Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Let's Talk About Art and Things

Expert is defined as "a person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field; specialist; authority: a language expert." [1]

Simple definition that is easily understood.

Let's take it a step further.  You have something you know nothing about, let's say an old vase, and decide to take it to a person who knows everything about it, or enough to give you an idea of where to go next for more information before giving it away or selling it.  Such people might be a professor, teacher, someone who works with such items - maybe sells them.  So, you take your old vase to an auction house, and they say:

"Lovely piece, looks authentic and old.  If we were to put it up for auction it would most likely go for around $1.3-$1.9 million."

WOW!  That's much more than you ever imagined, but hey, they're the experts.  You do it because we have no attachment to the old vase and up for auction it goes.  The hammer finalizes the sale and it's $85 million dollars.  That's right, 85 million dollars! 

So how did the auctioneers get the appraisal price so wrong?

Well, they were right the piece was authentic and old, very old actually and had been created specifically for royalty, but what the auction house didn't take into consideration was the person and/or people who would want the piece.

The Chinese.

Back in 2000 there was a big uproar from China against two major houses for auctioning traditional Chinese treasures.  They, like the Greeks with the Elgin Marbles, Egyptians with the Rosetta Stone, and others want what was taken, given, and sometimes sold in years past, returned for visitors to enjoy in situ

The funny odd part of all this is that I, an art lover but definitely not an expert, knew the Chinese, government and their wealthier people, want their cultural pieces reinstated on their soil and will go to any length to see it done.  Money is no object.  That was the odd part, the funny, it seems as if they were bidding against each other for the honor of returning the vase to China.  Go figure.

ArtInfo gave me the facts and photo of the vase [above].


practimom said...

i love all things art, but i think some times i want gag with all the money people have to spend on it. Me with my measley paycheck, i can barely afford internet so i can just see pics of art :)~!

Tilly Greene said...

The art world is facinating and often free to view - which is wonderful. My sister and BIL always buy their kids a membership to a local museum when they leave for college - the reason was that it gave them [4 off and 2 more to go] someplace to get away from it all while costing them nothing. I always thought that was some of the best money they spent :-)

Cable, be it for tv, internet, or both is going through the roof across the country. Not good.