into a single piece of artwork?  art valuable BBC Documentary 2018
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into a single piece of artwork? art valuable BBC Documentary 2018

October 15, 2019


just that pink you’re better at 95
million off what makes the super-rich smashing out so much money on art is it
love rivalry or just big business I want to find out more about this infamously
secretive art world and the multimillionaires who populate it on
searching for the most expensive paintings in the world to uncover the
stories behind their record-breaking prices going this is Christie’s big showroom in
London and what you can see are the paintings some of the paintings that
will be sold at the big evening auction in New York which is coming up in just a
few weeks and this is one the highlights Picasso
it’s a series that he did in the 50s known as the women of Algiers and it’s
got an operetta $30,000,000 this is another of the star lapses of money from
a series who did I think in the 1890s 1891
these are poplar trees this could sell for as much as thirty million dollars
and this is a Rothko that’s been practically unknown to our historians
long dinner private collection as have a look at the estimate
this could sell for 22 million dollars apparently 22 million dollars 30 million
dollars that sounds like an awful lot of money for a painting well it’s not it’s
a bargain compared to the eye-watering amounts paid for the top 10 paintings
sold at auction you think about it art is a little bit like magic because just
with the wave of a brush something that has no practical purpose whatsoever just
a worthless scrap of canvas covered with inexpensive pigment can become this
priceless object as designed by many of the wealthiest and most powerful people
anywhere on the planet abracadabra but how exactly is it done
just what is the link between art and money my story starts here in New York where
the American abstract painter Mark Rothko dominated the art world in the
50s and 60s and it’s perhaps a surprise to those who find abstract art hard to
take that one of his paintings is number 10 on my list to find out why I’ve come
to a billionaires skyscraper this is Rothko’s White Center and it
would cost you more than 72 million dollars seventy two million eight
hundred and forty thousand to be precise and that’s put it at number ten in our
list of the most expensive paintings in the world going up the painting was sold
at the auctioneers Sotheby’s in New York in 2007 and when you factor in the hefty
buyer’s premium on top of the hammer price stated by the auctioneer this made
it a record-breaking amount more than three times the previous price paid for
a Rothko so what this tell us the white Center is officially the 10th best
painting ever made well exactly the important thing to remember is that
value isn’t only linked to quality something that can send the price of a
painting rocketing is what’s known in the art world as provenance who has
owned the painting in the past and in the case of Rothko’s white Center it was
owned by one of the wealthiest and most powerful dynasties in America the
Rockefellers who amassed their fortune from oil and banking and reshaped the
New York skyline with the Rockefeller Center on the 56th floor David
Rockefeller built an impressive art collection that included works by
Picasso Dogen and Mark Rothko in 1960 he paid less than ten thousand dollars for
white Center half a century later it was worth more than 72 million dollars today
the painting is even known informally as the rockefeller Rothko which says it all
the name of its former owner is as important as that of the artist to find
out where the white center deserves its number 10 slot
I’m on my way to New York’s famous pace gallery to meet one of the world’s
leading art dealers on a clincher Arnie was friends with Rothko and has been
buying and selling his work for 50 years is this a really great rosco it is a
wonderful painting it is a wonderful painting but what Rothko is really
interested in is the idea of an almost formlessness use of color to transmit
pure human emotion I mean you just have to strip away all of the prejudices that
you have looking at a painting by Raphael and let it flow over you like
great music flows over you you know there are very few artists in the
history of art that creates something that we have never seen before and
Rothko is one of those artists but all kinds of things converge for a painting
to bring that some of money and such as those such as its provenance
it was the Rockefeller name which you know amazed amazed me well if yusei’s
amazed because the whole thing of art and money is ridiculous the value of a
painting at auction is not necessarily the value of the painting it’s the value
of two people bidding against each other because they really want the painting
and the people who bid the most for whites enter a rumor to be oil
billionaires just like the Rockefellers the Qatari royal family who will be
hosting the football World Cup in 2022 sadly though white center hasn’t been
seen since the auction I can’t even show you a good reproduction but my next
painting couldn’t be any more different there the buyer specifically wanted to
show a lost masterpiece to the world at number 9 in our list is Peter Paul
Rubens is massacre of the innocents which sold at auction in 2002 the
76,520,000 and $58 the Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens is
considered one of the greatest artists of all time so perhaps it’s unsurprising
that an old master makes it onto my list actually it’s rare for such a good
quality painting to come to auction nearly all the finest old masters are
now in museums and they’re highly unlikely to ever reach the market again
it’s hard not to feel a little bit upset when you encounter this picture because
there’s just no showing away from the subject matter it tells the story of
King Herod’s Massacre of the newborn boys of Bethlehem and it’s terrifying you see muscley soldiers whipping babies
from their mother’s arms and dashing into the floor the women themselves are
weeping and wailing and scratching clawing at the faces of their assailants
and these lifeless corpses of the infants here down at the bottom of the
the painting tossed aside like unwanted forgotten dolls and they have this
distressing shade to their skin this stone-cold bloom
it’s just too painful almost to look at and full of anguish and grief and
despair and high roar full blooded emotion to be able to do that to transform
something so horrendous and so complex into a coherent piece of beauty is just
astounding and I wondered before coming here whether it’s worth paying seventy
six point five million dollars for any picture at all but you come here and you
see this painting and it is a total total knockout the massacre of the innocence is even
more astonishing when you consider that until recently it wasn’t even thought to
have been a Rubens at all when it was finally identified or attributed to
Rubens the paintings value increased
exponentially overnight adding several noughts to its price here at the
national gallery art historian David Jaffe helped reveal who really painted
the massacre of the innocents by comparing it with another Rubens
masterpiece samson and delilah do you member when
you first saw it yeah I saw it at Sotheby’s up in their upper sort of
so-called private room it was pretty extraordinary you know it was one of
those ones where I said well we don’t have a large discussion on this is
clearly right tell me about the comparisons between samson and delilah
and the massacre of the innocents well you actually took them upstairs here
where we’ve got decent sunlight and you can look at them very carefully and they
had a lot of the same nuances just as you cross a T in a certain way and die
on a certain way painters handle the brush particularly when they’re bored
Rubens often does little zigzag I mean you sit on the ankle of this painting
you’re looking for his handwriting in paint and if a handwriting works it’s by
that artist but once the mask of innocence was attributed to Rubens what
does that do to the value of the painting well I think everyone wants to
buy you know the real thing there very few great Rubens is of any period in his
career now you can buy so when a great one comes up it gets them exponential
thrust I guess until it’s on that moment of being actually for sale it doesn’t
have any value I mean it’s absolutely arbitrary thing you know and you can’t
predict how in your–it three or four people will be to try and chase the
magic rabbit around the circuit when it comes up
only billionaires can chase that rabbit ken Thompson was Canada’s richest man he
built a global media empire that once encompassed The Times and The Sunday
Times he pumped millions into the Art Gallery of Ontario in his hometown of
Toronto to share the glory of art in its creation as he put it with the world
the Thompsons are intensely private and seldom give interviews the Ken’s son
David who bid for the massacre of the innocents with his father has agreed to
speak to me my father began collecting in the 50s he’d mutter and sometimes
he’d he’d hit me in the arm and say look at this can you imagine someone being
able to carve this way I mean look at David oh look at this pine I mean this
is how he he responded and with each object it would be a different facet to
the object it would be the patination it would be the color one of the defining
moments in the history of the collection of course can when you bought Rubens
massacre of the innocents and paid what still is the world record for an old
master painting of just north of 76 1/2 million dollars weekly until the auction
he’d come down with the catalog and it asked me David
what do you think this will fetch what would you do if you were me I’d say dad
I I think frankly you need to buy this picture it’s something that resonates
like nothing else you must have had to fend off some supremely stiff
competition you must have known it was gonna be fine hmm what was your strategy
to triumph to don’t last them you knew you were gonna win we knew we were gonna
win at least I had a feeling we were gonna win it 45 billion man NFL last
chance at the final price was 49 million five hundred thousand pounds or seventy
six and a half million dollars after it was over there was silence it took his
glasses off and he took a few deep breaths and I think he said something to
the effect oh my goodness it’s an enormous sum of money and painting to
think yourself you know it’s shopping centers it’s it’s it’s tangible but it
was a marker for my father and for his collections ken Thompson died before he could see
that massacre of the innocents hang as the centerpiece of his collection at the
Art Gallery of Ontario on display for everyone to see forever how do you feel
when you go to the Art Gallery now look at this painting I imagine if it were me
I’d want every time I saw it first kind of punched the air that I’ve got this
thing with my dad and given it now to the world how do you feel I feel I just
feel a wellspring of emotion because it symbolized a journey for my father it
symbolized a journey between father and son and it’s resonated for us as it
resonates for so many others it’s a very remarkable touchstone so what have I
learned from painting number nine well that overnight the same painting could
be viewed in a completely different way one day the massacre of innocence was
overlooked the next it was suddenly the most expensive old master ever solved
the canvas was exactly the same but the way it was perceived was magically
transformed by its attribution to a superstar artist to get more of an insight into the
mentality of the arts collector I’ve come to a luxury penthouse apartment
overlooking the Thames owned by one of the world’s best-selling novelists it’s
a passel which is very rare anything it just over a hundred castles lifetime and
it’s one of those rare paintings where I wanted it within seconds of seeing it
sometimes I debate think go back a second time that one I knew immediately
you’ve got your grubby hands on my beautiful little apologize Jeffrey
Archer is currently 580 third in Britain’s Rich List he’s had a colorful
career a politician and confidant of Margaret Thatcher
he was made a lord by John Major but he’s also served a prison sentence for
perjury but it’s his novels that have allowed him to pursue his passion for
collecting art not old masters but 19th century Impressionists now here you will
see one of my philosophies on collecting because I can’t afford the nature
Impressionists I buy the next rank down and they’re often just as good but not
as well known this is a camera well now it’s like Matisse well I’ll go
again if that was a go again and this was a van Gogh you’re talking not ten
times the price you’re talking a hundred times the price I suppose let’s get rid
of it hello thanks um I suppose the big thing
about the main room is the view exactly wish you prefer your paintings all the
corner it’s amazing is when people come here they immediately say the view it is
hard not just to stand here like this they walk in they see the view they
forget the pictures completely I can’t help noticing you talked about having
second ranked artists in the corridor in terms of the Impressionists but here is
Andy Warhol well it’s he first-rate I don’t think so you know he’s very
expensive now but I don’t think he’s a great artist no I don’t do you like this
it’s not dissimilar the hairstyle which we now know Margaret Thatcher beneath
yes they were both powerful women so how much do you think this would be worth
now no idea there is no bulk you called me the Vulgarian vulgar question does
the money for buying art come from this is a golden book this is the equivalent
of going platinum Cain and Abel yes that’s the breakthrough if that’s what
you’re getting at in your continued vulgar way yes it was gained enable that
made it possible from he to have the collection I have my favorite picture in
a way is this one the AL Goodwyn often compared as an artist to
Turner and what you see there of course is he must have painted it from just
over there and it’s the amazing golds and the amazing colors at night when the
Sun is coming over it looks magnificent when did you buy it
Oh thirty years ago so you’ve been collecting for several decades I’ve been
collecting for 50 years let’s face it if you get into this mad world it’s like
drugs you don’t you have to have another one you have to have another fix I mean
it’s just awful and you wherever you see something you can just about afford you
just about to afford it your country collectors are all stupid and mad and
collectors really go mad for the artists at number 7 in our top 10 and I’ll
explain why we jump to seven in a moment no one quite captures the imagination
like Claude Monet the prints of the Impressionists he spent the second half
of his life depicting his gardens at Giverny
especially the water lilies which he painted obsessively most of them are in
museums so when a good one comes on the market it creates a frenzy at number
seven in my top 10 it’s Monet’s water lily pond going for 80 million three
hundred and seventy nine thousand five hundred and ninety one dollars now with
Tanya Pass who bid for the painting and one well tell me about the night that
you’ve bid eighty million dollars for this painting well where to start I knew
that this painting was going to outshine its estimate and there was a lot of
competition in the room I knew that was a very important piece for Monet because
of his water lily series that he painted consecutively for 26 years like that
that’s the question what is lost because there’s so many of these paintings
what’s special about this one that means it’s worth so much first of all of his
late water lilies few are signed and this is a completed late version signed
by the artist we should make clear that you weren’t buying this for yourself
you’re buying this for somebody else yeah are you buying it for I will never
say potentiality as part of my job what is it that motivates some of these
collectors to spend this amount on works of art well I think the people I work
with are surrounded by quality in their lives
why would it stop in there collecting they wish to have the very best and they
don’t want to be surrounded by the very best whether it’s their home their car
their planes I mean it’s it’s just the way they live their lives take a good
look at the painting its appeared only once in public in the last 80 years and
since the auction hasn’t been seen again and this brings me to the story of the
shocking disappearance of the next two paintings in our top ten the most
popular postcard sold by the National Gallery is this one it’s a reproduction
of a still life above hours of sunflowers painted by Vincent van Gogh
in 1888 you can see that in reality is much more luminous and radiant this is
one of the most famous paintings in the world if it ever came onto the market it
would sell for an insane amount of money but it won’t but when the highest
achievements by some of our greatest artists do appear at auction then the
art market can be influenced by much more than simply love of the painting
that’s exactly what happened in the heady days just before the stock market
crash of 1990 when two paintings sold within days of each other
Vincent van Gogh’s portrait of dr. Gachet at Christie’s and a Moulin de la
galette by Pierre Auguste Renoir at Sotheby’s number 8 and number six in my
top 10 purchased in a mad two days spending spree by the same collector in
the late 80s buying art to become a muscular masculine pursuit find the best
was like big-game hunting only to be attempted by the bravest with the
deepest pockets it was a rampaging bull market and prices were being forced up
by the new kids on the art block the Japanese the man with the biggest
wallets in the room was a paper tycoon Rio a Saito intensely eccentric and
secretive no one knew whether he bought both
paintings for love or solely as an investment because he spirited them away
out of sight even from his own family the man who sold portrait of dr. Gachet
is legendary auctioneer Christopher birch he sold more of the paintings in
this film than anyone else I want to discover more about the role and power
of Lucian ears and how they steer prices skywards
anyway the excitement of the auction this is the woods room which is the
second of our serums here the smaller of the two where we conduct most of our
auctions I’d say 90% of all our auctions take place in here and this of course is
the room in which we are about to give you an auction lesson this is where I’m
going to learn the trade this is where you’re going to learn the trade my large
staff will be assembling fairly soon to act as bidders telephone bidders sales
clerks and the rest of it just as if it were an auction it’s just gonna be me let’s begin with lot 327 a sculpture by
Rodin do I have any bids at 24,000 in the room do I have 28 Thank You Bevin
$20,000 $30,000 thank you I tend for months before these big sales – to have
anxiety dreams about the auctions you still get nervous Oh God terrified more
so actually the more I do it the more nervous I get do I have $150,000 in the
room someone anyone in the room anyone at all
getting much enough from the room our dealers collectors hangers on most of
them Frankie we’d love to see something get wrong it’s quite gladiatorial the
whole thing you get the feeling that the thumbs are sort of like this and we’ll
very quickly to go like that if the auctioneer makes a hideous mistake would
you like to pay $55,000 it’s against you side $55,000 I know your habits I can
sometimes get an extra bit $55,000 just once you get into the swing of the
auction it’s easy to lose sight of the numbers and the reality of the sums at
stake but as birch concedes occasionally prices in the auction room and not just
about the paintings doesn’t happen in auctions that sometimes prices go so
high that people often was applauded only once was that ever sustained pause
for a lot that I sold and that was for the van Gogh portrait of dr. Gachet when
it was sold and I am Edyta at 82 and a half million dollars which was then the
world record price for for anywhere there was sustained applause people left
to their feet they cheered and yelled mr. balls went on for several minutes
which is the reason everybody pulled I believe is because we had a very serious
financial situation developing in 1990 all sorts of things were collapsing and
the Japanese box would be in the mainstay of the market were beginning to
get nervous and were pulling out and everybody was convinced that the market
was going to tumblr and that lot for moments stayed the collapse as it were
and I think what everybody was reporting they were applauding out of relief that
they had saved that on him and you know my feeling was one of I have to make it
really great distaste it was extremely almost felt like just walking off father
suppose going on and just going off stage and not returning they weren’t
applauding for van gock they weren’t applauding for the work of art they were
applauding for money whatever Saito’s motives were for buying
the van Gogh and the Renoir he faced financial ruin soon afterwards
extraordinarily he threatened to burn the paintings rather than sell them in
1996 he died and the paintings haven’t been seen since some genuinely believe
he carried out his threat to reduce them to ashes others think they were secretly
sold to pay his debts either way they’ve passed into art world
mythology just imagine the prices they’d achieve if they ever appeared again number 5 in our top 10 is by a painter
known for his brutal difficult work it brings me to London’s Chelsea where
millionaires live behind metal gates and brick walls so many millionaires in fact
that it’s easy to get the wrong house there they are
Francis Bacon that’s right these are not genuine sadly mr. Abramovich jokester
what would you believe we’ve got the wrong house I got 10 can you show me this one so I should be putting these
copies along here a triptych is a Series three painting
that’s to have a third this one is my famous British art school Francis Bacon
that sold at auction in 2008 for 86 million two hundred eighty one thousand
dollars which puts it at number five in our list of the most expensive paintings
in the world and there’s a reason why I’m propping them up against the wall in
Chelsea a minute London behind me is a house that belongs to the Russian
billionaire an owner of Chelsea RC Roman Abramovich and the rumors are he bought
the real trip date back in 2008 I have a very strong hunch that the real triptych
was actually hanging in that house behind me at number five Francis Bacon’s
triptych which sold at Sotheby’s in New York in 2008
Bacon’s paintings are rising fast another work went for three times its
estimate earlier this year but they’re not easy to look at bacon was a hard
drinker and heavy gambler who painted a series of grisly triptychs and this is
one of the goriest and best just look at those horrific winged creatures pecking
at a mangled carcass you’d have to be made of stern stuff to enjoy staring at
this above your mantelpiece maybe Ramona Brahma vich bought the triptych to
impress his girlfriend – uh Zhukova who recently opened an art gallery in Moscow
his purchases have not gone unnoticed he also paid a record-breaking price for
another artist Lucian Freud he’s now officially Britain’s most expensive
living artist thanks to a renovation Ramone Abramovich is notoriously shy and
declined my request to have a look at his mantelpiece and steri his bacon I
have tracked down the daughter of another oligarch though maria buy back
over herself a collector to find out why a Bremer bitch and the oligarchs are
descending on the art market during communism we actually couldn’t go out
and buy a painting we couldn’t aggregate funds we didn’t have bank accounts so
all of a sudden in the 90s we have capitalism coming in we are able to own
private property and after the Outland Russians you know buy their first homes
let’s say in their first cars then they move on to would say the luxury sector
and are collecting obviously the most famous Olive Garden Britain is Roman
Abramovich is he exceptional in terms of what he buys we are only aware publicly
of two works of art that Roman Abramovich has purchased which are which
are the Lucian Freud and Francis tryptic and i but at the same time he’s
a very substantial collector and it’s not necessarily true that everything
that is buying is at that price tag those are exceptional prices weren’t
they those were exceptional prices I guess
the big question is you know video overpay because it’s such a large sum I
think the question is why does it matter I’d love to get a sense from you of why
some of this new breed if you like a very wealthy Russians are buying art is
it because they love it is it because they like to show off is it because art
is a status symbol if you really think about it most Russian art collectors are
actually very private you actually don’t really know for the art you don’t really
know what they own so do you know well a lot of them are my friends so yes but we
are extremely private so therefore the whole idea of buying art as the status
symbol falls apart right there because if presumably if you’re buying art for
status you would want people to know that you bought through this or that
okay oligarchs may not do it for global recognition but it could be for approval
among their peers and Maria buyback over would seem to be proof about so far the
collectors are my top ten paintings have bought art for love for prestige for
investment and as the ultimate luxury item but the painting at number four has
meaning through its buyer that goes beyond its monetary or even artistic
value Adele bloch-bauer to painted by the Viennese artist Gustav Klimt in 1912
came onto the market in spectacular fashion in 2006 the bloch-bauers were
wealthy Austrian Jews who along with so many others had their possessions stolen
by the Nazis portrait of Adele bloch-bauer 225 million dollars dancing
at 25 after years of legal wrangling the painting was restored to its rightful
owner the descendants of the family living in California who then decided to
sell it this is known as restitution art guy you’re better at 78 minutes with the
buyers premium this made Adele bloch-bauer to the fourth most expensive
painting in the world Ronald s Lauder who’s himself Jewish and
inherited the Estee Lauder cosmetics Empire his rumored to have bought the
painting but he’s being coy about its whereabouts
however he has allowed me into his gallery on New York’s exclusive Fifth
Avenue to see another of his paintings which is on public view and I’ve heard
that this one cost him even more money hear the noise Gaynor in New York
there’s another similar work as by the same artist clinked he painted it five
years earlier and it’s a portrait of the same model
a woman called Adele bloch-bauer it was the wife of a very wealthy sugar
merchant in Vienna the painting today is one of most famous pictures in the world
and it’s somewhere up here I’ve seen as a Lawson reproduction I’ve
never seen it for real until today and you can’t help but be amazed by this
gilded bejeweled surface this is a very lush sensuous work it’s so civilized and
of course it isn’t just lush and refined it is partly made of precious metals
it’s got silver and Gong they’re going on in the canvas as well as paint so
that the whole image screams money I think that’s the thing that I find quite
difficult about this painting in particular I just can’t get past this
idea that ultimately it’s a portrait about infatuation not just infatuation
with a beautiful woman infatuation with high society the owner of this painting the heir to a
cosmetics fortune paid the notorious price reportedly of 135 million dollars
for this painting alone in a private transaction which however you spin it is
a staggering sum he calls it our Mona Lisa
I think referring to the gallery he could be referring more widely to the
fact that here it is presented as a triumph of sorts over the atrocities
that were perpetrated by the Nazis as beautiful as it is I think part of the
reason he paid so much is because the history of this painting is bound up
with a much bigger story the history of the Jewish people during the 20th
century it’s not in the top ten only because the amount Lauder paid cannot be
verified much of the art sold never makes its public auction the money
changing hands remain secret but if 135 million dollars is correct
does this make Klimt one of the greatest artists in the world on a par with
Rubens monet and van Gogh well I don’t think so but perhaps were Ronald Lauder
his purchases represent a form of cultural justice and for him justice
comes at any price I’ve come to Venice because I’ve managed
to secure an interview with our next billionaire who just happens to be one
of the most important men in the world of Contemporary Arts right now and
unlike many collectors he’s more than happy to put his collection on public
display Francois Pino is one of France’s richest
businessmen his luxury brands include Chateau Latour
one of the world’s finest wines the veils ski resort in America and
Christie’s the auctioneer so if you’ve been wondering where all those buyers
premiums went perhaps here is the answer I’m heading towards the punta del a
Tigana which is one of two museums the Pino has here in Venice and I really
want to find out what motivates Pino to collect art at all does he do it for
love or is it just another business opportunity Pino is amassing a blue-chip
collection of Contemporary Arts this is Jeff Koons is hanging heart I don’t know
what Pino paid for it but another almost identical work so for 23 million dollars
in 2007 building a great treasure be passionate and to try to discover to be
very curious to be passionate it’s a heart and passion I think to be a great
collector do you need to take risks absolutely yes I don’t know in the 50
years the artists will be it’s not the issue it’s not the issue
you bar you take your own risk after that it’s very history to town yeah
absolutely how’s the peace in here this is a good
piece like a joke but it’s not on a joke it’s a message it’s it goes in the wall
then there’s a risk to go to for you and for me to be on the wall no yeah very
different and what do you think about I mean the bad side of the market is that
prices are so expensive now you know you spend that in a 17 room resolving but
can we do very sad very sad why do you think it’s sad because very often so
it’s it’s about by but people we don’t like art really they buy that sometimes
too not a statute that it is so sure appearance and to show off you mean
probably sometimes but can we do the risk of Francois Pino
frittering away his millions on art that might simply be forgotten is great but
the potential reward of being remembered as an eagle-eyed patron of the monies
and Rothko’s of tomorrow is even greater of course Pino can afford to take such a
risk but if you want a surefire armor-plated investment that will
impress the hell out of your friends hangs splendidly on your wall either in
your luxury penthouse or on your private yacht then you need to get yourself or
your advisor down to an auction and buy a Picasso this one went for a paltry nineteen
million dollars plus the buyers premium but the third most expensive painting in
the world sold for nearly five times that at
number three Dora Maar oh sure sold at Sotheby’s in 2006 to a mystery man in
the audience who no one had ever seen before than you apparently spoke with a
Russian accent I wondered whether he was a friend of Maria by the Kovas as well I
was in the room when the the painting was sold right after the auction ended
there was a lot of speculation about who is the buyer behind the scenes and I
think it took the art world maybe about a year to really figure that out so who
is the behind scenes so it’s a Georgian collector who prefers to remain discreet
but everyone in the art world knows who he is I don’t know about everyone but
some people they are well knows we didn’t know he is so what do you just
tell us if I’m not at liberty to what will happen he’ll kill you no of course
not I just honor and respect people’s desire
for privacy and discretion the only georgian oligarch who seems to
fit the bill is this man Boris even stealing named in the Russian
edition of Forbes magazine as the likely owner of the painting he made his money
from oil and mining and lives in Moscow presumably with Dora Maar and her cat but this is more than I know about the
owner of the next painting on my list it’s another Picasso and it was sold in
2004 but no one can tell me where it is or who the buyer might even be once
again when art becomes a luxury commodity in the hands of the rich
sometimes it disappears from sight now this is a reproduction of the real thing
and Picasso painted by way the plight when he was 24 they’ve recently moved to
Paris and had next to nothing when Picasso put the finishing touches to boy
with a pipe he could never in a million years have conceived that one day his
painting would be worth so much two thousand four or with a pipe was offered
at auction and sold for one hundred and four million dollars placing this at
number two in our list so Picasso’s at number three and number two in my top 10
in fact he occupies all three top slots and that’s because Picasso is much more
than a painter he’s the ultimate luxury brand and nowhere is this more evident than in
Las Vegas Sin City is the last place you’d come looking for fine arts you
might think but actually a lot of the people who built Vegas covet works of
art by need Pablo Picasso and if you think about it it’s a match made in
heaven because Vegas is the most extravagant monuments money imaginable
Picasso well he’s famous for being the most expensive artists in fact the billionaire property
developer who built this place the luxury Bellagio Hotel and Casino also
immersed in cooling extraordinary collection of Picasso’s his name’s Steve
Wynn walk through the heart of the casino and in among the slot machines
and gaming tables you’ll find an art gallery and a Picasso fine dining
experience most of the bludgers Picasso’s are here
in the restaurant which Steve Wynn designed along with Picasso’s own son
Claude who did the carpet there genuinely are Picasso’s everywhere
there’s a huge one over there there’s one here from 1917 this is from 1971 and
every detail is linked of course to bacastow even the plates which are
closely modelled on his own designs of his ceramics thank you it is a little
bit ironic that these two still lifes of flowers and fruit hanging behind me here
at all because Picasso painted them during the war when he was living in
Nazi occupied Paris and food was impossibly scarce and now their
backdrops for lavish banquets but I don’t think the Blasio really cares
whether or not you study the Picasso’s in here you’re just supposed to prevail
in the order of exclusivity that they project I guess it makes a kind of sense
for one of the smartest restaurants in a city obsessed with money to have
paintings worth tens of millions of dollars on the walls but it’s hard not
to wonder what has become of art when it’s nothing more than decoration for
the fabulously wealthy over blame wallpaper I’m Steve Wynn and this is my
new hotel the only one I’ve ever signed my name’s Steve Wynn paid for his new
hotel by selling the Bellagio along with all those Picasso’s but he did hold onto
one his favorite Picasso’s Laurette which not only inspired the new hotel
but nearly became the most expensive painting in the world Wynn suffers from
a degenerative eye condition and he’s slowly losing his sight in 2006 he
agreed to sell the rev which means the dream for 139 million dollars but before
the deal was done he put his elbow through the canvas and suddenly the deal
was off we stood there in shock I can’t believe I’ve done it oh no
Oh No and then I said thank God it was me and not someone else it’s easy to
find his hotel obviously but the man and the painting far harder to track down
now I was hoping that mr. Wynn would invite us into his house and I could see
the dream hanging on his wall but his people refused the interview so instead
have come here just outside Vegas and a book along this color reproduction of
the dream and you can see that it’s an erotic fantasy really it’s a picture of
Picasso’s mistress nor’easter Aires Walter and her head is nodding off to
one side as she’s dropping into the unconscious and starting to dream you
can see her full face and also a profile and if you see just the profile of the
face there you’ll look for this other great suggestive shape which I think
it’s my way of saying that she has sex on the brain the dream is one of
Picasso’s finest paintings but Steve Wynn may have bought it in part because
of its previous owner we’re back to provenance except this time is not a
billionaire collector but a middle-class New York family who amassed an
extraordinary collection of Picasso’s what is considered the most important
20th century art collection ever offered at auction shattered a record at
Christie’s in New York City last night the collection of Victor and Sally Ganz
raked in more than 206 million dollars and that sets a record for a single
owner auction 57 items sold the collectors children put the masterpieces
up for sale after Sally Ganz died earlier this year this is a book that
Christie’s produced just before the sale and what they were trying to convey was
something about my parents and the way they collected art so the way this book
works is it goes through all the artists they collected one by one and so if you
look at Picasso you’ll just see you know well that’s the dream there’s the dream
but these pictures were they own yes here’s this one this is one of the this
is winter landscape 1950 getting married they were married in 1941 and in 1942
which was two years before I was born they bought the dream that was a very
very very bold brave and big purchase for them do you know how much it cost
them it costs $7,000 and to put that in context was that
to put it in context the rent on the apartment that they had was $300 a month
so it cost more than two years rent right that’s an investment it sounds
like the way you’re talking that the dream was one of the early purchases
then it was the first thing that one that was the first work of art they
bought was the dream by Picasso he saw the painting he fella he felt totally in
love with it the way you fall in love with a person couldn’t get it out of his
mind and figured they had to scrape together the money and give up other
things in order to buy it what did your mom and dad do how did they afford to be
able to buy the art that they bought my father was in a costume jewelry business
which he had inherited and my mother didn’t work as as women didn’t work in
those days and they didn’t have very much money they didn’t really have
savings they had a rent-controlled apartments and my father fell in love
with Picasso it sounds like they weren’t buying for
investment at all no not at all how would you describe the the motivations
of your life that drove them to buy these works love how did you feel when it came to the
sales very sad first of all right after my mother died
she died the second we were inundated with people you can imagine I mean teams
of people from Sotheby’s and Christie’s and literally people from England and
from Japan and people from all over sort of descending on the house and that was
a fairly uncomfortable situation a shameless thing well that’s what they do
that’s their job believe me they have now it’s all computerized but they have
on their computer you know their 50 most important collectors in the world and
where their works of art are and where they live and how old they are and when
they’re about to die and who’s going to inherit what are they they know all this
it’s a death watch as my mother used to say the vultures are circling oh the
sale room is such a morbid place it’s about death and divorce I mean was it a
necessity in the sense that there are a number of kind of things like presumably
taxes destination so there was a number of one big fat thing called tax in
America at that time the taxes were about fifty five percent so so that
means if you’d retained a painting like the dream you would have had to pay 55
or 60 percent to the tax man of its value as perceived by the auction house
at the time is that right how did you feel when you subsequently learned that
the dream ended up in the possession of Steve Wynn who by all accounts is a very
different man to the man that your father was Steve Wynn I’ve met him he’s
a very nice man I’m sorry that he put his over through the painting that was
unfortunate but I do remember they it was in an exhibition in New York a
couple of years ago and the director of the gallery said the repair is so
skillful that no one has been able to see where
it is and I went into the gallery and I went into the room and it was way down
at the other end and as I started to walk down the room I was alone nobody
else was in there I could see immediately where it was
where was it out of interest because I’ve heard various things it’s um you
can’t see it here’s a picture of my son standing in front of it but it’s down
sort of behind right around there the left four on her left yeah it’s right
about there actually I don’t how big the hole is but the scar that you can see is
about that big I mean in a sense here’s a painting that had survived intact and
been looked after and loved and your family for many decades and it’s in
someone else’s possession and it suddenly damaged well you know it really
it fundamentally doesn’t change the picture
change the value of the picture I mean I think the picture is more important than
the money so when you hear something like that attached to works of Arts can
you justify that I mean how do you feel when you know I think it’s very sad
do you think what else you could do with that money in this world now I think
it’s pretty well you say well how much money is it worth then it’s not about
the art anymore certainly the prices paid for our top 10
paintings are not just about the art they reflect provenance and attribution
buying for investment and buying to make a grand statement only very occasionally
all about in May 2010 another Picasso came onto the market and this painting
became the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction seen for 50 years
it’s a most because his scholars today had not seen the picture didn’t know
what it looked like so it was in that respect thrilling 95 it’s an incredibly
complex and beautiful work of art and selling at 95 at number one in our top
10 it’s nude green leaves and bust with the buyer’s premium taking it way past
the 100 million dollar mark – 106 million four hundred eighty two thousand
five hundred dollars so who can afford to pay such a colossal amount of money
for a painting only have heard a rumor that the most
expensive painting ever sold at auction nude green leaves in the past by Picasso
was bought by a Russian is that something that you note down as far as I
understand it was bought by Georgian by Ken Samuel whoever has bought it has
also done something rather rare they’ve agreed to lend it to Tate Modern in
London for two years the price it achieved gives it an aura
maybe when people look at it now all they see a pound signs but actually it
really is quite a phenomenal work it might not be the best painting in the
world but it’s strong self-confident and sophisticated it belongs to the same
sequence of paintings as the dream the one that Steve Wynn poked his elbow
through and like that canvas its subject is the artist blonde voluptuous mistress
Picasso is 50 when he painted this and Marie Terez was only 22 and they’d met
five years earlier when Picasso stalks Marita Rose who was 17 at the time in
the streets outside a department store in Paris and said I’m Picasso I’d like
to do a portrait of you and I feel we’re going to do great things together and by
Marie Torres his own admission they were sleeping together within a week and
looking at this picture you can tell that Picasso fell head over heels
because if anything nude green leaves and bust is the most lavish picture
about the rapturous dividends of a midlife crisis this is about sexual
fulfillment it’s about illicit since your bliss Marie Torres is flesh here
which is this radiant line look such a contrast to their predominantly dark
blue background is so pliant and soft and spherical just like the fiery orange
red fruit in the bottom left-hand corner as though she’s something to be consumed
like a big puffy pink marshmallow but there is one detail about this painting
that I find ever so slightly sinister if you look very carefully in between the
plaster bust and the plant you can just make out a very dark shadowy profile
that’s a self-portrait as though the artist himself is part of that blue
curtain watching over his lover guarding her enveloping her and because I
supposedly said for me there are only two types of women goddesses and
doormats but I think that here Marita rez is both she’s a resplendent
fertility goddess if you like but at the same time she’s positioned quite
submissively beneath both the artist and the viewer and she’s restrained by these
two dark straps of shadow that have this slight hint of bondage if you follow
their lines form two enormous peas one there and one inverted here as though
the artist is branding both the image and her body with his own initials pp4
Pablo Picasso when the owner looks at this painting what do you think you see
it’s a love letter to a woman perhaps or a reflection of his own sexual prowess
and extraordinary wealth what you can say for certain is that thankfully here
in a museum a Picasso can be a work of art first and a luxury object second and
that can only be a good thing but if I were you I take a good long look at this
painting while you can because there’s no guarantee that it’s anonymous owner
will keep it on public view indefinitely it seems so unfair
that our access to some of the world’s greatest works of art depends upon the
whims of the super-rich sadly we can’t enjoy some of the most precious
paintings in the world because so many of them are hidden away in private
vaults find a millionaires and billionaires that own them but there are
still thousands of paintings owned by us all of us the nation and to find out
more about paintings that you can see for free near you visit
bbc.co.uk/topgear it– the history of 20th century british painting in the
start of a new series british masters

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  1. The art world is corrupt and dirty, and with so called artist who pay others to make or manufacture the art for them are artist alright, con artist and wealthy art buyers that bid up art above there actual value to ensure the value of the  art they already own keeps going up . Fraud ,corruption ,dirty deals and phantom bidders at auctions. It stinks big time have you ever smell something this bad ? Gotta love the art forgers make them all look bad .

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