Steichen photo

I know the buzz these days is loudest about the Cheney hunting accident (pomposity to the nth degree in the handling of that!), but I’m far more interested in this: Sotheby’s reports selling one of Edward Steichen’s nature photographs, “The Pond-Moonlight,” for more than $2.9 million US, a record for a photo, to a gallery on behalf of a private (and presently anonymous) buyer (I get my info from a Washington Post story).

Interestingly, the seller was the Metropolitan Museum of Art. If you have not yet realized that museums do not obtain and hold objects, but churn them back into the market at a regular rate, you must. This nets the museums cash for items that duplicate materials they already have, or items that they’d rather not hold (e.g., they don’t “fit” with their collection goals). It also enlarges the market so that illicit sellers can more easily insert illegally obtained items into the marketing stream.

I do not understand this kind of acquisition fever, but I’ve sure seen it in action. The Brits are particularly good at it: wild bird egg collecting–meaning nabbing the egg from the nest—was quite the thing in Victorian England (it’s now illegal there).

What do I collect? I guess it’s memories of good times!

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