TRANSCRIPT: Ep. 225 Fine Art Auctions Fall 2022


Speaker 1:
It’s the Inspiration Place Podcast with artist Miriam Schulman. Welcome to the Inspiration Place Podcast, an art world insider podcast for artists, by an artist where each week we go behind the scenes to uncover the perspiration and inspiration behind the art. And now your host, Miriam Schulman.

Miriam Schulman:
Well, hey there my friend. It’s Miriam Schulman here, your curator of inspiration, and I’m bringing you a roundup from the Artpreneur Flash Briefings for the week. This week’s tidbits are inspired by New York Auction Houses. Now remember, you can subscribe to the daily flash briefings, which are only available for 24 hours, either through the Alexa app, your Alexa device, or you actually can search for Artpreneur on Spotify. It’s there too. And now with the Art World inspiration for the week.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, passed away in 2018 at the age of 65, and now his art collection valued at over a billion dollars, is headed for auction at Christie’s. Now, if you had a billion dollars to spend on art, what could you get? Well, how about Gustav Clems birch trees? This one was actually a huge influence on me. I only saw it reproduced, but I did use the image as a reference for inspiration for more than one of my collage musical tree scenes. So I was using sheet music for birch trees and making these very elaborate tree paintings. And the other one that was an influence to me, which is not in Paul Allen’s collection, is by Van Gogh. It’s very similar tree scene. Just a little side. All right. To get the Clint, Allen paid $40 million, but I guess that was a bargain since it’s now estimated to resell at $90 million dollars.

So if you had $40 million and you didn’t buy it, then I guess you missed out. He also collected art by a few women artists, Georgia O’Keeffe’s White Rose and Untitled, Agnes Martin, and also Louise Bourgeois Black Flames. Alan said part of Impressionists appeal for him was related to his technology background. He’s very attracted to Pointillism or Jasper John’s numbers because they come out of breaking something down into its components like bites or numbers, but in a different language. At the same time, Allen, who was co-founder of Microsoft, you would think he would be drawn to digital art, but he wasn’t. He saw it as something that looked almost too perfect. He also did a lot of drawing himself in his youth, mostly robots and scientific things, but he didn’t consider himself an artist. Now, if you’re wondering if people are buying art during the recession, well, the millionaires and billionaires are still shopping.

Grace Hartigan. You know who she is, You should. She moved to New York in 1945 to paint and was considered one of the rising stars of abstract expressionism. Her colleagues being the de Koonings, Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner, and more within a few years painting among this circle, her art acquired by the MoMA and some very prestigious shows. However, she left New York for Baltimore in the 1960s, and then she was less heard of. I did know about Grace Hartigan though, because I had seen her art at the Neuberger Museum. So she was collected there amongst her contemporaries by, oh my goodness, now the name is slipping me, but Neuberger, whatever his first name was, who collected… A big collector of art who opens his own museum at Purchase College. So that’s in Westchester, New York. Now her art is receiving new attention, in part thanks to the Denver Art Museum who put on a really great show, Woman of the Abstract Expressionist movement.

And that was, I think in 2016. I don’t have the date here. And then she, Grace Hartigan was also featured in the book Ninth Street Woman. That was in 2018. I highly recommend the book, and I included that book in my book club page. So, You’ll see Ninth Street Woman there. I actually have not finished it. It’s a huge book, and I also have it on audio, but it’s so enjoyable. It’s just a very big book to get through. So I keep putting it down and picking up other books, but you’ll really love it.

So in anticipation of a November auction of three artworks by Willem de Kooning, which are owned by his three granddaughters, a studio in East Hampton that was used by Willem de Kooning and has been kept as a shrine has been put on display. Now, when I read this article about his studio at East Hampton, it was a record scratch moment because I had been reading Ninth Street Woman. I knew he was married to Elaine de Kooning his whole life. They were separated and then they got back together, but she never had children. So I guess I hadn’t gone far enough in the book, which is a really good book, by the way. Just every few weeks I pick it up and then I put it down. But the woman and the men in the book, it’s so juicy. They’re all alcoholics. They’re all sleeping together. So I jumped over to Wikipedia to find out who these daughters were from, and wonder if maybe Elaine had a child after all, But no, she did not.

So here’s what Wiki had to say. Bill and Elaine had an open marriage, and Elaine often taunted Bill with her lovers. So he did have a daughter with somebody else. So his daughter is Lisa de Kooning, and that was a result of his affair with Joan Ward. Now, both Bill and Elaine suffered from alcoholism. They did reunite later in life. I highly recommend you read Nine Street Women. The period of time that inspired abstract art really isn’t all that different from the chaotic times and the uncertain times we’re living in right now. And I myself have been turning my own art has been very abstract because I’ve been trying to depict the chaos that, my internal chaos and rather than creating representational art of my external world. So I’ve been painting my internal world rather than my external one. And I just found the lives of these women fascinating and so inspiring to hear about their accomplishments that you don’t normally read about. So I recommend that.

So I want to note what you think of this. MoMA plans to auction off 70 million dollars in art this fall to bankroll its digital collection. Now, what do they mean by that? Well, they mean increase its digital footprint. Not only do they want to collect digital art, but they will also use the proceeds to create a streaming channel. Some of this sale is due in part to the economic downturn, all museums around the world experience due to loss of foot traffic during the pandemic. And what about NFTs? Are they investing in that? Well, the museum has a wait and see approach to NFTs. I don’t think they’ve collected them yet. If you want to learn more about artists who are getting into the NFT market, I suggest you check out episode number 143 NFT Art, How Blake Jameson Makes Money Selling NFTs. You’ll find that at

Well, hello, it’s Miriam Schulman here, your curator of inspiration, and you’re listening to Artpreneur Flash Briefings with a roundup for the week. So let’s wrap up everything we’ve chatted about this week. Paul Allen’s billion dollar art collection goes to auction at Christie’s this fall. Although he made his fortune as co-head of Microsoft, he generally didn’t collect digital art, finds it too boring. On the other hand, MoMA is also auctioning off part of its collection, but they hope to expand into digital ventures, both in collecting digital art as well as creating its own digital streaming content. We also gossiped about Grace Hartigan, Elaine and William de Kooning, whose art has been in the news. But you can read about their juicy lives in the book Ninth Street Woman, and you can find that book over on my book club page, Also, while you’re shopping for books, don’t forget my book Artpreneur is ready for pre-order, and I’m putting together a roundup of some of the juiciest bonuses ever.

So in addition to the Artpreneur affirmations art journal mini class, you can also be entered to win a trip to New York City to be coached by me live. You’re not going to want to miss out on any of these things, so head on over to And I am working on getting a fancier URL. I don’t know if it’s going to be live by the time of this recording. It’s going to be like We’ll see. All right, my friend. Well, that’s it. Until next time, we’ve included links to everything we talked about today in the show notes, which you can find over at Until next time, stay inspired.

Speaker 1:
Thank you for listening to the Inspiration Place podcast. Connect with us on Facebook at on Instagram @schulmanart, and of course on



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