What's It Worth? Wallflowers Of The Art World: Craggy Old Men

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A recent acquisition from a Florida retiree underscores the desirability, prejudices and ambiguities of fine art that further define valuation. Chinese, Burmese and Indian art have all been on a positive upswing in the past 10 years. As we have humorously written in the past, the most endearing subject for fine art that holds its value over time has always been women. As Katrina has noted, nothing is more naturally beautiful than the female form. The second most popular subject is women with children, as seen in Mary Cassatt’s and similar artists’ works. Another highly sought-after subject is children at play. Following in popularity are myriad subjects, perhaps hundreds before you get to the least-desirable subject art lovers want to hang on their walls: craggy old men. Indeed: if you have been to our office, we have a large painting by a well-known artist that we are unable to sell because it depicts a craggy old man. While we are certain some people collect paintings of craggy old men, we haven’t been able to find those people yet. Correspondingly, we were brought these four incredible watercolors by well-known Burmese artist Yatanabon Maung Su. While the workmanship is incredible, capturing the essence and the garb of the Burmese people, we explained that the only one that is quickly saleable is the painting of the smiling young woman. We bought all four for $200; they are for sale in our gallery for $400. But of course, so far, everyone only wants the smiling young woman and not the craggy old man. Three former Sothebys.com associates and two art historians on staff. Call or email us if you want to deal with Tampa Bay’s leading auctioneer. We have sold the contents of museums and collections for USF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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