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Hey all! Very busy time at the Mount, managing schoolwork and putting together some ideas for this site and next month’s Journal article. Much has been made recently about the increasing prices for art. A new world record was set within the past few weeks for the most expensive painting ever purchased at an art house. The price? 179.4 million dollars.

We don’t know much about this buyer, only that he is a “distinguished private European collector.” For reasons that are common sensical, many private buyers choose to remain anonymous. But despite this whopping price tag, there were other works of art which auctioned for numbers that’ll raise your eyebrows just as high.

Henri Matisse’s work Nu â la serviette sold for $9.13 million:

Jean Hélion’s work Abstraction was expected to sell for roughly $800,000. It blew past that figure very quickly, netting $3.41 million.

Another well known painting by Paul Cézanne titled Pommes sur un linge also drew in millions dollar bids, the final one being $9.13 million.

These prices are astonishingly high and have been skyrocketing over the past decade. Analysts interpret this phenomenon, among other factors, to be connected to an influx of buyers from Asia in the past few years, mainly from China.

An argument can be made that art’s value is subjective to the buyer, which could account for such steep costs. The likelier explanation is that the purchasing and selling of art is an incredibly lucrative business venture. This new world record holder, for example, was previously purchased in 1997 for $31.9 million. Which means, between 1997 and 2015 (only 18 years, mind you), the value of this painting appreciated by 147 million dollars.

As much as we love visual art, as much as we wish it were uninvolved with netting profits, the vending of artwork is a highly profitable means of earning money, if you happen to have the necessary capital. Sadly, too, it doesn’t appear that this trend of increasing prices will reverse in the foreseeable future. At least we’ll have plenty of artwork to view on exhibit and create ourselves!

I’ll see you next week.

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