Art, so difficult to value, is an ideal currency if you want to frustrate the banking regulations of the Patriot Act. So much easier than shipping honey. But who keeps this market orderly? And why would such an important person branch into other illegal activities such as gambling operations? Did he bore of backgammon?
Conservative Art Critic Brian Sewel born in 1931: "The art market is not sexist," Mr Sewell said. "The likes of Bridget Riley and Louise Bourgeois are of the second and third rank. There has never been a first-rank woman artist.... ...Maybe it's something to do with bearing children." Top contemporary Art Dealer and collector Iwan Wirth born in 1970: "..Female artists are the bargain in today's markets...It's a constant source of disappointment to see the discrepancy in prices between outstanding female artists and their male counterparts.... [more inside]
Andy Warhol always plays a prominent role in the twice-yearly contemporary sales in New York, but this season his work saw a phenomenal turnover of $181m, almost a third of the week's total proceeds at Christie's, Sotheby's and Phillips de Pury. The Economist on The wizards of the Warhol market. Watch for yourself: In the Saleroom: Andy Warhol's Self-Portrait, 1963-1964.
How the Bad Boy of Brit-Art Grew Rich at the Expense of His Investors From the Economist: IN 2008 just over $270m-worth of art by Damien Hirst was sold at auction, a world record for a living artist. By 2009 Mr Hirst’s annual auction sales had shrunk by 93%—to $19m—and the 2010 total is likely to be even lower. (The average auction price for a Hirst work in 2008 was $831,000. So far in 2010 it is down to $136,000, a sum that does not even take into account the many lots that failed to find buyers.)
William Blake's Grave. Museums and galleries only have a few weeks left to save William Blake’s long-lost watercolour illustrations accompanying Robert Blair’s poem “The Grave”, before they are dispersed at auction in New York on 2 May.