joy magnetism: So totally not the highest bidder

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Friday, October 29, 2010

So totally not the highest bidder

Magnet #980 - Matisse, Polynesia, the Sky

I honestly can't remember where I bought this, but it's so very pretty, and I know I haven't seen it in person before. Maybe in a sale pile at the MoMA store in Soho, I think. Great store, by the way. Dangerous, because of all the stuff I could buy in there.

Unlike all the stuff I could never buy at Sotheby's or Christie's auction houses. The New York Times did a great article yesterday about how one of the best things to do in the city, is to visit the auction previews at both houses.

I've visited Sotheby's a few times before, but not really for art, usually it's for the arts and entertainment auctions - like Grace Kelly's auction a few years ago, and a film one a few years before that. But, both Sotheby's and Christie's are doing Impressionists and Modern Art auctions next week. In anticipation, they put all the lots on view, so that people can visit them and figure out what they want to bid on. It's open to the public at this time as well. I mean, the "richy-richy people" (/tm my mom) have other private opportunities to view the art, but a lot of them come back to look, even if it means viewing with the hoi polloi like me.

Dudes. Today, I stood in front of a twenty million dollar painting today. By Monet. Unfinished. I could feel myself slowly backing away. Obviously, if I broke it, I wouldn't be able to afford it.

But, my heavens, it was amazing walking through gallery after gallery of paintings and sculptures and drawings. Masters of every kind were there. Just hanging out, with auction price tags on the placards. Holy smokes. The amounts on each tag could feed a small country, or ten. I can't wait to see what the results are next week!

Even more cool? Watching all the Sotheby's and Christie's employees walking wealthy patrons around to different works, as they scribbled on small notes of know, notes to say bid on this lot or that lot. You know, where in my little world, I mull over whether or not to buy this book, or that pretty paper, for a few bucks, these patrons are bidding millions. Millions!

Also? They can touch the art!!!! I nearly had a heart attack when I saw these two people touching a Rodin. Touching! It's like the number 1 rule in a museum, don't touch! And here these people were, running their hands over the smooth bronze surface...crazy. In another room, two men, were closely examining the Faberges - as if they were in a jewelry shop somewhere, "I'd like to see that (sixty thousand dollar) tea caddy, please." But I guess you can do that, if you're intent on buying it. Sheesh.

I won't lie, I saw so many Matisses, Picassos, Monets, Vuillards, Bonnards, Rodins, Faberges, Lichtensteins, Warhols and what nots that my eyes fairly glazed over by the end of my visits. The fantastic part was that they also included contemporary pieces from the period. The ones who aren't necessarily as well known, but have important work as well. The ones that aren't sitting over at the Met on Fifth, or the MoMA in midtown. Of course, I ended up buying a couple of the catalogues - I figure if I can't afford the art, at least I can buy the books.

There's a really big part of me that wants to go back to both places before the big auctions take place on Monday. Just to see the art before they go to their new owners.

One thing's for sure, there's a whole hidden world of private art collecting that I'm sure I've only scratched the surface of today.

Also for sure? These artists produced a helluva lot more than what's on our public museum walls.

After next week, they're going to be sitting in private art collections or residences. There's a part of me thinks that's a shame, that the world doesn't get to enjoy this art, but for these few preview days.

Then there's the other part of me wants to find these people and visit their houses so I can see what else is on their walls!
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