It’s Saturday and I’m sure everyone has played out the usual art fair talk-tracks: “Hiiiiiiii, how are you?” “So, how are sales?” “Have you been affected, everything okay?” “Is it true you can roll a bowling ball down the aisles of your fair?” – here is something much more interesting to think/talk about:
An article I read this week gave me flashbacks to the 1980s. Remember the speculative run in the art market and the subsequent bust in the 1990s due to the downturn in the Japanese economy? Many would recall the apogee of these times was when one weekend Ryoei Saito bought Vincent van Gogh’s Portrait du Dr. Gachet for $82.5 million from Christie’s NY and Auguste Renoir’s Au Moulin de la Galette for $78.1 million from Sotheby’s NY and then he and his paper company went bankrupt and he was charged with criminal activities.
The van Gogh was seized by Japan’s Fuji Bank (even though Saito asked to be cremated with it) and resold for a fraction of the price. In the end, Japan’s banks had confiscated over $200 million dollars of art from Japanese businessmen putting it all into bank vaults and then going under themselves. Some Eurocentrics describe this time as the devouring of Western culture by Japanese speculators. In these days, I would describe it as familiar.
Vincent van Gogh’s Portrait du Dr. Gachet and Auguste Renoir’s Au Moulin de la Galette
So with that background in mind, I present the ArtDaily headline of the week: Chinese Bidder at Christie’s YSL Auction Refuses to Pay for Controversial Works of Art. With quote of the week from this bidder who committed over $40 million dollars to 2 sculptures in the auction: “I must stress I do not have the money to pay for this”.
Um, really Mr. Cai Mingchao? Really?! So I thought, here we go again, but now with China.
And a quote I would like to end on from Chinese Government Rep. Zhao Qizheng regarding the situation: “[Cao's bid] was a lesson to the rest of the world, including the French”.
Now go party and discuss…