I took a cab yesterday morning as I often do when faced with a tight timeline and a crosstown journey. The cab was one of the roomier pre-Bloomberg styles which afforded a previous passenger ample space to draw this:
Naturally, I texted the image to a handful of friends who would enjoy seeing that sort of thing pop up on their phone at 10am on a Saturday morning. I joked that it reminded me of Cy Twombly's work and then realized the comparison wasn't entirely unfounded. Below is an image of Twombly's 1978 work "Venus and Adonis."
Art has always fascinated me - particularly how art is valued, both monetarily and aesthetically. For reasons I don't fully understand, the cab doodler is likely considered a vandal while Twombly's work regularly fetches millions at auction. In fact, last fall, a painting from Twombly's "Blackboard" collection sold for $69.6 million at Christie's - shattering estimates that valued the piece between $35-55 million. Of course, the valuations lend themselves to another conversation entirely. How can there be a $20 million dollar range for a the value of a piece? And furthermore, how can that guess be wrong? Auction bidder psychology at play, perhaps?
If you were wondering, here is the "Blackboard" piece in question. As I mentioned in an earlier post, if you would like to have a similar masterpiece in your home for a fraction of the price, hand a 4 year old a piece of chalk and wait.
But let's go back to Twombly's "Venus and Adonis." In 2011, this piece - along with many other Twombly pieces - was shown alongside several Nicolas Poussin pieces at London's Dulwich Picture Gallery . The exhibit was called, Twombly and Poussin: Arcadian Painters. Though separated by 300 years, you could point to some similarities in the careers of Twombly and Poussin. They were both artists, for example. Though born elsewhere, Twombly in the United States and Poussin in France, both men made homes in Rome, Italy. Also, both men were also inspired by Greek and Roman mythology - though with differing results. For example, a side by side comparison of "Venus and Adonis." (Note: these works did not appear together at the Dulwich exhibit. Instead, Twombly's "Venus and Adonis" was shown alongside Poussin's "Venus and Mercury.")
While you compare the two, some food for thought: Poussin's work rarely fetches more than $1 million at auction. I'm going to go play with my crayons now and try to make the cab doodler my new friend.