Ake's Pains debuted in the University of Akron Buchtelite in September of 1977. The school's reputation as an institute of higher learning has still not recovered. Ake's Pains returns after a brief 32 year hiatus. It's back, baby!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

You Cannot Put A Value On Fine Art

The “art world” is a very peculiar place.  For example, I just read that an “abstract” painting consisting of “a canvas painted blue with a white line” sold for almost $44 million last year.
Sold for $43.8 million!

Now you may laugh, but that just means you do not truly understand, nor appreciate, fine art.  The art world is divided into two groups; those who “get” art and those who don’t.  Your reward if you are a member of the esteemed “in” group is that you get to dress up all fancy, eat smelly cheese, sip imported wine, and make snooty comments as you peruse the works in the gallery.  It also permits you to spend extravagant amounts of money to decorate your walls with what you and other “club” members consider the finest paintings. And they are very fine and you know that because you paid so much for them.

I know this will surprise you, but I have never been the artsy-fartsy type.  Okay, let me rephrase that. I have never been artsy, the other part I do very well. But it’s not like the education system failed me.  I took art class in school and I even won a red ribbon for a drawing I did in second grade.  Unfortunately, my talent never progressed beyond that level. (I only remember this because my mother kept the drawing and I found it when going through her stuff after she died).  In college they made us take “culture” classes where we had to memorize art-related facts such as Rembrandt painted the Mona Lisa.  I think the only reason they taught us this is so you don’t look like a total uncultured buffoon if the topic ever comes up in conversation.

Unprepared as I was, I recently had to enter the “art world”.  I have written previously about setting up an “executive” home office for my new job.  And to have a genuine executive office, you need a piece of fine art hanging on the wall.

Because of my limited knowledge, I needed to find an artist.  I was concerned because I had read where many artists were starving.  I did not want to visit a studio and find the person passed out on the floor begging me for food.  I wondered if I should bring a sandwich with me for the artist just in case.

Due to these concerns I tried to find an Ethiopian artist.  I figured Ethiopians should make great starving artists. I mean they got the starving thing mastered; all they need to do is learn the art part.  By the same logic Ethiopians should also make great super models since they have little problem functioning without eating.

Much to my disappointment, I could not find one Ethiopian artist in my area.  Fortunately, I was able to find an artist named George Roush.  George is neither starving, nor Ethiopian, but he is talented and he does have a studio.  His works are considered “abstract” and “minimalist”.  Unfortunately “minimalist” describes the style of the paintings, not the price.  But when selecting art for an executive office, price is an insignificant factor.

After careful evaluation, unaided by any brie or chardonnay, I made my selection.  After carefully transporting the masterpiece home, I proudly
presented my cultured acquisition to my wife.  Exquisite art is supposed to enflame passions and this original George Roush did just that.

Wife: WHAT IS THAT?????????

Me: Why it’s an original George Roush.


Me: It’s an artistic, abstract, expression.


Me: Can you really put a price on such an exquisite work as this?

Wife: There was a number written on the check …

Me: Those are mere figures written by a pen.  They cannot be compared to the images on this canvas.

Obviously, the problem is that my wife is just one of those people who does not appreciate, nor understand, fine art.  Unlike me, who is now considered an art connoisseur after making such a sophisticated procurement. I mean, she just doesn’t get it, does she?

It is a great painting, if I say so myself. I expect this piece to greatly appreciate in value. If the painting with the one white line is worth $44 million, my original George Roush, which I must point out contains multiple white lines, should be worth much more than that someday.


  1. Don, you always have a unique perspective! Consider photos, much cheaper and you change them much more frequently. GAC

  2. Um... Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, must have been a old textbook...