I’m on the mailing list for a few auction houses who send me alerts about coming up art auctions. One benefit, beside being able to see pieces ahead of time and rounding up my consortium in case there is something I’m interested in, is that I can see artwork which are in private hands and not generally displayed to the public. I find this access is intellectually and visually stimulating.
There is a painting by Picasso coming up for bid on March 1 in London. “Plante de tomates” was painted in Paris over three days, 6 – 9 August 1944. The painting has some interesting elements, typically giving us hints to the master’s thinking and process. It ain’t great and it certainly ain’t lousy (as are some unfinished, ‘given up on’ works that make it to market). As we know Picasso can fetch a tidy sum simply for that signature in the lower corner. Very few pieces go unsold and most clear the seller’s minimum price by a healthy if not hefty margin.
That said, Sothebys has gone through the trouble of creating a short ‘documentary’ featuring the painting. In it a handsome and well dressed Sam Valette, a Sothebys Senior Director, Vice Chairman, Private Sales Worldwide (Impressionist & Modern Art) leads us step by step through the reasons why any respectable collector would want to plunk down some serious greenbacks and haul the painting home.
The video is a little over 3 minutes and very smooth. See it by clicking right here (Klik)