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The art world is often associated with rich people and multi million dollar listings. Well, it’s kind of true, we often see in the news the new record high price that an art piece recently sold for. I have always heard of these amazing returns that art collectors would get from selling their art pieces but I have never understood how does art appreciate so drastically in just a few years. It seems like the art business is essentially indestructible. I’ve always wondered why are certain works of art worth so much, how do they become more expensive as a few years go by even when the artist has been dead for hundreds of years, and why art collecting is so lucrative. Through lots of articles and research, I now have an answer to all these questions.The first article I analyzed was “Is Da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ Worth $450 Million or $454,680?” by Jason Zweig of the Wall Street Journal. Leonardo Da Vinci was a Renaissance painter, sculptor, and inventor amongst other things. Da Vinci was extremely well respected and honored while he was alive during the Renaissance. Da Vinci’s most famous work, the ‘Mona Lisa’, was sold to King Francis I of France for four thousand gold ducats. A troy ounce of gold was about thirty-one grams so four thousand ducats would weigh about four hundred and fifty-one ounces of gold. In today’s money, the price of four thousand ducats would be about five hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars. If the ‘Salvator Mundi’ was sold for approximately the same price, the jump from around five hundred thousand dollars to four hundred fifty million three hundred twelve thousand and five hundred dollars is quite a haul. Art has proven to be a better investment than almost any other industry. The ‘Salvator Mundi’ would yield a 1.35%average rate of return compounding every year that it has been in existent (four hundred ninety-eight years). They researched the average rate of return and estimated from 1990 to 2012, fine art produced 2.4% average annual return compared to 1.1% for gold.In history, art pieces are quite volatile to the economy. When there is a high demand of rare and historical art pieces, the economy is probably at a high income equality rate. Art pieces can be decreasing for decades and then surge when the market is hot but time does tell, that fine art is one of the best investments you can make. What makes art different is that art collecting does not stem from financial gain unlike any other type of investment. Finance professors Elroy Dimson and Christophe Spaenjers call art an “emotional asset.” Most of the return on art is psychic, touching the emotions of the buyer not the possible huge profit they might make in however many years in the future.We traditionally hear about the latest Monet or Rembrandt that was recently sold but what about contemporary art. Of course, these are historical artists that become more famous as the years go by. Contemporary artists are just not as praised and famous as their predecessors might have been. Though we might not hear a lot about contemporary artists, sales are still extremely high. In “Contemporary Art Sales: Do I Hear $100 Million?” By Scott Reyburn of the New York Times, Reyburn explores the contemporary art world and how sales compare from historical pieces to art works from the eighties. Famed Japanese contemporary art collector Yusaku Maezawa bought a Jean- Michel Basquiat painting at Sotheby’s contemporary auction in May for over one hundred ten million dollars. Basquiat’s portrait of a skull became the sixth most expensive art piece ever sold at auction. Basquiat joined the over one hundred million club with only ten other works sold for over a hundred million dollars. Through research, I found a pattern in high priced art works sold at auction. Almost all of the expensive art pieces are fromartists that have died. Jean-Michel Basquiat painted “Untitled” in 1982. He died six years later from a drug overdose but after his death he was immortalized. He beat his friend and mentor Andy Warhol, topping the artist’s one hundred five million and six hundred thousand dollar record for a single piece. As of the previous year, Basquiat became the highest-grossing American artist at auction, generating one hundred seventy-one million and five hundred thousand dollars from 80 works, according to Artprice, and his auction high has increased at least tenfold in the last fifteen years.Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips estimated the value of the numerous impressionist, modern, and contemporary art at one billion and six hundred million dollars or more. Some of the artists include Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, Fernand Leger and Franz Kline. As of last November, the same auction had a forty-six percent increase in value.A lost Jackson Pollock was recently found in a garage of an Arizona man headed to a retirement home. A neighbor helping clean out his garage found a signed Los Angeles Lakers poster and called an auctioneer to appraise it. While appraising some of the findings in the garage, he stumbled on a masterpiece worth fifty thousand times more than of the old LA Lakers poster. The auctioneer struggled to link the old Nebraska native to the modern art piece he had in his garage. After three months of the painting lying idle in the auctioneer’s office, he found the connection between the man and the New York modern art world. The man’s step-sister was once a socialite that rubbed shoulders with the prestigious figures of the New York art world such as Clement Greenberg, the founder of Postmodernism, Hazel Guggenheim McKinley, and Jackson Pollock.After 18 months and thousands of dollars later trying to authenticate that it really was a Jackson Pollock painting, a picture was found of the step sister and Hazel GuggenheimMcKinley at a Jackson Pollock art showing where Cosgriff could have reasonably purchased it. After confirming that she was in attendance at some of his shows, forensic experts came in to date the painting. The auctioneer needed to know if the painting in question was painted before Jackson Pollock’s death in 1965, making sure that this can really be a Jackson Pollock painting. The painting “featured an amalgamation of splatters and swirls similar to Pollock’s contemporary style.” They found that the painting was dated anywhere from 1945 to 1949. The painting was authenticated as a lost Jackson Pollock painting even though it was severely damaged. The untitled painting sat in a house for years with heavy smokers and years in a damp garage that unfortunately resulted in the discoloration of the painting. Arizona is an odd region for modern art such as Pollock’s. The region is home to more traditional southwest art. The “eccentric shapes and abstract details were ‘really weird'” for someone to own in the Midwest. The dark, cream-colored swirls in the painting would have most likely been bright white. The restoration process would entail many weeks of hand cleaning the painting and restoring it to its original color. This painting was one of Pollock’s missing gouaches, a specific style of painting that used water and binding agents that he did in the 1940s. This lucky find is expected to be anywhere from ten million to fifteen million dollars. Bidding starts at five million dollars- surpassing the three hundred dollar value of the old Los Angeles Lakers poster.The art world is extremely lucrative and very profitable. For most art collectors, it is the joy of having an art masterpiece rather than the worth that it holds. Even though some art costs up to five hundred million, it is not about the monetary value but the message that the art piece holds that moves so many. Not only does historical artists such as a Da Vinci go for such steep prices but also newer more contemporary pieces are going for millions as well. The lost Pollock starts at five million compared to the Renaissance period’s “Salvator Mundi” that just sold for

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