09 May 2007

Lucien Freud

We're into the art world's auction season, and Lucien Freud's "Bruce Bernard" (1992) will go "under the hammer" at Christie's auction house in London next month.

This is one of twenty-one major works from the so called "School of London" that are coming to auction for the first time. I've tried to find a decent on-line photo to which to link you here, but am having poor luck.

In September 2003 the London Times ran an appreciative essay on Lucien Freud's career by John Russell Taylor, which said in part: "He has continued to change and develop throughout his 80 years: it is perfectly permissible to prefer his early, hard-edged style to his later flourishes of heavy impasto, but that is a matter of taste rather than of general consent."

The painting on the block in June will presumably belong to the "later flourishes" category.

I read something recently about how the art market is a way in which "the rich try to get richer." But I suspect that's wrong, that speculation on possible price increases is a relatively small part of the motivation that will presumably fill the room at Christie's.

Aside from such speculation, and aside too from any genuine love of the art, there is I think a sense of status anxiety that drives the market.

But, of course, possessing a Lucien Freud only soothes your status anxiety if you put it on a wall somewhere. Having it in a carefully monitored, climate-controlled, warehouse might be just fine for a speculator, but improves one's status not at all. It has to be, "Oh, look at what a nice painting I've got in my foyer." THAT will relieve some anxieties.

No comments:

Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.