Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cruisin’ for a bruisin’

A friend of ours once served as the resident magician on a luxury cruise liner. It was a pretty relaxed job that involved doing the rounds of the dining room to make fools out of husbands who thought they knew how a card trick was done when they saw one. In those days the entertainment was all mime artists, musical trios and stand-up comics with the odd fancy dress competition to add spice. Nowadays cruise ships are more shopping malls than anything else and one of the big ticket items often on offer is art.

You'd think, wouldn’t you, that even on a cruise you might keep your $15,500 in your pocket when offered an “embellished lithograph” by American artist Alexandra Nechita. But no. On board the good ship Pacific Dawn, works by Alexandra were being offered at knock-down prices, like you could get her Riding the Waves for just $46,500, a massive $62,000 discount on the original ticket price. Who could resist? Not Australian art lover Jason Hall who snapped it up.

Jason should have checked out Alexandra’s web site. There he would have found a small but significant statement that might have sounded warning bells. “The thumb print of the Great One is on her." The author? Whoopi Goldberg. Despite WG's endorsement, Jason discovered once he reached shore that his work was valued at around $2,000, on a good day. As our own Andy Schmulow, a lecturer at Victoria University's faculty of business and law, remarked, ''I wouldn't be buying anything other than a cocktail on the high seas.'' You can read more here