December 1, 2008



December 1, 2008


It’s the poor that give
to the poor.
Those who can actually afford it walk by
the outstretched hand and box
with sneering dismissal.

“Get a job”, they whisper under their peppermint breath,
knowing, as bosses,
they would never hire some bum
begging on a street corner.

“Have a nice day, anyway”

Spitting on a well-polished shoe
gets you six months’ jail time;
letting the poor starve
gets your picture in “Newsweek”.

Go figure.

[I wrote this in 1998.  It is still true today as I witnessed just this morning]

Good Fine Art Falls Like The Dow

December 1, 2008

The Dow fell 7% today.  Perhaps this was the hangover from the terrible results of the Jeanne Lanvin auction at Christies in Paris this morning.  Pre-sale estimates were for a total sale of between Euros 13 million and 19.7 million.   Total sales actually realised:  just Euros 7.7 million.   One has to wonder how many guaranteed prices Christies are eating tonight.

The big picture — Renoir’s Tapisseries dans le parc — failed to sell.   Of the other high-priced pre-sale estimates, another Renoir barely cleared its 800,000 minimum, as did the delightful L’embarcadère à Trouville by Eugene Boudin.   A third Renoir found 1.15 million against the anticipated minimum of 1.2 million, and Picasso’s La Coiffure fetched Euros 840,000 against an expected low of 1 million.  Both Degas’ Femme au chapeau bleu and Mademoiselle Salle, each estimated at around Euros 1 million, failed to find buyers.

There were some successes, however.  Pieces by Pierre Bonnard, Jean-Louis Forain, Eduard Vuillard, Roger de la Fresnaye — along with Renoir’s jeune fille — all sold well over their pre-sale highs.