Thursday, May 13, 2010
Civil servants on the price of Picasso
With the UK's budget deficit making the Grand Canyon look like a mere hole in the road and the new Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government lying in its incubator being carefully tended to by civil servants and watched by a concerned electorate lest it expire at any moment, one hardly expects Whitehall's attention to turn to the art market.
But following the recent New York sale of Picasso's Nude, Green Leaves and Bust for $106m (£70m), the civil service intranet has just conducted a brief online survey of its employees to ask "Do you think it's worth it?"
My spies inside DWP inform me that a staggering 4183 votes were cast. The results were as follows:
— There's a need to draw a line, this is too much — 60%
— The price is Surreal [note the capital S], but you can't put a price on great art — 18%
— I wish I had the money to buy it! — 20%
Hard-working mandarins at DWP clearly have better things to do than specify what "drawing the line" might actually entail, but I think we should be told.