“The viable, surefooted, impenetrability of his persona”

Lucien Freud, Reflection, 1985“One may recognize the latest work and the earliest, as well as the successive styles between, as one man’s uses for art. That is not to account for them. Painting offers itself unaccounted for, uninterpreted, unexcused. Freud’s rather few remarks about art in general set store by the defiantly inexplicable spell that the image arts achieve at their peak. The viable, surefooted, impenetrability of his persona is intended. Again, one is now unaccustomed to a daemon like this in the polite community of the visual arts, but in the past art was full of such people. This is how the young men of the Renaissance must have been, with their eyes on anatomy and the main chance, on the street corners at evening when the botteghe came out and the virgins were hurried indoors. I have been able to confirm rather few even of the relevant details of Lucian Freud’s childhood and how he came to painting. There is no evidence for most of the circumstances, least of all the highly coloured ones, that have been described. These myths were not Lucian’s myths.”

From Lawrence Gowing, “Lucian Freud”

Click the image for a very large detail of this painting, his brush strokes are phenomenal. You’ll have to scroll to close the large image, but it’s worth it!

Damien Hirst’s diamond skull

hirstskull_front.jpg hirstskull_side.jpg

This has me intrigued, is this art, or simply great marketing? I think it’s more marketing than art. It’s a nice piece, skulls are just fascinating, and so are diamonds, they evoke a lot of feeling in most folks. That’s it’s allure, but is it worth a $100 million? Does this make Damien, for a single piece, the highest paid living artist of all time so far. I guess so. Maybe that’s an art in and of itself, it’s more marketing isn’t it.

$20 million to create, sell it for a $100 million, $80 million profit! He’s good.

Then there’s the question of the diamonds, eight and a half thousand of them. Ethically sourced! How the hell does one ethically source 8,500 diamonds! For some reason I don’t buy that.

It’s going to be intriguing to see if he can sell it for that price.

Here are some links to articles with more information on the skull:

Hirst’s diamond creation is art’s costliest work ever: The Guardian

Damien Hirst Says $100 Million Diamond Skull Is `Almost’ Sold: Bloomberg

Damien Hirst diamond encrusted skull: Art News Blog

George Michael eyes Hirst skull; for $50 million; that’s low!: ITV News

Post-War Art Records Broken

Francis Bacon's portrait Study from Innocent XFrancis Bacon starts the break, his Portrait Study from Innocent X, shown at left, fetched $52.6m (£26.5m) at Sotheby’s in New York – almost double the previous high for a Bacon work.

The version I prefer is the Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X (1953).

Study after Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X (1953) (Des Moines)

Click the thumbnail above to view a larger version. He did quite a few as I recall. Compare the two, you tell me.

MarkRothko1.jpgThen a Mark Rothko beats the record again in the same night and grabs it for a price of $72.8m (£36.7m) for his 1950 work White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose).

I really can’t fathom why, Bacon in my mind is so far superior an artist. Perhaps because it was sold by philanthropist David Rockefeller, who bought it for less than $10,000 on the advice of Dorothy Miller, the first chief curator at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, in 1960, and kept it in his office since.

The Bacon also surfaced after 30yrs in a private collection, perhaps a reason the valuation was so high for a Bacon.

JACKSON POLLOCK: The most expensive painting ever sold on record is a 1948 work by Jackson Pollock when it changed hands for about $140m (£73m) in a private sale.