Artist as Con Man

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Sold at Auction for $44 Million


—Newman overwhelms and seduces the viewer with the totality of its sensual, cascading washes of vibrant blue coexisting with Newman’s vertical “Sign” of the human presence, his iconic and revolutionary “zip.” – Sotheby’s description

Barnett Newman (January 29, 1905 – July 4, 1970) was an American artist. He is seen as one of the major figures in abstract expressionism and one of the foremost of the color field painters. His paintings are existential in tone and content, explicitly composed with the intention of communicating a sense of locality, presence, and contingency.[1] – Wikipedia

“I hope that my painting has the impact of giving someone, as it did me, the feeling of his own totality, of his own separateness, of his own individuality.”
– Barnett Newman
“Any art worthy of its name should address ‘life’, ‘man’, ‘nature’, ‘death’ and ‘tragedy’.”
– Barnett Newman
"Onement VI" by Barnett Newman is on display during a preview of Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art sales in New York on May 3, 2013. Sotheby's is scheduled to hold its Impressionist & Modern Art sales May 7. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel DunandEMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

Mr. Barnett, excuse me, I think you forgot to add the word “pretense” to your list. ~ TD

The enlightened residents of the Hamptons on Long Island have embraced the abstract expressionist movement like this work and inflated the prices.

There is so much I want to say, but at this moment I am too angry.

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0 responses to “Artist as Con Man

  1. what is it called? “blue pretentious squares”? and what are they charging for this “masterpiece”?

  2. my bad. 44 million. wow someone has a lot of disposable income.

  3. 44 million eh!!!! only two person smiling the buyer and seller ….. 44 million would have made a lot of people smile …. if used properly. The Canadian government bought an all red canvas spent millions on that too ….. stupidity knows no bounds …… for 22 million I’ll paint one in every colour, would you like that in eggshell or semi gloss?

  4. Con jobs, that’s what they are! Nothing more, nothing less.
    As an umble, ahem, artist myself, I visited a client in Hampstead, (the original one), who was an American psychologist. (Although I hasten to add that my visits had nothing to do with the state of my internal head mechanism.) Hung on her wall was a large battship grey canvas without a frame, of which she was so proud. It was by an American painter. Some years earlier she had paid something like £2,000 for it. It must have taken the painter no more than about 15 minutes to brush or roller the paint on. Whereas my own umble works took weeks or months to complete, for which people expected to buy for pocket money. What an odd world we live in.

    • dawes777, you and I could have a great time over coffee commiserating about the world of an artist. 😀

  5. No painting is worth $44 million, not least one that is simply a wash of blue, displaying neither artistic talent nor imagination nor even rudimentary skills. What lunacy accounts for this grotesquely warped “artistic” judgment? Has post-modern art gone stark raving mad?
    I have a nephew who has Master’s degree in art photography. A couple of years ago, he had an exhibit of his photography, comprised of canvases of solid brown. I kid you not. Each one sells for thousands of dollars.

  6. Looks like half of a ping pong table. No wonder Obama got re-elected, there are lots and lots of stupid people out there…..with money.

    • I just LOVE your description — so apt. I wish I had saved the spatter-paint offerings of my kids from when they were little: I could retire on the proceeds of those masterpieces!

  7. a liberal spending that much on essentially nothing makes perfect sense since they also voted for a “nothing” in the way of o’bama!

  8. So many talented, fine artists would simply like to make a decent living from their art, but cannot, because the art establishment fawns on these pretenders. It breaks my heart. It’s aesthetic treason. People are ensnared and tricked by a realm of experience that should bring beauty and hope to their lives – instead of yet another delusion.

  9. Kevin J Lankford

    Well, at least it’ll never be mistook for a Rembrandt. Can’t really imagine what it will ever be mistook for. certainly not art.

  10. uhm…wait….really? Am I in an alternate universe? Bad is good good is bad black is white up is down, we are circling the drain people make sure you head for the life boats.

  11. Would you help me by purchasing that color from Sherwin-Williams and apply it to my residence so that I can sell it for $44,200,000?

  12. Reblogged this on necltr and commented:
    Art Appreciation 101 for realtors and those seeking sale of own property.

  13. I am not sure which is sadder, that someone spent that much for a piece of nothing, or the fact they can find more than ten words to talk about it.
    I believe someone once said, “there is one born every minute.”

    • Not forgetting that THIS has been “done to death” plenty of times before: minimalism has “been there, done that,” way back in the 1960’s-70’s—I guess that old addage ‘He who does not know history is doomed to repeat it,” pertains to not JUST human events in general…but ART HISTORY, as well.

      • PS…I forgot to add—I challenge everyone to look up Yves Klein’s 1962 painting “Monochrome” and try to convince me that this Newman did NOT plagerize, at a minimum……in addition to being a lazy grifter. SAME painting. SAME shade of royal blue…similar size………Like I said.. …
        History Repeated…….by the ignorant…including the dude/dudess who spent the money to bring it home to his/her living room wall.

  14. It was all about getting the population away from the good, the beautiful, and the true. Gramsci would be proud.

  15. I’ll bet he paid 44 million for something else. He just bought an expensive poker chip and so he could account for what the money was spent on.


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