Wednesday, June 28, 2006


NY Times Department of Corrections

Still no action by the NY Times' corrections gremlins on the gaffe in Carol Vogel's Friday piece.

Nor has anyone yet corrected Kathryn Shattuck's assertion on Sunday that the second most-expensive artwork ever sold, after Klimt's $135-million "Adele Block-Bauer I," was Picasso's $95.2-million "Dora Maar au Chat."

How quickly we forget Picasso's $104.2-million "Garçon à la Pipe," which sold in 2004. This painting didn't fit conveniently into Shattuck's thesis, because the subject was decidedly not the artist's mistress.

But the more serious, if subtle, Shattuck gaffe is saying that $135 million is "a record price for any painting." We don't know what other paintings may have sold privately for more. The Klimt is a notable exception to the general rule that the only art prices the public knows about are auction prices. For the same reason, we can't even say that Picasso's boy is the second most pricey picture ever sold. We can only talk about "record auction prices," not "record prices."

It seems like nobody corrects obvious Times errors, unless an outsider instructs them to (and sometimes not even then). Guess I'll have to e-mail this item to Let's see if anything happens!

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