When property imitates art

David Leggat of United Auctions drums up the bidders for Lesley Anne Derk's donated piece 'Towards the Charles Bridge' (Copyright: Janie Meikle Bland)

No property is complete without some carefully chosen artwork and last weekend provided an excellent opportunity for central Scotland’s art lovers to expand their collections. Bridge of Allan’s Contemporary Arts Festival saw a fantastic selection of works from Scottish artists, designers and painters exhibiting across various venues in the village. The current trend for prints, linocuts and tweed go so well with my love of maps and stags and I managed to pick up quite a few Christmas presents.

The Festival on Saturday was a great warm up for the main event on Sunday, Art off the Rock, which was hosted by Artlink Central at the University of Stirling.Artlink’s biennial charity art auction typically draws great interest from those looking to acquire a donated piece from a range of well-known artists. The main auction is always amusingly delivered by the inimitable David Leggat from United Auctions while Artlink’s patron, Julia Donaldson, provides an apparently limitless number of smiles and autographs. Another couple of Christmas presents ticked off the list.

We all know that the value of art is very much in the eye of the beholder and I’ve always found it tricky to gauge how much one might need to pay to acquire a particular piece. As someone who is used to dealing with hourly rates, I sometimes find it hard to reconcile the amount of time apparently taken to create the artwork with the price tag. One cannot help but question how long it took Tracey Emin to not make her bed: a piece which ultimately sold for £2.2 million.

Some buyers are clearly more concerned with the reputation of the artist; while others just go with that they like to look at. Bell Ingram’s Alasdair Reynolds managed to combine the two approaches when he snapped up a rather lovely Peter Nardini painting entitled ‘Casting Off’; featuring a subject matter of which he is very fond. Art off the Rock’s anonymous postcard sale is particularly fascinating as dealers clash elbows with fellow guests in a bid to identify the £30 postcard that turns out to be an Elizabeth Blackadder or Barbara Rae. Investment hopes and Christmas gifts are both acquired.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, thoughts of Christmas put me in the party mood so it was fortunate that I had the birthday lunch of a dear friend at the Meadowpark on Sunday afternoon to prepare me for Art off the Rock. Discussions of art soon led to stories of property purchases and renovations, as they typically do when we get together. If I had thought bidding for art was an arbitrary process, I had no idea how randomly creative people can be when deciding how much to bid for a house. Who would have thought that the birthdays of your two children would combine to give you the winning figure? Sometimes life really is stranger than art.

Victoria McCusker
Marketing Manager

Photographs provided with the generous support of(c) Janie Meikle Bland www.picturethepossible.co.uk

Published on 6th November 2014