Monday, 11 July 2011

'The World's Most Expensive Paintings'

I tuned in to BBC1's 'The World's Most Expensive Paintings' last night, to be confronted with Rothko's 'White Center' work at number 10, which sold for $72,840,000. That is 72.84 million dollars, about 45 million pounds sterling - more than enough for a new cancer hospital I should imagine. 
This 'masterpiece' as you can see consists of a band of orange paint, a band of black, a band of white in the middle (hence the brilliantly cunning title) and a band of pink on a red ground. 

Then we had the usual burk of an art dealer pontificating about the genius of the 'work'. You can see more examples of Rothko's genius at

unless, that is, you've got something better to do, like watch some paint dry (excuse the pun).  If you do have a look, you will see that he really expanded on his brilliant concept of painting horizontal bands of colour, even using different colours on some.

I wonder if Mr Rothko really thought he was a genius and believed the hype heaped upon him by prize prats like the art dealer in the film, or was he just taking the mick and couldn't believe that deluded idiots would pay huge sums of money for garbage and so painted loads more to secure his future?  

What an arse-about-face world we live in, when when the mere fact that a Russian oligarch will pay ludicrous sums for something painted by a 'named' artist, regardless of its artistic merit, which, in Rothko's case is self-evidently  close to zero.

At least the genius of Rembrandt or Rubens is self-evident, whilst Rothko, Pollock and similar pillocks who think they have talent, are yet again classic nailed-on cases of the King's new clothes, and I wish a few more artists would come out of the woodwork and tell the truth about this garbage foisted on us, especially by the BBC. I will argue to my grave against this crap masquerading as art.  It might be visually pleasing, but it DOES NOT require any skill whatsoever, just an idea.

Words nearly failed me, but not quite. 


  1. Oh my,
    I missed the programme. Perhaps you could let me know what the name and contact details of the art dealer are so I can offer up some of my dabblings. Think I could expand into a 'Triangle' shape period - could be worth a few million or so? I am in the wrong job. I suggest you take a leaf out of Rothko's book, I could offer my services as an art manager and get commission on your paintings as well - providing we can make millions. Interested? Email me.
    Regards Terry Collier Esq

  2. I think I know where Rothko got his divine inspiration for this magnificent painting from. In my opinion it is undoubtedly modelled on a Liquorice Allsort. I am just off down to the shop now to buy a big bag, then I will paint a batch and flog them for a fortune.
    Terry Collier Esq

  3. when I saw that show was on, I thought to myself, I bet Barker will put himself though watching that and I looked forward to your blog post from that moment ;) you never disappoint! would love it if they'd give you a tv show of your own, worth the licence fee by itself I reckon

  4. Hi Mary,
    Hope you are now both settled in Wales! Peter told me you had moved recently. last we met we were in the ice-cream queue at Patchings.
    Peter knows me better under the alias of 'Terry' and himeself 'Bob' - since I am always giving him advice - not always the right type ha ha!!!!
    I concur.....we should petition the BBC - Peter should definately, have his own show...should be very entertaining!!!

  5. Just discovered your blog, and this post and had to pop in and say: "My thoughts EXACTLY!" It is as if you've been reading my mind... for years! Couldn't (and wouldn't) have said it any differently.
    And your art is pretty wonderful too! :)
    All the best,

  6. Hang on a minute. I think you've missed the point. The mastery of this piece simply cannot be fully experienced on a digital computer screen. The textural gestures, the complementary juxtapositions - these are the very essence of art itself. Not for this artist the prison-like constraints of representation of real-world objects. No, he relishes the challenge of capturing the essence of life in the simplicity of mark making. Let's not also forget that... no, sorry, I can't do this. I think I held it together for a little while there but seriously, I just don't get it.

    Love your work though.

  7. At Andy - you had me worried there for a moment! Bravo, join the bandwagon against this crap!
    Thanks for the comment.
    Regards, Peter

  8. I railed against it for years until I finally decided that it's as different to what I do, and want to do, as tiling roofs. Now I mostly shrug my shoulders at it (it makes for a very fast visit to our nearest public gallery).

    I think some of the purveyors of this kind of thing know full-well what they're doing while others are probably like people who convince themselves they're psychic healers and somehow get other people to pay the price of believing them.

  9. To Andy,

    I couldn't agree more - some are self deluded and others are deluding the Gallery owners and the burks who buy the stuff!

    Such a shame that most public galleries and the media are only too happy to promote the Emporer's new clothes.

  10. Bit late joining this discussions, but I blogged about something similar a while back and thought you might enjoy this - saves making up your own Artists Statement!!

  11. For anyone that doesn't just want to rail against how expensive and pointless the painting is, maybe try to understand why it's important and why someone else thought it might be so valuable. Not that the Russian oligarch can appreciate its value, but there are those that do, which is what has made the oligarch want it.
    Please read:

  12. Thanks for your comment Anonymous. I have already read Rothko's Wikipaedia entry and it's clear the poor guy was troubled in later life, but I'm only talking about the ludicrous sums paid for his art. He had a certain charisma like Tracey Emin, and people like this or their promoters, manage to build up hype until certain others believe the drivel written about them. What can be important about his painting 'White Center'? To me, one who has been painting for a living for a long time, it is the King's New Clothes. For what Harley Brown, a BRILLIANT modern master thinks about him, see my post on 12th July, or copy and paste this:

    Harley Brown is far better qualified than I am to speak about Rothko, and I'll go with his thoughts. In my experience, very few ARTISTS 'get' this stuff, but CRITICS do.

  13. What do you expect in a kike culture?

    "For [Kike] Rothko, an artist without any of the skills that are traditionally associated with being a professional artist, it was all about Jewish networking.

    "[Quoting Brenton Sanderson:] 'Towards the end of 1943, all of the ethnic networking finally began to bear tangible fruit for [Kike] Rothko. He befriended [Kike] Peggy Guggenheim, 'the most voracious patroness of American avant-garde art', who had migrated to New York in 1941. [Kike] Guggenheim’s artistic consultant, [Kike] Howard Putzel, 'convinced her to show [Kike] Rothko in her Art of This Century gallery, where she had opened in 1942, during the low point of the war.' In January 1945, [Kike] Guggenheim decided to put on Rothko’s first one-man exhibition at her gallery. In 1948 Rothko invited a coterie of mainly Jewish [Kike] friends and [Kike] acquaintances to view his new [Kike] ‘multiforms’. The [very influential] art critic and historian [Kike] Harold Rosenberg 'remembers finding these works 'fantastic,' and called his experience 'the most impressive visit to an artist' in his life.' [End quote]

    "This is actually quite remarkable. It would be one thing if [Kike] Rothko was aspiring to be a leading rabbi or the head honcho at the ADL. But he was aspiring to fame and fortune as an historically important artist in the Western canon. He achieved his goal. One of his paintings recently sold for $87 million."

    1. Thanks for taking the trouble to comment Anonymous. I wasn't aware of Rothko's Jewish networking, but boy, did it work as you say! I'm not sure whether you are slurring Rothko's Jewishness, using the derogatory term Kike, or merely quoting Sanderson, but all I was commenting on was the extraordinary propensity for humans to believe the hype written about so-called art, regardless of who creates it and what religion or culture they come from. As an atheist, I feel similarly about how millions are duped by the fairy stories passed on by our forebears about God or Gods for whom there is zero evidence for his/their existence.


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