Our Country’s Health Should Be This…

rude healthIt may be hard to imagine anyone using the word “rude” as a compliment.

“Rude,” meaning “offensively impolite or ill-mannered.”

Yet at one time – you don’t hear it much nowadays – if you told someone they looked “in rude health,” it was, indeed, a compliment.

“Rude” in this case meaning “strong and robust.”

“In rude health” was the phrase recently applied to the art market by Sotheby’s, an international auction house that’s been “uniting collectors with world-class works of art since 1744,” according to their website.

They did some serious “uniting” at a livestreamed auction in late July that brought in a total of $192.7 million:

Auction July 28 cropped
The Sotheby’s team taking calls from auction bidders.  I guess the folks on the left thought a hand over the mouth was a good substitute for a face mask?

An art market in “rude health,” indeed.

The auction featured 65 artworks, with five selling for more than $10 million:

This 1632 self-portrait by Rembrandt van Rijn, measuring about eight by six inches, for $18.7 million, or about $389,583 per square inch:

Rembrandt larger

Joan Miró’s Peinture (Femme au chapeau rouge) (Woman in a Red Hat) from 1927, which fetched $28.9 million.  The great thing about this painting is the option of hanging it right side up, or upside down, or turn it on its side, and who’s to know?

miro_02 smaller

A 1914 oil-on-burlap painting by Fernand Léger for $15.8 million entitled Still Life, which proves there is a great use for those old burlap rags in your garage:

leger smaller

Alberto Giacometti’s 28-inch 1958 bronze Anorexic – I mean, Standing Woman, for $13.8 million.  This piece apparently is an example of Giacometti’s “sign of existential struggle for meaning.”  Or, maybe money.  I’m not sure which:

Giacometti smaller

This oil painting by Gerhard Richter, which sold for $13.6 million, is entitled either Wolken, Fenster, Clouds or Window, and considering what the new owner paid for it, I guess they can call it whatever they want:

richter_02 cropped

People who sell their possessions through auction houses usually choose to remain anonymous, but Ronald Perelman, the billionaire owner of the Revlon cosmetics company, was outed by Bloomberg, which revealed that Perelman was selling not one, but two paintings at Sotheby’s July auction.

It seems, according to the New York Times, that ole Ron’s “profits have slumped in recent years,” and his net worth, according to Forbes, has dwindled to a mere $6.2 billion.

So the poor guy packed up the Miro pictured above, and a painting by Henri Matisse, wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’ that they’d sell for the estimate of up to $57 million.


The two paintings sold for only $37.3 million.


I can’t help but think of the juxtaposition between this headline:

NY Times (2)

And this one:

WSJ (2)

I might even point out the use of the word “million” in both headlines.

But that would probably be…

rude cropped larger

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