The Moment of Truth

Recently a painting was up for auction. I had seen it online weeks before the auction took place. I asked for and received additional information about the painting. The work was signed but the artist unknown. Condition was acceptable. I have found it is difficult to evaluate a painting from photographs. There is something about seeing it in person that brings it alive, or not.

The auction arrived. I bid once or twice and as the price climbed just a bit, still below the low estimate and then I dropped out. Until that moment I did not know if I really wanted the painting or not. The answer was “no”. 

My not bidding more raised some questions for me. What is the dividing line between liking, loving and craving? I liked the painting but until only when the auction took place did I realize I did not love the painting. 

Second, what does it mean for me as a collector, or any collector, that I only was willing to purchase the work at a lesser price – a price I had not set in my head before the auction began. My decision to cease bidding was as much an emotional as an intellectual one.

Lastly, no wonder collectors can drive dealers crazy sometimes. 

I find I am pleased I did not bid higher. I have dollars to add to what I have put aside for several auctions this month including Sotheby’s and Christie’s in New York City. 

If anyone has any thoughts on the matter, let me know. 

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