Getty archives reveal how in 1914 André Level organised sale of works by artists including Picasso and Matisse
Level borrowed the phrase La Peau de l’Ours from the moral of an anti-speculation fable by Fontaine: “Never sell the skin of the bear before you’ve actually killed it.” In this case, to mix metaphors, the investors did kill it. Level’s investors spent FF27,500 in ten years on 145 works that made nearly four times the original outlay when they were sold in a high-profile auction at Drouot. The highlight was Picasso’s Les Bateleurs, 1905 (known as The Family of Saltimbanques and now in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC), which made FF11,500 against a purchase price of FF1,000. According to the French consumer price index, one French franc from that period is worth roughly four euros today.


on September 12th, 2018