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Monday, May 10, 2010

Could the Highest Bidder for Jasper Johns' Iconic American Flag Be From An Emerging Market?



(image via Christies Images Ltd)

On Tuesday, Christie's will sell Jasper Johns' iconic Flag. From WSJ:

"Prices for new art fell sharply during the recession, but collectors are still willing to pay top dollar for iconic works by postwar masters like Jasper Johns. On Tuesday, Christie's expects to kick off New York's week-long series of contemporary-art auctions by selling the artist's 'Flag,' for at least $10 million. Collectors say the work, completed in 1966, will likely sell for much more: Mr. Johns's midcentury paintings of U.S. flags rarely come up at auction and the works are credited with helping art history move beyond Abstract Expressionism and into Pop art. Christie's example in textured encaustic comes from the estate of 'Jurassic Park' author Michael Crichton, who bought it directly from the artist in 1973."


If the the recent Sotheby's Impressionist sale in New York is an indicator, the buyer might not come from from these United States, but from a market of emerging wealth. How ironic-symbolic-Spenglerian would it be if Johns's iconic flag -- "the great American novel of modern art" -- the highest bidder was not limited to the wealth parameters of the West.

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