A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster
I have a bit of an investment for you.
Andy Warhol’s painting of a Campbell’s Soup can was sold for $11.2 million. Around the same time, Pablo Picasso’s portrait of his mistress brought in $95 million and don’t forget both sales were in U.S. bucks. What do we learn from this, my friends?
That’s right! You and I are in the wrong business.
As one might expect, these two works of art are not just the run-of-the-mill Holiday Inn art pieces you buy to cover a hole in your wall. So don’t be hauling that Paint by Numbers barn you painted off the wall and expect to clean up big time at a Saturday morning garage sale.
Part of the value of Andy and Pablo’s works comes from the fact the pieces were painted a long time ago. Andy whomped his soup can up in the 60’s when he was a starving artist. I understand the poor lad hadn’t eaten for days. All he could think of was food. That wouldn’t have been all that flattering for the nude model shivering across the room. It must have been a shock when she finally got to see her picture.
“Gad! I knew I was getting a little broad across the beam Andy, but this is ridiculous. Look up Jenny Craig’s number for me.”
When I was kid, Campbell’s Soup sold at 2/29 cents. Now, a can can’t be purchased without an OK from your bank manager. The value of the Warhol painting may be a victim of market trends.
I am by nature, a kind man. I’m worried sick that some reader might be caught up in this art thing and want to invest his or her life savings in something to hang on the wall. But what if he or she is being taken to the cleaners?
I’m no artist, but if anyone out there is planning to bid on Andy’s masterpiece, I have a better deal for you. I am prepared to sell you a real can of soup for 50 bucks. No! Please don’t thank me over and over again. It’s my duty as a good citizen to protect you from charlatans and fast buck artists.
But wait! There’s more. For another 100, plus HST and a small administration fee, I’ll come right to your house and nail a shelf on your living room wall. You can sit my can of soup up there and invite all your friends over to stare at it.
Here’s the best part. Once you get tired of it (which I suspect would be sometime after noon) you can take it down and eat it. A $150 bargain is the way I see it.
Picasso’s portrait of his girlfriend however, is a bit trickier. I doubt if I can duplicate it. I don’t know if you have seen any of Pablo’s paintings, but they are inclined to be a little off-the-wall so to speak, and the one peddled for 95 mil (a fine painting of his mistress and her cat) is even more so.
How can I put this delicately?
His mistress appears to be not what you and I would call a stunning beauty – although the ‘stunning’ part may be, let’s just say if his love was a stripper in any of the local hotels the owner would have to give away the beer. She was not a handsome woman is putting it kindly. In fact, the best-looking thing in the picture is the cat and even kitty was not exactly the best of breed.
There is an old saying there is someone out there for everyone. That was not true for Dora – unless ‘out there’ was ‘inside’ an institution. That was her name, Dora. I won’t give out her last name to protect her family.
Of course, she may very well have been pretty and Pablo was not the best painter in the world. I hate to say that of a man so famous. Or perhaps his artwork may have been great but his choice of women may have been a tad off mainstream. We know from history he was a bit of a scallywag when it came to women. He had mistresses coming out the ying-yang from what I hear at the legion, and some of the old vets would know, Picasso painted her in 1941. A few of them might have dated her. Even a woman like Dora would look good after 6 months in the trenches.