According to an article that appeared in the New York Times yesterday, Pablo Picasso's "Nude, Green Leaves and Bust" broke a world record as the most expensive work of art ever sold at an auction.
The painting, which the article says "is considered a seminal work from a high point of Picasso's career," sold to an unidentified buyer for $106.5 million.
Today however, the Times' Holland Cotter published an unimpressed critique on the sale and the piece itself.
These days, there’s so much money in so many hands, and so many of those hands are after trophy art, that record-breaking has become routine, de rigueur.
A few months ago, Alberto Giacometti's "Walking Man I" bronze sculpture set the record at $104.3 million.
“Nude, Green Leaves and Bust” and other paintings from its period are old and easy, art as usual. They keep to the known, the pleasure zone; they keep old orders firm, artist over subject, man over woman, woman as thing, a pink blob with closed eyes.
Cotter's piece hints at the disappointment some art lovers feel in the piece. It's pretty, after all, but not a "Guernica" by any means. One reader commented: "If this exceptionally minor painting is worth $106.5 million, then what would a truly great painting, such as Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' go for? A trillion dollars?"