In making the New York Times’s case against the Rockefellers, their columnist adduces two works by Juan Gris and wonders why one sold for so much more than the other:
A telling case in point was Lot 2 in the Rockefeller auction. A fine 1914 Cubist still life of a violin on a table by the Spanish painter Juan Gris caused little excitement when it fell to a telephone bid of $31.8 million. In 2009, a similar, slightly smaller Gris still life of a violin, from 1913, sold at the Saint Laurent auction for 3.9 million euros, or $4.6 million at current exchange rates.
The question raises an interesting issue. In the grand scheme of the art market the YSL provenance may have a greater added value than even Rockefeller. His name was synonymous with global high society, culture and fashion. But the YSL sale did take place during the depths fo the global financial crisis. The fact that works sold at all was an achievement. That they sold so well was epochal.
After the sale, Josh Baer reported in his Baerfaxt that Acquavella purchased the Gris for an institution. One has to presume the institution was less interested in the Rockefeller provenance than it was in the work itself.
What if the Rockefellers Had Bought Pollock Instead of Porcelain? (The New York Times)