Value for money

Behind the scenes

The value of art

Christchurch Star, 29 March 1967, p.15

Christchurch Star, 29 March 1967, p.15

So screamed The Star in 1967 when Marcel Duchamp came to town. The article's unnamed writer then assessed the show according to the monetary value of each work: number 75 was worth a cool $75,000, but the pick of the exhibition was clearly number 57, worth a super-sizzling $150,000. The favourite punctuation mark is the exclamation point.


It's easy to sneer, but has anything really changed? the BBC has just broadcast The World's Most Expensive Paintings presented by the Daily Telegraph's art reviewer Alastair Sooke. This explores the fabulous collectors and fabulous prices at the very top of the market. The extraordinarily high prices still beggar belief when compared with more mundane things like cars and houses but the whole sorry business remains as hideously fascinating as it did in 1967.

Incidentally, this programme forms part of the BBC's Art Revealed season, broadcast free, in prime time, which is predictably enough...