Entries in Artwork (6)


Paintings and Rare Diamond Sell at Auction for Millions

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- You may still be counting pennies while the economy slowly recovers, but some folks are confident enough to spend millions on fine art and diamonds.  

A painting by abstract artist Mark Rothko was sold at auction Tuesday at Sotheby’s in New York City for $75.1 million dollars.

Rothko’s "No. 1 (Royal Red and Blue)" from 1954 was sold to a telephone bidder for $67 million -- $75.1 million with Sotheby’s fees.  Earlier in the evening at the same auction, a Jackson Pollock painting sold for more than $40 million.

Meanwhile, across the pond in Europe, a 76-carat colorless diamond was sold at Christie’s in Geneva Tuesday for more than $21.5 million, including commission.  

The price paid for the Archduke Joseph Diamond was more than triple the price paid for it at auction almost two decades ago.  Christie’s says the sale set a record price per carat for a colorless diamond.

The diamond came from a mine in India and was named after Archduke Joseph August of Austria.  The buyer wished to remain anonymous.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Costco Adds Fine Art to Its Inventory

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Costco is famous for stretching the dollar.  From groceries to electronics, beauty supplies to sporting goods, the warehouse club retailer offers it all, and now it’s adding something else to its inventory -- fine art.

Can you imagine getting a Matisse lithograph or an Andy Warhol just over $1,000 each?

Lots of people apparently have jumped at that chance.  Since the pieces were listed on Costco’s website two weeks ago, they’ve all sold out, including Kiku, a Warhol print that was being offered for $1,349.99; the Matisse lithograph, Femme au Chapeau, for $1,049; and Figure by Georges Braque, for $1,549.99.

Costco keeps the costs below those of many art galleries by charging no more than a 14 percent mark-up -- the same maximum mark-up on all the other items it sells.

The artwork will join other luxury offerings at Costco, including fine jewelry and designer wedding dressings.

The sale of fine art is certainly not new to discount chains.  In the 1970s, Sears offered Picassos, Rembrandts and Chagalls through its catalog.

Costco, too, has made a foray into the sales of fine art before, but it put a stop to that aspect of its operation when questions were raised about the authenticity of the some of the works it had sold.

The art comes with a certificate of authenticity and a money-back guarantee.  Purchasers can get a full refund within 90 days of purchase.

Costco declined to comment to ABC News on Sunday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Painting Bought for $9.99 at Goodwill Valued at $15K

Adam Gault/Thinkstock(OAK RIDGE, N.C.) -- When Beth Feeback bought two large paintings at $9.99 each from a Goodwill store in North Carolina, the artist intended to paint over them. It’s a good thing she didn’t.

One of the paintings turned out to be the work “Vertical Diamond” by notable 20th century artist Ilya Bolotowsky, and Sotheby’s, the world-famous auction house, has valued it at between $15,000 and $20,000.

Sotheby’s will auction the painting Sept. 21, Feeback said Monday.

Feeback, 45, described the series of events that led her to the painting. She and her husband had gone to display their own artwork April 28 at an art fair in Oak Ridge, N.C. The day was chilly and Feeback hadn’t dressed for the weather. She remembered having passed a Goodwill store on the way to the fair, so she asked her husband, Steve, to watch their things so she could go to the store to find a blanket or afghan to cover up.

She quickly found a throw and a pair of gloves. Then she spotted two large paintings done in red, white and blue.

“I thought they would be awesome canvases. They were $9.99 a piece and I just thought they would be great to just draw on them and paint over them because I didn’t like them as paintings. They were really ‘70s kind of looking, but not ‘70s in that fun, kitschy way, ‘70s in a different way that I don’t really enjoy, so I was like, ‘I’m going to paint big cat heads or whatever,’” Feeback, who specializes in pet portraits, said. “I was going to paint on them and so I bought them.”

She showed them to a friend at the art fair, and her friend spotted labels on the backs of the canvases that read: “Weatherspoon Art Gallery. University of North Carolina -- Greensboro.” Her friend told her to find out more about the paintings before she painted them over.

Feeback took the canvases home and they languished in her art studio until mid-June. She nearly painted over them a few times.

“But I decided, you know, I’ll check, I’ll Google these guys. The first one I Google was Bolotowsky. And I Google it and the first thing I saw was the Wikipedia page and I was like, ‘Holy crap. I better get those up off the floor over there,’” she recalled. “And then it just went crazy. When I saw what it was I thought, ‘This painting has got to be worth something, but what do I do now? I don’t know anything about selling a valuable painting.’  We made $200 at the art show that day.”

Bolotowsky was an abstract painter who fled his native Russia and settled in Brooklyn in 1923.  He died in 1981.

On the advice of friends, she contacted Sotheby’s in New York, sending pictures of the painting and the labels on the front and back. They got back to her with the news, and asked her to send them the painting.

She and her husband shipped the Bolotowsky canvas via UPS, insuring it for $20,000, she said.

Feeback said she came close to never having even seen the paintings. The previous owners were a married couple who had bought the paintings at a textile company’s liquidation sale and they planned to put them in the basement of their home, but the canvases were simply too large.

They tried to sell them at a church yard sale April 28, but when no one expressed interest, they took them to the Goodwill. Feeback showed up at that store that same afternoon and made her lucky find.

Feeback said she has been in touch with the woman who used to own the painting.

“She was so kind and so, you know, generous in spirit about the whole thing because she wished us well and she said … ‘It’s one of those things and it must have been meant to be,’ and such dear people and so I thank them a lot, you know, for being so kind about it,” she said.

The couple has taken Feeback up on her offer to paint them a picture of their late cat, Buttons.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Andy Warhol’s "Double Elvis" Sells for $37 Million

Oli Scarff/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Andy Warhol’s “Double Elvis” sold for just over $37 million at auction at a Sotheby’s contemporary art sale in New York Wednesday night.

The silver silkscreen image of Presley depicted as a cowboy shooting from the hip sold for exactly $37,042,500.  It had been expected to sell in the range of $30-$50 million.

The painting, which was first displayed in Los Angeles’ Ferus Gallery in 1963, was sold by a private collector living in the U.S., who acquired it in 1977.

According to Sotheby’s, this is the first “Double Elvis” to appear on the market since 1995.  Warhol created 22 images of Elvis, with nine of them currently in museum collections and the others in private collections.

The most expensive Warhol ever sold went for $71.7 million in 2007 when Christie’s auctioned off his “Green Car Crash -- Green Burning Car I.”

The contemporary art auction also included Roy Lichtenstein’s “Sleeping Girl” and Francis Bacon’s “Figure Writing Reflected In Mirror,” which sold for $44,882,500 and $44,882,500, respectively.

The auction comes less than a week after after Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” sold for $119.9 million, an auction record.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Iconic ‘Scream’ Painting Sells for Almost $120M

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- One of four versions of Edvard Munch’s 1895 masterpiece, “The Scream,” sold at auction for a record $119,922,500 at Sotheby’s in New York Wednesday.

The sale shattered the old record price for an artwork sold at auction. Christie’s sold Pablo Picasso’s “Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust” for $106.5 million in 2010.

“The Scream’s” image of a figure shivering with anxiety as a blood-red sky streaks and swirls overhead has transcended a century as a defining image of human angst. It has been copied on shirts, posters and even a magazine cover.

The iconic painting is being sold by Petter Olsen, a Norwegian businessman whose father was Munch’s neighbor in Hvitsen, Norway, and a patron of the expressionist artist’s work.

It is one of four versions of “The Scream” in existence. Three are in Norwegian museums.

The auctioned version, which is the only one in private hands, is differentiated by its hand-painted frame that includes a poem detailing the inspiration for the painting. It is also the most colorful of the four paintings, and the only one in which one of the two background figures looks toward the cityscape, Sotheby’s said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Elizabeth Taylor’s Van Gogh Sells for $16 Million

Oli Scarff/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Late actress Elizabeth Taylor’s artwork sold for far more than expected when her unsigned Vincent Van Gogh piece “Vue de l’Asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Rémy” sold for $16 million at an impressionist/modern art auction held at Christie’s International in London.

The $16 million purchase price was double the painting’s estimate and was sold to a mystery buyer.  Taylor purchased the Van Gogh painting in 1963 and kept it all her life, hanging it above her mantle, according to the auction house.

The Oscar-winning actress and beauty icon who passed away in March at the age of 79 had acquired a fantastic collection of artwork created by artists like Van Gogh, Pissarro and Degas throughout her legendary career.

Another painting from Taylor’s collection, “Pommiers à Éragny” by Camille Pissarro, also more than doubled its estimated price and sold for $4.6 million. A third, “Autoportait,” by Edgar Degas was estimated to sell for $500,000 but sold instead for $1.1 million.

The works were sold on the first day of a two-day auction of Taylor’s collection. On Wednesday, Christie’s will sell an additional 35 pieces from the actress’s collection, including the works of artists like Renoir, Miro and Magritte.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio