Mary Kidder, a trustee of the Columbus Museum of Art, strolled through Art Basel Miami Beach this past December and out of all the work there decided she really liked this piece by William Cotton called "Ribbon Candy." It is a portrait of a woman with ribbon candy festooned to her head. Mary Boone Gallery originally had the piece listed for $50k, but because they were so eager to do business with Kidder (read: desperate to make a sale, any sale) they knocked the price down to $32k. The price of a decent American car is apparently a deal for a picture of a lady with candy on her head.
So they sent her the invoice but Kidder decided that actually she didn't want to spend $32,000 on this painting. Boone is now suing Kidder to collect either payment in full or the $30,000 it already paid to Cotton for the piece (meaning they would have only made $2,000 on the work).
I don't know what is more indicative of the problems of the art world right now: the fact that galleries are willing to slash their commission to $2,000, or that a not particularly exciting portrait of a lady wearing a sugary hat would sell for $32,000 in the first place.
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[Art Info: Mary Boone Sues Collector]