Thursday, May 6, 2010

What is it Worth?

You could ask 99% of people why one of these recent paintings sold for £3,500 and the other for $433,600. They wouldn’t know.

You could ask 99% of people in the art world the same question, and they wouldn’t know either. Of course, they would know that the painting on the left is by John Currin, much respected American artist, in all the right museums and top collections, even shown at the superb Saatchi Gallery in 1997.
The other painter Richard Moon is British and largely unknown, whose work I saw at his
Royal Academy School degree show.

If the Fates had given Moon the right contacts, got him into the right gallery, had them place his work in the right collections and shows, then switched him to the world’s most powerful dealer to launch him to superstardom, as The Fates did with Currin, the sales figures might be reverse. Now I’m not saying that Currin isn’t an outstanding artist. He clearly deserves all his success, and probably an infinitely more interesting painter than Moon.

But believe me, talent alone is no guarantee of success, or explanation as why some mediocre artists become burningly popular for a while, whilst better artists languish waiting for a call that never comes.

- Charles Saatchi

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