Art is supposed to be priceless, but this week auction houses broke records on sales of modern and contemporary art to amass obscene numbers. A busy Picasso was sold for $179 million.
By the end of his life, Picasso, like many of the artists whose work was sold this week, had done well by himself, but we doubt that he ever dreamt to see his paintings fetch these prices. There is something disturbing about owners profiting from the sale of paintings they did not create without sharing part of the profits with the artists or their estates. Some artists and legislators want to change this, but so far nothing has happened. There is nothing wrong with art as an investment. A patron with good taste who champions emerging or struggling artists can later be rewarded as the work rises in value. But the artists and their descendants are the last ones to gain, and this is wrong. These works will be hung in the living rooms of the 1%, so take a look at them now.