The sale of an 1892 oil painting of two Tahitian girls by Paul Gauguin this week has set a new record for the most expensive artwork ever purchased – and Qatar is reportedly the buyer.
Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?) belonged to a Swiss collector and was on loan to the Kunstmuseum Basel in Switzerland for nearly fifty years.
According to the New York Times, two art dealers said that the painting had been purchased by a Qatari.
However, though the previous owner Rudolf Staechelin confirmed the sale, he did not say to whom the painting went.
“I don’t deny it and I don’t confirm it,” he told the NYT when asked about whether Qatar was the buyer.
According to the newspaper:
“Gauguin’s Tahiti-period paintings are among the most admired and coveted artworks of the Post-Impressionist period. This particular piece, focusing on the enigmatic interplay between two girls in a Polynesian landscape, was painted during the first of the artist’s two spells living in Tahiti.
The painting will still be on display at a special Gauguin exhibition opening this month in Basel at the Beyeler Foundation and then the collection will travel to the Reina Sofía museum in Madrid and the Phillips Collection in Washington. The buyer will take ownership next January, Mr. Staechelin said.”
In an email to Doha News, a Qatar Museums spokesperson said it is not QM’s policy to comment on acquisitions.
But breaking world records would not be a new development for the authority.
In 2011, QM reportedly spent some $250 million for Cezanne’s The Card Players – more than double the price that had ever been paid for a single work of art on auction.
That painting has yet to make a public appearance in Qatar, but the expectation is that it will be on display at the National Museum when it opens in 2016.
Last year, Qatar was also rumored to have bought Pablo Picasso’s famous Child With a Dove painting, which sold for $74.5 million. The artwork had been in the UK for 85 years and was sold privately at a Christie’s auction in 2012.
There was also chatter that QM purchased Edvard Munch’s The Scream, but that purchase turned out to belong to American businessman Leon Black.
I really don’t get art sometimes?! That, THAT, is the most expensive piece of art ever sold? Wow, just wow.
Art and the Art Market are two separate entities; aesthetic worth hasn’t a lot to do with monetary worth.
The Art market is a business and a financial investment on unique items (and in this case one of the most well known Gauguin’s in existence).
Something else completely unique and famous will replace this work as the most expensive sooner or later…the art market only goes one-way.
A quote on the sale from the Independent:
‘He said there were about 20 people who would compete for art over $150m from around the world, but added wealthy individuals were using art as an investment. “We’re seeing a huge amount of build-up of private wealth, and we’re seeing those people allocate funds disproportionately to art collections,” he said.
“It has become increasingly popular; it’s the ultimate status symbol to be surrounded by $500m or $1bn worth of art which no one else can have. People see art as a fantastic long-term store of wealth. People think if they buy the best you’ll never lose money and in times of crisis you will get it back, whereas holding the yen or euro could be a disaster.” ‘
You sound like a dude who styles brown leather shoes and goes by the job title of art advisor …
It’s taken me a lifetime to transition to the umber pigmented pedal incasements….ever since a woman opined that the minority fashion for fawny footwear is the mark of ‘one sexy mother’!
I have now mostly forgone the sheepish attachment to obsidian attire around my tootsies.
As for advising…it’s more that I do, rather than advise…..though for a fee my advice shall be forthcoming.
Oh, and Gauguin was a very naughty boy….died of syphilis, don’t ya know! All those girls in Tahiti.
The Qatari authorities don’t know this, Moleskine. They are innocent and stupid. If they had known what kind of guy Gaugin had been, they would have thought twice not to insult the Islamic population here. But, what can you do when amateurs rule a country.
Could you please give me more information about Gaugin.
Don’t be so lazy. The Internet holds all the information you will ever need.
Here’s our boy!
Here you are Marzook, a short history of the more salacious aspects of Gauguin’s life:
Gauguin was both a syphilitic paedoph*le and an artist more important than Van Gogh. His work had a huge impact on 20th century painting influencing Picasso, Matisse, the German Expressionists and later abstract art.
Much of the power of his most famous works – the Polynesian-b*be paintings – derives from our uncomfortable knowledge of the context they were created in. Although rendered innocent and unerotic, these brown-skinned nudes were more than just Gauguin’s models; they were his s*x slaves, too.
After dumping his wife and five kids in Paris, Gauguin moved to the South Pacific islands of Tahiti and Hiva Oa. He took three native brides – aged 13, 14 and 14, infecting them and countless other local girls with syphilis. He named the hut he lived in La Maison du Jouir (“The House of O*gasm”).
Fraudulent tales, false sources for his work, brawling and self-aggrandisement are also laid at his door.
In 1903, due to a problem with the church and the government, he was sentenced to three months in prison,and charged a fine. He died of syphilis before he could start the prison sentence. His body had been weakened by alcohol and a dissipated life. He was 54 years old.
Sorry about the *’s – seems like the discus word detector sent it straight to moderation
Yep, for sure he was not unique. Check Mr. Gustave Flaubert, a famous French writer but a pervert. Anyway, having several wives that age is not uncommon even today. Check what is happening in Saudi.
are you sure he was not a Saudi with that record?
If he does then this would be an off-topic comment and should be deleted by the admin. Are you too lazy to check Wikipedia?
Ultimately, art like currency is only worth what people are willing to pay for it. And while it may also have some intrinsic value if there’s ever the scope of currency collapse such as you mention it would compete with other things that hold intrinsic value in that circumstance. And here I doubt people would trade their stocks of gold or diamonds for a Gauguin.
You are correct of course that it is artificial but I would argue that something like this Gauguin is rarer than gold or diamonds, and its a finite resource; no more will ever be created. The billionaires of this world prefer using art as a currency rather than gold or diamonds.
Perhaps, except you’re still assessing the issue in the context of a functioning economy whereas the journalist presented a dire situation where extrinsic (paper) currencies have collapsed. In that imagined situation if you go back to your Money & Banking textbook and look at the functions of currency you’ll find portability, consistency as a store of value, ability to be fungible as a commodity while retaining intrinsic value to be basic elements for preference. That’s why gold and silver coins lasted as long as they did. By contrast, the uniqueness and fragility of a painting in this distressed economic situation actually makes it something to hoard and hide not barter, trade or exchange. In such economic collapse circumstances where there would be chaos and looting it seems unlikely you could to take your painting or a pluck off a corner of it down to the market to buy yourself some rations.
You also run the risk of some numpty putting an elbow through it…
So Cezanne’s artwork will be displayed in the Qatar National Museum? I think some people at QM are stretching the definition of “national” to include anything that came to Qatar regardless of its origins 🙂
The Qatar National Museum houses the national collection i.e. the collection belonging to the Nation, not a private individual. I would assume the money for the Gauguin, and the Cezanne before it, was paid for with public money.
Does the British museum only contain things from Britain? Of course not, not a frequent visitors to museums I guess…..
The British Museum is NOT a “national” museum. MIA at the Corniche is also not a national museum. Therefore you can find in it anything related to the themes covered by the museum.
Now tell me where would this sit in a museum about pearls, faclonry, oil, gas and desert life? Because these will be the main themes of the Qatar national museum.
See my reply to you earlier
This is a weird conception of the national museum. I have an idea about the Qatar National Museum as I have friends working there and at QM and I am afraid your definition is not right. They are working hard to make it an architectural masterpiece, and to fit it with the latest technology in order to hide its biggest issue: the lack of an interesting and valuable Qatari collection. Paul Cezanne and the others are not part of the plan for now. There were talks previously of a Modern Art Museum, something like Mathaf that is international rather than Arab-focused, but I am not sure if they are planning to go ahead with it.
Mathaf is Arab focused. Its the Arab Museum of Modern Art, offering an Arab perspective on modern and contemporary art
Yes. I said that in my comment. I did not get your point.
Ah yes, sorry I misread your post…I head it as you meant Mathaf was international rather than Arab focused
Useless painting and waste of money
Blatter saw this and was like whaaaat they bought for cheap .. Better kick up a storm and get a raise lol … I joke I joke
Guess what, this actually might be true. 😛
The value of art can’t be measured in terms of money, however, if 300 Million dollar had been invested for the prosperity of under privileged workers in the country, I’m sure it would have resulted a much more value in layman’s mind.
I don’t know of any under privileged Qatari workers in the country. If you mean the foreign workforce, why should Qatar susidise other countries nationals? Do you know of any other country that does that?
seriously people in the comments are just already ready to say anything negative about Qatar although sometmes their are things that are bad but come on if it was another country you wouldn’t have said those things you only say those because you are cowards behind a damn computer or a phone that wouldn’t dare do what they say.
What other country spent $300 million on a painting ?
still their are other countries that are going to break this recored cause the previous onw was propablt 250million dollars so why don’t you go and say that to that country or the one that’s going to break Qatar’s such an idiot so please i said please don’t talk to me again if you think in this way!!!!
U speak english?
You said a country pays $300 million for art work? I’m asking you to give us an example of a country that pays $300 million for an art work .. You made the claim so give us evidence that backs your claim
The previous one at $250m was the Cezanne bought by……..wait for it…………….Qatar!
Only need a Van Gogh and they’ve got the big 3 Post-Impressionists. Mind you a decent van Gogh is going to be more than $300m
What A_qtr said is true. Countries rarely pay huge sums of money towards art, and 300 million dollars is not something any country would pay especially in these times of financial and economic turmoil. Usually countries fund museums up to 20 or 30 per cent of their budget. The rest comes from the sales of tickets and mostly from donators. Rich people are more likely to pay millions for art, either because they are crazy about art or because they see it as a very lucrative long-term investment.
Or maybe they want Qatar to be famous.Because Qatar is not known by 80% of the people around the world.Back in US when I talked about Qatar people mostly thought it’s name of a fruit of something.Most of the people only know DUBAI in the middle east (Dubai not UAE).
maybe yes but since u think Qatar is nothing why are you bothering yourself with this? LOL so pathetic coming from a person who country doesnt even value them. Bye loser!
It’s their money, they want to buy paintings it’s their business. Better than spending it in tanks and planes.
I agree with you only if Qatar has solved most of its major problems , for example , 98% of Qatar’s Food is imported , don’t you think its time to invest more in turning this percentage lower , If Saudi Arabia for instance decided to withhold exports of EGG , Milk & Chicken ( Maraai , Nadec & Nada ) due to local demand and supply , how would this painting benefit us ??
I seriously don’t know what people expect. Qatar gets some money in the last 20 years for the first time in its history and people think it will become a utopian paradise overnight.
I agree however if Saudi closed the border then Qatar would be screwed overnight but growing food in Qatar is not a priority. It is still cheaper for them to import it than grow it itself. If Saudi stopped importing then get it from the UAE or temproraily airlift it in until a long term solution can be found They probably have an emergency plan in place anyway.
I think don’t think it’s exceedingly better than spending money on tanks and planes, but it is beneficial to the country’s legacy. It will be able to market itself not only as the sports capital of the Middle East, but also as an art capital.
Qatar is also rumored to have spent $100 million buying Cezanne’s “La Montagne Sainte-Victoire vue du bosquet du Château Noir” in December 2014.
I’ve always found the bottle of wine in the “Card Players” painting an amusing contradiction for Qatar.
The story is confusing (or poorly written).
Was the painting purchased by the nation of Qatar or a private citizen? There is big difference, because a nation doing it in times of financial turmoil is open to public scrutiny; the latter doing it is his/her own business and reflects only on an individual.
I hate to say it, but this sort of misleading headline is just baiting people. It’s like saying ‘Russia bombs Boston Marathon’ because one of the suspects was a Russian citizen.
It’s only speculation that Qatar bought the painting….the buyer has not been publicly named
Haha, Qatar’s government spending open to public scruntiny…. next you will be telling me the Emir publishing his salary and expenditure each year for review….
That painting sucks. It looks like something Stevie Wonder painted. I wouldn’t hang it in my shed.
If I was Qatar, here’s what I would spend my money on. First, education & research… so according to me, they’re going in the right direction by building education city. Second, I would spend money on turning the entire country from desert to grassland and forest, etc. and then putting in wild animals to live there. Many plants can survive in this sun and temperature, as long as they have water. I know it would take a lot of money to water these plants, but there’s evidence to suggest that nature could eventually take over this task… more clouds could form over the country.. more rain could come… the desert could be gone. Not to mention– the neighboring GCC countries would definitely come here for tourism because this is something they don’t have, at this scale.
Thank God people like you are not among the decision-makers in this country 🙂
Heh, maybe so. But my point was, be DIFFERENT. Why strive be another dubai? Be something that no one in this region has. A real oasis, physically and spiritually.
So you want to mess up the ecosystem and turn the desert into a rain forest? Not a very good idea, I think I’d rather they bought art.
It is a good idea.. read this: http://phys.org/news/2013-07-trees-mitigate-climate.html
excerpt: The new Earth System Dynamics study shows that one hectare of Jatropha curcas could capture up to 25 tonnes of atmospheric carbon dioxide per year, over a 20 year period. A plantation taking up only about 3% of the Arabian Desert, for example, could absorb in a couple of decades all the CO2 produced by motor vehicles in Germany over the same period. With about one billion hectares suitable for carbon farming, the method could sequester a significant portion of the CO2 added to the atmosphere since the industrial revolution.
By the end Let us agree on the following points
Buying Paintings is Haram (not allowed in Islam )useless and extragegant.
The 300 Million dollar painting could help thousands of Somali Muslim Families.
I can say no more because I may be considered fanatic or extremist.
For more communication my Email
Was that the follow up band to Duran Duran?
since Qatar is one among top richest country in the world buying such expensive painting is not impossible.
please search and support rare talent and rare art work in your news paper. LOK NATH VERMA