Nominal GDP reversion is a critical variable

May 27, 2015 09:52 AM
Bill Gross Monthly Newsletter

“It’s a spectacle of excess at the highest level,” quoted an art consultant to the N.Y. Times. Perhaps it was. Christie’s, even not counting its archrival Sotheby’s, had bagged $1 billion in sales during its May auction week – rivaling even the frenzied bidding for Manhattan high rise condos.

As with high flying stocks, the logic was that the money had to go somewhere and why not a wall instead of a monthly portfolio statement.

I’ve never been much of an art aficionado myself, having settled for framing some All American Rockwells neatly clipped from old Saturday Evening Post covers.

There was a time though when a well-publicized Rockwell came to auction and Sue and I expressed some interest. Ever since, we’ve been on the art house’s mailing lists and I must admit, it’s fun to browse through the Picassos, Rothkos, and whatever else currently frenzies modern collectors.

I’m no expert though, and if I begin to pretend that I am, Sue puts me in my place because she’s the artist in the family. She likes to paint replicas of some of the famous pieces, using an overhead projector to copy the outlines and then just sort of fill in the spaces.

“Why spend $20 million?” she’d say – “I can paint that one for $75”, and I must admit that one fabulous Picasso with signature “Sue”, heads the fireplace mantle in our bedroom.

My own artistic skills are severely limited – I even suspect I am missing the entire right half of my brain which drives fine motor skills and the ability to draw.

Because of the auction catalogues we get in the mail though, I have determined that I am not unique in this regard – even famous artists it seems are lacking the right side of their brains. One of those is Yves Klein to which (1928-1962) follows his title on two spectacular pieces listed in a Christie’s twentieth century art sales catalogue.

The “1962” points out I guess that he’s dead which is too bad, because it makes it harder to compare “right brain” notes with him. Still, the similarity is obvious because this guy painted like I draw self-portraits, and he got paid for it too. I present to you the first of his two images for your perusal and careful discrimination:

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