Can anyone own a masterpiece? In part one in this series about artistic authenticity, five very dissimilar people share a common desire: To own a Vermeer.
Rex Sorgatz in Medium:
I wanted a Vermeer.
I knew this would not be easy. Johannes Vermeer, that seventeenth-century Dutch “master of light,” produced only 35 known paintings, which today are among the most valuable objects in the world. Art historians reserve a certain adjective for precisely these types of cultish obsessions, which are not beyond value, but rather are, as they say, priceless — that is, without price, simply because the marketplace has not publicly accessed numerative value.
For most of the last century, no one really had any idea what a Vermeer was worth. Most of what we call modern art — Dali’s droopy clocks, Warhol’s soupy cans, Pollock’s drippy drips, Rothko’s blurry blobs — didn’t even existthe last time a Vermeer met an auction gavel.
Nonetheless, if you decided to buy all 35 Vermeers in the world, you would need billions of dollars.