The Suitcase Lady


May 15, 2012, 9:40 pm

Quick….if you had $120 million to spend on art, what would you buy?

This tantalizing question was raised by Holland Cotter, the Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times art critic. The recent sale of one of Edvard Munch’s paintings, “The Scream”, for that price prompted Mr. Cotter to muse on what he would purchase if so endowed with cash.

His answer was “no” to the Munch and “yes” to an “encyclopedic mini-museum for the same dollars”.

What art would I buy if that windfall came my way? My taste runs to classical, calm and modern art. I don’t like screaming in my art, even though I understand that the purpose of some art is to scream very loudly.

Paintings by Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Diebenkorn and Wayne Thiebaud would be on my shopping list. A supersize Claus Oldenberg sculpture for the yard would be lovely as well. When shopping for art, $120 million isn’t hard to spend.

Fortunately, I am in complete agreement with Holland Cotter when he concludes his article with these words:

“Personally I love ideas as much as objects, not that I can separate them: I feel ideas are as sensuous as things.

What I collect are experiences-traveling, seeing, being there, anywhere. For me “The Scream” will always mean the memory of a moody Oslo twilight from decades ago. The value of that experience to me is beyond price. When I hear $120 million, I think of how many experiences, for how many people, that might have bought.”

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