Friday, February 05, 2010

Art and “Irrational Exuberance”

Back in 1956, a year we posted about recently, the architect for Chase
Manhattan's new headquarters in New York's financial district must have felt Wall Street could use some culture. Alberto Giacometti was commissioned to create a set of sculptures for Chase Manhattan Plaza. Giacometti never completed the project, but eventually he did have bronze casts made of the components he was most satisfied with.

One of those bronzes, Walking Man I, sold at a Sotheby's auction in London on February 3 for the equivalent of $92.5 million – $104.3 million including fees. That's a new world record – the highest price ever fetched by a work of art at auction.

Sotheby's expected the Giacometti to bring around $20-$30 million. See? Despite the pale and sickly stock market, irrational exuberance is alive and flourishing.

Should any work of art be worth the kind of money usually associated with bonuses at investment banks? As Julie Bloom reports in the NY Times, that's a question much debated.

No comments: