Originally Posted by vc2000
Years ago I met a Gentleman that everyone thought his art was the real thing. People would fawn over his "collection" but he would never say much. His circumstances indicated the art was real...he had a penthouse in NYC, villa in France, private island in warm waters. That was just some of the real estate.
It turned out that in Paris many of the art schools have students copy the works of the masters to learn techniques. He would just gather up the best of those copies from poor art students and hang them on his walls. No was the wiser. I only found out when I offered to buy a property from him and stated that I couldn't afford the artwork. He laughed telling me that he would throw it in and told me the truth.
I always found that amusing. He had such an air about his that no questioned him. It reminds me of an Aunt that I had that would pour cheap wine into a better labeled bottle. She saved the good stuff for herself and let the guests suffer.
Today when I see what is supposed to be a really great piece of art I wonder if it is the real thing or just a copy. I admit I don't know much about art. It does seem a little silly to have a piece of art worth $130+million that you put your elbow through.
The $130 million pricetag is partly a result of wealthy buyers speculating on a potential return of investment. I think its widely assumed that the artists are making money on these transactions. Not quite true. If the artist is still living, high auction prices can affect higher gallery prices. But if the artist is dead- buyers /collectors buy and sell for profit much like securities trading, and the auction house gets a cut.