Fresh Paint – Yolanda Chang

It Is So Last Century

It was a phenomenal event when Guernsey’s auction house helped Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science realize that they had a mislabeled and forgotten Picasso stashed away in storage. Instead of the instinctual action of displaying it, the museum decided to sell the piece. The problem with “Seated Woman With Red Hat” was that’s type of artwork has not been on the market for almost 50 years and therefore a price tag would be incredibly difficult to estimate. This situation was described by Patricia Cohen in “Long-Forgotten Picasso Is a Museum’s Windfall.”

One can easily understand that there are many financial factors that go into this decision: the maintenance fees associated with upkeep of the piece in whichever institution it ends up in, the value of the piece in itself, the possible revenue it may generate for the institution, etc. The value of the piece cannot be determined by its appearance alone; the value of the piece brings into mind the value of its creator.

The break in price agreement between art analysts and auctioneers is that this piece holds a value that changes with time. The deep-rooted respect that the world has for Pablo Picasso and his work is arguably enough for the market price to be around $30-40 million, which has been estimated according to the article. People are willing to pay exceptional amounts of money to see a skewed conception of a mistress, purely because a man who obtained increasing amounts of credibility over the course of history painted her.

The style of the piece is not originally Picasso’s. It is a gemmaux, which “are made of multicolored pieces of glass, layered and then fused together with liquid enamel.” This technique, when on display, plays around with light and is intensified when subtly illuminated from the back. A French artist named Jean Crotti, who, subjectively, is not as famous as Picasso, developed this technique. Picasso and Crotti lived during the same generation, from the late 1800’s to the late 1900’s. They probably were friends who exchanged ideas for their art. If one were to view some of Crotti’s most widely known works, there are abstract pieces that are more oriented toward geometric figures. When Picasso uses the gemmaux technique on the mistress, he uses geometric figures but adds on bolder strokes of thick black. These strokes arguably accentuate the piece.

In art, as like in fashion, there are in seasons and out seasons. What was “in” during the 50’s has gone out at the turn of the 21st century. Pieces such as Mona Lisa have stood unchanged and have never been devalued, but in our contemporary world, art has to become “modern” and transcend the “classical.” The pricing of the “Seated Woman With Red Hat” is still to be determined, but the question stands: do you feel that classic art pieces should never go out of style? Or should the spotlight of the art world be shifted away from our ancient Greats and move toward more contemporary pieces?



8 thoughts on “Fresh Paint – Yolanda Chang

  1. The article you posted is pretty unbelievable. To think that this gorgeous Picasso original has been sitting in storage for all these years is mind-boggling. I like the question that you pose at the end of your post (“Do you feel that classic art pieces should never go out of style?”) My opinion is that they should not. I think that classic art pieces are age-less by default. No matter how many modern/contemporary art pieces pop up on the market, you cannot compare the new with the old. Specifically in regards to this piece, the gemmaux design is incomparably beautiful and intricate. Because I have a strong appreciation for history and for pieces of art created within a certain historical context, I believe that classical pieces of art should always have a place on the market and should never “go out of style,” so to speak.

  2. I totally agree with Chaya that classical art pieces should never go out of style. Pieces like The Mona Lisa by De Vinci will never go out of style. Such painting will always be valued and appreciated because it is simply a work of classic.

  3. I believe eventually what is interpreted as classical art pieces today will change in the future. Consequently, I also agree with Chaya and Amy, there are some pieces like the Mona Lisa that will always be part of the discussion with historical art. But I believe the revering pedestal that we put the Mona Lisa on will be dismantled as the future changes in art perception and taste. Mona Lisa will always be considered as part of art history but it may not necessarily be a forever classical art piece. That’s just my two cents.

  4. I agree with Amy that these classic pieces should never go out of style. Classic pieces like the Mona Lisa display such great techniques from the past that have inspired many more artists after his time. For all the contributions that classic pieces gave to the art world, they should be admired forever.

  5. I think the classical pieces of art should never go out of style. I think that these pieces of art may not always be in the center of peoples’ eyes, but I think that their style and technique should be examined and studied all the time. I think that it is possible that classical and modern pieces of art can share the spotlight together. I think that it is important to gain an appreciation of the old, classic pieces of art that have laid the basics and the foundations for the new, modern pieces of art.

  6. I’m interested in how the price will turn out, and it’s amazing how much credibility or popularity an artist can contribute to a painting. Classical pieces of art will always be remembered, and they will never go out of style in their context. Times change, and although old art may seem strange to us now, a lot of people will and do appreciate them. For people that are interested, it is natural to look back on history to see how art was back then. There’s no way you can forget about it. I believe old art and new art will stand together, like Vivian said. I hope I’m interpreting you correctly when you say “out of style”.

  7. If you are interested in a close up view of a modern classic, a famed work of art that recently set the highest auction price in history–120 million–will be on view at the Musuem of Modern Art (MOMA), beginning Oct. 24 for six months.You have probably seen some variation of this iconic 1895 expressionist painting by Edvard Munch, titled “Scream.” I don’t know how to insert a link in the comment but the article is on the NYTs webiste, “‘Scream’ to Go on View at MOMA.”

  8. I agree that classical art pieces shouldn’t go out of style because they represent important pieces of culture and history. The idea that a famous painting like this was lost in storage is ridiculous because it suggests that classica art pieces can be easily forgotten. Though contemporary pieces should undoubtedly be brought in to modern culture to advance art, classic pieces should be valued very highly because of famous painters and their rarity, issues I hope will be reflected in the price of the Picasso painting.

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