5 Answers

  1. Questions about paintings and money at the same time always end up being about money. You can write a treatise on the history of art, but the answer is still ” okay, but a hundred million?” Simply because money is familiar to a person, but art is not. The problem is that money alone does not explain the genealogy of phenomena of which it is not a part – and Newman's picture was written long before the market was established and multimillion-dollar sales.�

    Barnett Newman is probably the most intelligent of the abstract Impressionists – at least in the way his work reflects this. Most abstract expressionists openly described their work as unrepresentative, and this is easy to accept: to perceive Rothko as color, and Pollock as movement. Newman is more difficult to separate from his ideas, because his ideas are directly depicted on the canvas, and his allusions almost always penetrate the titles.

    Much of them is based on classical antiquity, Platonism and its later incarnations. Much is borrowed from the Tanakh or Christianity. Not being a religious person in his own right, Newman was interested in religion as a form of meaning-making, and many of his works are based on biblical motifs: the creation of the world, episodes from the lives of saints, the way of the cross, etc. Sometimes you get the feeling that Newman is part of a philosophical dialogue about whether universals are objects – and claims that they are, and this is what they look like. In any case, the end result was for Newman both an object of pure aesthetics and a rational construction designed for a purely emotional effect.

    And so. “Anna's Light” is a late work. Extremely large. It is supposed to be viewed from a fairly close distance, moving along the canvas, so that the flow of color fills the entire visual field – and believe me, if you have never been in a field of pure red cadmium, you will not be able to imagine what it is.

    But the main thing is that “Anna's Light” reflects both the religious aspect and the purely emotional aspect. It is written for the death of Anne, Newman's mother, who passed away, I think, three years earlier.

    How do I draw everything at the same time? There is the death of the mother, there is the feeling of the death of the mother, there is the death of the mother as a universal image. With them comes the inevitable crisis of feeling at peace on the one hand, and on the other, the hope that in the end, all of us will somehow meet again, with all our departed mothers. This is a question that will never go away – which means that there will always be a lot of answers to it in art. He had his own in antiquity, his own in the Middle Ages, his own in the art of Africa and Oceania, and most of his solutions for the average viewer will be incomprehensible and unusual. And then there's Newman's answer-red, with two stripes: one white, and the other white.

    Such answers are not immediately formulated: no one suddenly decides what red canvases with vertical lines will do. Newman spent quite a long time engaged in much less organized abstract painting, gradually replacing everything superfluous from the composition. This is how cloud work became color fields. But the real breakthrough came in '48 with the painting “Onement I”, which is a narrow vertical canvas with a slightly rough narrow vertical strip in the center – only instead of dividing, it connected. It was a work about oneness and wholeness, rather than about separateness. And so the vertical stripes appeared.

    Newman's color mythology is, of course, mostly emotional, and not always completely consistent: The 14 Passion Stories are fairly monochrome, and the parable of Abraham — potentially the most terrifying story in the Old Testament, but in the end one of the most hopeful-turned out to be black. Newman's red came gradually.

    Why red and white — because Newman wanted it that way. All I can say is that red never comes easily.

    You can, of course, continue to ask why a hundred million. It's a boring question – one museum bought it from another museum, and museums have big budgets, that's all. But it all starts not with the price, but with the picture itself. So it's better if you can, just look at the picture. And for that matter, call your parents.

    (by the way, on the cover of the question — not “Light of Anna”, but “Vir Heroicus Sublimis”)

  2. For the most part, contemporary art does not represent any value and is highly overvalued. All such cases are nothing more than a well-planned action of gallery owners, artists and collectors, aimed solely at extracting financial benefits.

    Only two categories of people buy such works of art:

    • Rich people with a lack of critical thinking and a developed sense of aesthetics, who thoughtlessly and unconsciously follow fashion and want to show off in front of others
    • People for whom the art trade is of professional interest. They earn money by selling such works of the first category of pontoon cutters

    In addition, do not forget about the great variety of various fraudulent or near-almanac manipulations and frauds related to art

    For example, a painting is put up for sale or auction, after which it is repeatedly bought through any anonymous affiliated persons or structures, as a result of which the illusion of an increase in its value is created and it becomes more attractive for acquisition by third-party buyers.

    There is also such a scheme. For example, a businessman earned$200,000 in 2020. He hires an artist for$ 1,000, who draws various kinds of obscure daubs. Next, he asks his appraiser friend to rate this work at$ 200,000, then gives it to a museum and is exempt from paying taxes on this very$ 200,000, while various “particularly smart” art connoisseurs criticize you for not understanding

  3. The art market is separated from art by an insurmountable membrane. Look at what happened only as at the time of purchase and sale. There is no art there.

    I'll tell you more, the art market is governed by tricky laws of price growth. Art there is an investment. The world is inflated by investment bubbles, this is a global trend. In the NFT art market, the following schemes are generally possible: you exhibit art, buy it yourself, and the price increases. So we repeat to the sixth order and brag that we have an expensive job (any! I repeat)

  4. I already left my biologizing position in the comments of Gleb's answer, and I'll leave it here as well. In addition to all the other things listed by other people here, I would focus on the combination of color-emotional reaction and the meaning that the author put in. The moment when the feelings from the “plot” and the reaction of the psyche to colors and shapes coincided, makes some people see in this picture much more than it seems at first glance. And here is a wealthy person who was told about the story that affected him, stands in front of a huge canvas, looking at which, thanks to color-emotional reactions, he feels to some extent what the author has put into his creation. The plot, feelings, feelings – everything coincided. And now a decent amount of money is being paid for the picture.


  5. Because it is beautiful, and beauty should be valued dearly.
    It is better to let people spend money on art than on war.
    I think this is normal.
    25 09.

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