Since the sale of the Picasso a week or so ago for a record £70 million-ish, a self-portrait of Andy Warhol’s has been sold for around £22 million. A Rothko also went for about £21 million. Apparently the world of art is picking up again in terms of sales, but it makes me wonder what makes these works of art change hands. Assuming you can afford to spend the odd million on whichever works of art you find attractive, what then leads you to sell them later on? Is it just a matter of money – either the work of art has increased in value since you bought it, so in selling you make a tidy profit, or perhaps you could do with the couple of million in loose change to pay off a few debts that have crept up on you in the economic recession? Evidently there is more to a work of art than its monetary value, but I wonder how much mercenary issues affect the comings and goings of pictures in the hands of collectors.
I do feel, however, that if I was going to spend a large sum of money on a work of art (though what would be proportionally large for me wouldn’t get me a snippet of a Rothko) I would want to buy something I really liked (but how to choose just one?). I wonder how quickly I would get bored with it, though, or how quickly my taste in art might change, such that I might want to sell it and replace it with something different. I suppose it’s a hypothetical question that I will probably never have the answer to, not having any inclination to buy works of art.