Tuesday, April 03, 2012
$300,000? Mr. Hannity, you were ripped off.Artist Jon McNaughton is suddenly getting some press these days. And not the good kind. And yes, I know that bad press is good press. Anyhooo, the painter, who I will admit I've never heard of, is suddenly popping up in my Google Reader all over the place. Why? Because he loves to hate on Obama in his paintings.
In fact, the two article headings on my screen right now are: "Anti-Obama Paintings Selling for $300000" (New York Magazine) and
"Man Who Painted Obama Burning The Constitution Selling His Art For Six Figures" (Business Insider).
I wasn't so much struck by his content (ok, ok...Obama burning the Constitution did get an eye roll out of me), but it was his price point that had me blinking my eyes to make sure I read that right. $300,000...where did that number come from?! Jon McWho? Where does a price like this come from? So I decided to do a little research, starting with the artist's website.
Here we are: at McNaughtonArt.com. At first glance, I'm reminded of Thomas Kinkade. Some of Kinkade's works fetch high prices, so maybe McNaughton is basing his price point on exactly that: a comparable peer group. The "about the artist" gives a bit of background on where he's from, where he studied art, but there's no traditional CV. In fact, no mention of his artwork being shown anywhere, other than this very website. NOTABLE: over 30,000 fans on Facebook. Wow.
Also NOTABLE, in the "about the artist" section is a series of questions, one of them being "what is Giclee?" Despite the very technical answer, this is a word that usually has everyone in the contemporary art world screaming POSTER. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
This site is getting me nowhere--I don't see anything priced anywhere near $300,000. I suppose the answer to my question is that it may have been priced at $300,000 simply because Mr. Sean Hannity (the reported buyer) was willing to pay that. This kind of media speculation about pricing in the art world isn't helping anyone. Morley Safer has added to this incorrect assumption with a recent edition of 60 Minutes, lending to the impression that prices are pulled out of thin air.
Watch the 60 Minutes here.