Value of Enigma

Why someone has everything, and the other has nothing? What puts this picture above other works of equally talented authors? How is it possible to sell anything for a million? Or at least for a half? Why it is the Chinese Girl, what became the darling of fortune, though this master has quite a number of other pictures? The acquisition of Vladimir Tretchikoff‘s picture the Chinese Girl by the billionaire Laurence Graff at the end of March produced a lot of questions without answers. 

The Kazakhstan’s mass media was especially interested in this fact, because the artist was born in Petropavlovsk, although, as long ago as in 1913. But this is the only precedent, when a work of our countryman, although a former one, was sold by auction for such a big money - for one and a half million dollars. Vladimir Tretchikoff would have turned 100 years old this year, but in 2006, he died in the Republic of South Africa, where he has lived for many years. He has painted all through his life. And this picture is more commonly known by another name - the Green Lady, and once only the lazy did not criticize it. However, later this painting became one of the most reproductible paintings in the world and even a symbol of the Western pop culture. Basically, Tretchikoff was quite a well known painter. According to the British Daily Mirror, he was the second richest artist in the world after Picasso.

Is it worth waiting for objectiveness in the art world? - Of course, no. This is a Kingdom governed by subjectiveness and emotions. For example, I like this picture and the girl. I understand Graff. Deep calm on her face, some absorption and  detachment make me even dare to call it a modern Mona Lisa. And she has an enigma as well. And now the worthy price added mystery and importance to her. But even today someone may consider it to be a banner of kitsch. This is as it should be. One journalist wrote: "Where are those critics? There are no one, they are dead. And Tretchikoff also died . He died in August 2006 in Cape Town. And all of us will die someday. But the Chinese girl will live on. And it will bear the name of Vladimir Tretchikoff.”

We decided to ask the local gallery owners and collectors, what, in their view, comprises a price of works of art, and what they think of the above sale of the Chinese girl for one and a half million dollars.

Asian motif

Zhanna Spuner, a collector: 

 - We can talk on this topic for a long time, history of each purchase of this kind accumulates gossips and speculations. Buyers are different, someone is a true connoisseur and, maybe, have been dreaming to be owner of any artist's canvas all through his life, but someone simply invests money, unfortunately or fortunately for artists, very many people regard art as a good investment. Remember the recent boom in Chinese art. After gaining freedoms in China, there was a power surge in the artistic life. But another fact was no less important. 

Due to prosperity of the Chinese economy and fight against corruption an old Chinese term graceful bribery has received a new meaning, when art treasures - antiques, paintings, works of traditional Chinese calligraphy, etc. serve as bribes. This is much more difficult to track down and punish this kind of bribe, and the deals work towards money-laundering. Purchasing by famous auctions adds value to the gifts, and therefore this, has increased demand for the Chinese wave.

I can not tell about this specific picture, why its price has reached a million pounds; I’m not a fan of this artist, but I think that nothing is accidental in the world.

Not only for love...

Anna Petrakova, the Vernissazh gallery owner: 
- Sale of an artwork for the really big money is not questionable for: the real art is worth it. It seems to me that for this artist this is too expensive. Sometimes this kind of transactions take place in order to raise prices. We've all heard about large sums paid at auctions for paintings, but it seems to me, in this case, people would rather invest the money in something reliable that will increase in value in the future, and purchase not only what they love. 

Would I pay for a painting very much, if I would have such an opportunity? I think, I would, but if it were, for example, Leonardo da Vinci or Renoir. 

This is not a matter of price

Gulmira Shalabayeva, the OYU gallery owner:
- I once was asked a question: "If you have a million, for which picture would you pay it?" I wonder... There are works of art, which, according to their impact on people and their souls, are priceless. But it's a different ball game. And anyway, in my opinion, this is not a matter of money. And once at an auction preview, I saw a portrait painted by Modigliani and just couldn't take my eyes off it. I would have paid big money for it, if I have it. In general, to understand the importance of a work for you, you get to see it "in life", but not in catalogue... 

Precious Humanity Images

Larisa Aryutkina, a collector: 
- Upon hearing that a painting has been sold for a million dollars, you always want to see it in the original, to understand, what for has been paid such a huge sum. And often such an expensive image is puzzling to most: how one could pay that kind of money for this?.. One cannot account for tastes, but can pay for them. If you have paid a million, so this is a masterpiece! It's hard to argue with millions, it is a significant tool to dictate one’s own tastes to everyone else. 

You can only envy those who can so highly evaluate the object of their passion and can pay millions for the happiness of owning it. After paying millions for a masterpiece, an ambitious man a kind of pays for his immortality, buys a ticket to eternity. It raises his own value to dizzying heights and, thus, books his place in the history, looking forward to a grateful memory of descendants.


Talent and money are equivalents of precious escaping moments and timeless humanity images of eternity, and not every human being is able to tap into them.

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