Michael Findlay is a New York art dealer whose career spans the range of the art market from Madison Avenue to Soho in the late 60s and early 70s to Christie’s at the height of the Japanese art boom to the depths of 1990s art recession and, finally, more than a decade at Acquavella Galleries as the super dealers have come to dominate the top end of the market and host museum quality shows to rival their academic cousins.
He has just published a remarkable book called The Value of Art in which he attempts to explain to the initiated and the un-initiated why and how paintings come by their prices. We sat down a week or so ago with Mr. Findlay to talk about his career and the art market.
One thing we wanted to know was how Findlay, who dropped out of university after two semesters, came by his art education. The answer we got was cryptic but still illuminating:
Having established that the best way to learn about a work of art was to look at it, we still wondered how a young man interested in Contemporary art should eventully come to head Christie’s Impressionist and Modern department. The answer, again, lay in the market itself: