Art and Commerce

It’s worth noting the Masterworks On Loan program (“Masterworks on Loan,” Nov. 21) brings acclaimed art to the Schnitzer created by famed artists dead and alive largely because collectors who buy art in New York can avoid paying the 8.875 percent state and city sales tax, if they exhibit their new purchases for six months out in “the provinces.”

Last year a Picasso portrait that had sold for more than $100,000 was hanging at the museum for several months, and a few months later, a Modigliani nude of close to that price was exhibited. Recently, four Picassos hung in the same room!

It’s a great program for art lovers, though maybe not for New Yorkers. The curatorial theme is: What’s been selling in New York. Particularly interesting to learn is, who are the living mid-career artists who are being collected in the big time?

Many, if not most, of the works can be Googled and their recent prices revealed, if they were purchased at auction. That doesn’t make them any better, but it is interesting to see what art is selling to the plutocrats of the world in The Big Apple. Most of these works will likely hang on Manhattan walls for a few decades, and hopefully some day they will end up in museum collections — if we’re lucky.

Lawrence Siskind, Eugene