In the coming month Jackson Pollock is set lose his long held record for creating the most expensive painting ever – but not to another enfant terrible of the art world, instead to Los Angeles street artist David Choe...but how can this be?
The remarkable story of how an LA street artist could potentially dethrone one of modern art’s heavyweights, amazingly, all hinges upon on this spring’s floatation of Facebook on the stock market.
Choe, in 2005, was asked by internet entrepreneur Sean Parker to paint graphic sexual murals in the interior of Facebook's first Silicon Valley office. This was followed in 2007 by Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg who then commissioned him to paint somewhat tamer murals for their next office.
Amazingly as a result Choe could be the unlikeliest of all the millionaires and billionaires minted by the social network's flotation. If the company hits the top valuations being talked about (a mere $100bn), then Mr Choe will have been paid about $200m (£126m) for the "graphic sexual murals" that adorned Facebook's walls in its early years.
Choe, whose “dirty-style figure paintings” combine themes of desire, degradation, and exaltation, took shares in Facebook instead of a cash payment 7 years ago. Although, in a twist, he told friends at the time that Facebook was a "ridiculous and pointless" idea that wouldn't succeed, he made the gamble, and now the shares look like being the hottest property on the US stock market.
With the amount Facebook is being pitched at Choe’s murals could turn out to be more expensive than the $140m paid in 2006 for Pollock's No 5, 1948.
Of course these sums are for wall paintings and seemingly pale insignificance when compared with the Qatari purchase of Cezanne's 'The Card Players' recently for $250m
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