Monday, 27 November 2006

Overheated Art Market

Xu Beihong - Slave and Lion (1920's)According to research by UK charity The Art Fund, which handed out over £4m to UK galleries and museums last year, "rampant inflation" is squeezing Brit. galleries and museums out of the art market. New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art spent £53.5m buying works in 2004 and 2005; MoMa spent £20m; the Louvre in Paris spent £16.8m. In comparison, London's National Gallery spent £6.3m; the four Tate Galleries spent a total of £4.8m; the British Museum spent only £761,000. So, should we Brits be worried? No. Most of the alleged art which is currently selling at insanely inflated prices is trendy tripe. Let the Yanks buy it. Future, wiser generations will visit MoMa and demand to know "What idiot bought that trash?" Coxsoft Art is prepared to stick its neck out - don't I always? - and predict that much of today's trendy tripe will end up in the vaults of the world's sillier galleries, whose curators will be too embarrassed to put on public display what their daft predecessors bought as "art"! The above painting came up for auction yesterday at Christie's Hong Kong; looks like a minor Renaissance masterpiece worth many millions. Actually it was painted by Chinese artist Xu Beihong in the 1920's. UK galleries, if you spot something like this in a car boot sale for 50p, buy it.


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