The master, Judd Tully, charts the rise and fall of one of Halsey Minor’s Richard Prince works to illustrate the volatile Contemporary art market:
the case of the 1989 Untitled (Cowboy), a 50-by-70-inch Ektacolor print re-photographed from a Marlboro advertising campaign. Arguably Prince’s best-known work, the image of a cowboy galloping under a bright blue sky had been the catalogue cover for the artist’s 1992 survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and it became the most expensive photograph ever to sell at auction when New York dealer Stellan Holm bought it at Christie’s in November 2005 for $1,248,000.
In early 2006, Minor acquired the work from Larry Gagosian for $1.6 million, according to art appraiser Beverly Schreiber Jacoby, president of the strategic art-consulting company BSJ Fine Art.[…] Minor sold the Marlboro cowboy back to Gagosian for $1.5 million sometime between December 2008 and January 2009. While that price would suggest that the indebted collector took a $100,000 hit on the sale, Minor argued that he had lost significantly more considering how much he could have sold it for if he had access to the work during the boom’s sweet spot.