£10,000,000 Hockney

Copenhagen, Denmark: An art work which is part of the project SevenMeters, using red blinking LED-light, to symbolise that the world is moving towards a climate catastrophe – 24km of red blinking lights will appear during the climate summit

I read recently that David Hockney’s large painting “Bigger Trees near Water” has been valued at ten million quid. As it’s been given to the Tate by the artist, the Tate’s estimate of £10m won’t be tested on the market. It’s rather like the police’s “street value” of drugs they seize – there’s no way of knowing how accurate it is.

Now, I know very little about money but when I think of all the deserving people, and causes, who are desperately short of money I can’t help feeling there’s something wrong here.

I admire a lot of modern (and “modernist”) painting: Mark Rothko is among my favourites. I think “Bigger Trees near Water” is rather a nice picture, but is it really worth ten million as a work of art? One reason anyone would pay ten million for it is because they expect its value to double or treble when the artist dies, I suppose.

One thing about a tangible artefact like an original painting is that the thing itself can be owned. Of course someone could buy the manuscript of “The Minotaur” (if it were for sale) but you couldn’t own the opera in the same way as you can own a painting.

I know some visual artists are dissatisfied with this situation and some have tried to create works of art that cannot be owned, for example Martin Creed and his illuminated empty room.

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2 Responses to “£10,000,000 Hockney”

  1. ummmmmm Martin Creed has sold this work a number of times – in varous editions (I believe)
    including MoMA in NYC….
    http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?object_id=101549

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