I came across this painting after another artist had posted it on Facebook. The painting was painted by New York artist, Barnett Newman and sold for a record $43.8 million at Sotheby's.  The painting entitled, Onement Vi,  is 8.5 ft wide by x 10ft high and was painted in 1953 (that's really not that long ago). Before this painting, 'Onement V' held the previous auction record for Newman. It sold for a whopping $22.4 million!

When I first read this, I believe my jaw dropped down all the way to my knees (ok, almost to my waist).  Is a painting worth 43 million?

Even upon thinking about it (mere seconds I believe) I still cannot fathom why someone would spend this amount of money on this painting...or any painting for that matter. The first thing that comes to my mind is how this person spent their money.

I guess you could say that I find it appalling that someone who has this amount of money in their possession would not spend the money on helping others in need. But I guess this is just my opinion and coming from someone who has never been this rich!  But I suppose on the other hand, how do I know that the person who bought this painting doesn't donate their money to numerous charities or do help others in need? But seriously.... a painting with a stripe down the middle? Is this even logical?

I have personally stood in front of the 'Voice of Fire' at the National Gallery of Canada.  Yes, I can see how some people could like it because it makes a huge and powerful statement but not worth money into the millions of dollars.

If you had the money would you buy this?

I can assure you if I had millions and millions - heck, trillions of dollars - I would not buy this painting.


Because I would rather spend the money on helping others in need. In this great big world of ours we have so many tragic events, losses and catastrophes. I would feel that by helping others that my money is being well spent and bringing happiness to other people.

So would this painting bring you happiness? Every time you saw it hanging in your glorious living room would you stop, stare and smile? What makes a painting worth this much?

What makes a painting valuable?

A painting can be valuable based on many avenues. Here are just a few:

  • an artist's worth
  • painting's authenticity
  • demand for the painting
  • materials used and time period
  • style of the artwork
  • importance of the artist in art history
  • condition of the painting
  • wall power
  • the subject



Just recently this painting, When Will You Marry, painted in 1892 sold for $300 million!

I think I just fainted.


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2017-10-06T16:01:34+00:00March 30th, 2015|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

About the Author:

Melissa Schatzmann is a pencil realist artist. and has taught children and adults how to draw for the past 17 years. As well, she has designed Canada’s first online drawing and coloured pencil courses being offered through Continuing Education in Community Colleges. These courses are now in thirteen Ontario Colleges.

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