January 23, 2005

Costco.com Sells An Original Picasso

Last year, Tyler Cowen noted that Costco was selling some fine artwork:

"non-dignified" intermediaries are entering the market and offering the goods at cheaper prices, thereby separating the artwork from the attached aura of the sale. Let's root for the artwork, not the aura.
Now, Costco has sold an original and authenticated Picasso on costco.com:
An original Picasso crayon drawing sold this week for $39,999. At Costco....

the Picasso drawing, authenticated by Picasso's daughter Maya Picasso with a photograph of a handwritten and signed declaration provided to the buyer. The Picasso was the most expensive artwork offered on costco.com to date, a Costco spokeswoman said.

Last year, Tutwiler [a consignment art dealer] sold another Picasso drawing through Costco for about $35,000. The dealers ship the artworks directly to their customers.

What Costco provides is all the comforts of modern retail:
[L]ike all Costco products, Picassos may be returned for a full refund if the purchaser is not completely satisfied. "We do the same typical Costco guarantee that the artwork is in good condition, that it is authentic, and for any reason whatsoever, a buyer may return it with no questions asked," Roeglin said...
And here's the kicker:
Manny Silverman, owner of the Manny Silverman Gallery in Los Angeles, had only one question about buying art on costco.com: "I guess I'm just wondering if Wal-Mart can beat their price," Silverman said.

Posted by Kevin on January, 23 2005 at 11:17 AM