Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I guess it's curiouser and curiouser

In today's New York Times, Randy Kennedy reports that Alex Matter has sold some of his disputed Pollocks to dealer Ronald Feldman. According to the story, Feldman bought some of the works outright and shares ownership of others with Matter. It isn't clear from the story exactly when the sales took place, only that it was sometime before January 2006. Lee Rosenbaum pronounces the story "curiouser and curiouser." Richard Lacayo, on the other hand, says it's "curiouser and curiouser."

Lacayo also says the "important implication [is] that there is now real financial incentive, at least for some people, to legitimize the Matter discoveries as Pollocks" and wonders whether the news "means that [Feldman] knows something we don't, or merely that the art market has become even more irrational than usual." On the latter point, the sale may or may not have been so irrational, depending on the price. The works are said to be worth $40 million or more if authentic. Would it be irrational to pay, say, 10 cents on the dollar on the chance the works are ultimately accepted as genuine Pollocks? Would it have been irrational to do so before the results of the recent Harvard study cast doubt on them?