Alan Bond died and his obituaries are a reminder of the way the art market has attracted out-sized personalities with ambitions that may exceed their grasps:
Bond’s personal spending was legend. He lavished expensive gifts on his family, bought an entire village in England and famously, in November 1987, despite the stock market crash just three weeks earlier, bought Vincent Van Gogh’s painting Irises for $54 million. Sotheby’s, which sold him the painting, later admitted it had lent him half the cost, and in 1990 it was sold to the J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. […]
But the decade that followed was one marked by his unravelling, spending time in and out of both court and prison. […]
In 1996, he was again sentenced to prison, this time three years for corporate fraud relating the purchase of the the painting La Promenade by Edouard Manet. His lawyers famously claimed during court proceedings Bond was suffering memory loss as a result of depression and brain damage, but his lucidity seemed to miraculously return in later years.