PRINT September 1970

Notes on an Auction

A RECENT WORK OF ART has no stable, expressed value. Its sale and the establishment of its worth in money is usually hidden and hushed. Secretiveness is built into the marketing of recent art, especially of new art, because each art dealer wants to sell something he claims to be of lasting quality which has not had the time to last. It is a delicate and risky business and it demands fingertip feeling and a sharp sense of drama and timing. The value of an artist’s work depends on his reputation, which acts as a surrogate for quality in new art because new art is usually judged and bought by those who are unable to see art quality. Reputation is naturally journalistic and is in sum what the art world thinks of an artist; he builds a reputation by making art of a certain character, and once gained that reputation “guarantees” quality from his hand.

The standing of an artist’s work with the

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. Please sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW and save up to 65% off the newsstand price for full online access to this issue and our archive.

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.