Martin Sosnoff complains on Forbes that his taste for art is being overwhelmed by vulgarians:
I missed the May evening contemporary art auctions at Christie’s and Sotheby’s while traveling in Europe but, a trusted friend and savvy dealer bid for me. I was left in the dust and didn’t snare the Hans Hoffman and Anselm Kiefer canvases that I coveted. I did sell three pieces at good prices so why complain?
Art is a coincident indicator for what’s happening in the world economy, but I’m wary of what I see. Pieces bought a few years ago at $500,000 are now $5 million pictures. If I’d spent as much time studying the art market as I do financial markets I be at least ten times richer.
There are Russian oligarchs, newly minted Chinese billionaires, even Arabian sultans with whom I can’t compete any longer. They retain art advisors who know next to nothing and press clients to buy the big names. Focus is on Warhol, Jeff Koons, Gerhard Richter, as well as Mark Rothko and Francis Bacon.
Big canvasses are in. A 9-foot square Warhol self portrait made $27.5 million. In the art world grandiosity works. Anish Kapoor has created an inflated biomorphic piece now sitting in the Grande Palais in Paris. It takes up the entire cubic footage capacity of this art museum that started off as an exposition hall for world trade fairs early in the 20th century.
The Kapoor piece is subtly interactive. You walk beneath it and around its circumference. It suggested to me 3 nude women joined at the hip, raising their pelvises, supported on their elbows. Quien sabe? I felt like a voyeur.
I’ve collected Kapoor for nearly 20 years but now I need to get down on my knees and beg. “No! No! You can’t have that piece unless the sultan of Bahrain turns it down.” I got lucky. The sultan had more pressing geopolitical issues to deal with.
Grandiosity is a Non-No (Forbes)