Oil Money

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Most expensive paintings (sale prices expressed in dollars and adjusted for inflation):

  1. No. 5, 1948, Jackson Pollock: $142.7 million (2006)
  2. Woman III, Willem de Kooning: $140.2 million (2006)
  3. Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, Gustav Klimt: $137.6 million (2006)
  4. Portrait of Dr. Gachet, Vincent van Gogh: $129.7 million (1990)
  5. Bal au moulin de la Galette, Montmartre, Pierre-Auguste Renoir: $122.8 million (1990)
  6. Garçon à la pipe, Pablo Picasso: $113.4 million (2004)
  7. Irises, Vincent van Gogh: $97.5 million (1987)
  8. Dora Maar au Chat, Pablo Picasso: $97.0 million (2006)
  9. Portrait de l’artiste sans barbe, Vincent van Gogh: $90.1 million (1998)
  10. Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II, Gustav Klimt: $89.1 million (2006)

Japanese industrialist Ryoei Saito bought both #4 and #5 in 1990 and then announced he would have them burned during his cremation. Perhaps fortunately, he later ran into financial difficulties and was forced to sell them.

Naturally

Someone once asked Jean Cocteau, “Suppose your house were on fire and you could remove only one thing. What would you take?”

Cocteau considered, then said, “I would take the fire.”

Careful!

Before conductors used batons, they kept time by banging a long staff against the floor. In January 1687, Jean-Baptiste Lully was conducting a Te Deum in this way when he struck his toe. The wound turned gangrenous, the gangrene spread — and he died.

The “Cat Raphael”

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Born in Bern in 1768, the autistic Gottfried Mind could barely write his name, but on seeing a cat in a painting by his drawing-master, he immediately said, “That is no cat!” The master asked whether he thought he could do better, and Mind produced a drawing so good that the master copied it.

Thereafter Mind worked surrounded by cats, painting them with a remarkable eye for their individual character and occasionally carving them from chestnuts for sport. In the work of other artists it’s said that he liked nothing but the lions of Rubens, Rembrandt, and Paulus Potter, and he looked down even on celebrated cats by Cornelius Vischer and Wenzel Hollar.

“First and last,” said Goethe, “what is demanded of genius is love of truth.”

See Other Canvas

Picasso’s full name was Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Clito Ruiz y Picasso.