months for forging Emin’s work. The artist said her art came from the heart (?) and she was "upset and distressed" that people had been conned. The fakes, valued at more than £25,000, included sketches on fabric and a pencil drawing on calico, sold on the eBay website. Well well well, I don’t know what all the fuss is about. Admittedly he has been a very naughty boy but the fakes were probably not too difficult to make and were every inch as good as any original and Miss Emin hasn’t done too badly out of her art that ‘Comes from the heart.’ He did not sell his own Emin collection because of his "acute" interest in her work and the "joy" it gave him.
A statement from Emin said: "My artwork is deeply personal and comes from my heart. It hurts and distresses me to see these fakes and forgeries that have no regard, respect or understanding of what I do.” Should I have regard, respect or understanding for a grotty unmade bed do you suppose?
A Damien Hirst artwork created entirely from thousands of butterfly wings has been auctioned in London for £2.2m.I am Become Death, Shatterer of Worlds - previously owned by the city's Gagosian Gallery - had been expected to fetch between £2.5m and £3.5m. A two-day auction of art by Damien Hirst set a new record for a sale dedicated to one artist in 2008.The sale, which featured more than 200 lots, fetched £111m at Sotheby's London branch. Poor destitute Modigliani should be alive to day, earning millions; though maybe his paintings still wouldn’t rate highly among the cognoscenti. I don’t think it’s talent that’s rewarded these days; I think it’s what you can get away with.
Big question – where did all those butterfly wings come from? And don’t say from butterflies! It’s a serious question.

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