Picasso’s ‘Buffalo Bill’ Could Fetch up to $15 Million at Christie’s | Kanebridge News
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Picasso’s ‘Buffalo Bill’ Could Fetch up to $15 Million at Christie’s

Pablo Picasso’s Buffalo Bill, a pre-war Cubist painting depicting the American frontiersman, is expected to fetch between US$10 million and US$15 million next Thursday evening at Christie’s in New York.

Mon, Nov 14, 2022 8:54amGrey Clock 2 min

Picasso painted Buffalo Bill in 1911 during the highpoint of Analytical Cubism, an art movement known for structurally dissecting the subject viewpoint by viewpoint, wrestling in fragmentary images and overlapping planes.

In the painting, the image of the Wild West star included only signature elements such as his famous goatee and Stetson hat, according to Christie’s description.

Born William Frederick Cody (1846-1917), Buffalo Bill was a soldier, hunter, and showman. He founded Buffalo Bill’s Wild West in 1883 in Omaha, Nebraska to perform shows with themes of cowboys and the frontier. The company was on tour in Paris in 1889, and again in 1905, when Picasso probably saw him.

“Buffalo Bill’s daring exploration of new territory as a scout resonated with Picasso, who himself was reconnoitering new frontiers in his pioneering Cubist art,” David Kleiweg de Zwaan, a senior specialist of impressionist and modern art at Christie’s, said in a news release.

The work will be offered as a highlight at Christie’s evening auction of 20th-century art on Nov. 17. The sale coincides with a Cubism-themed exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York that will last through next January, de Zwaan said.

Buffalo Bill was first owned by Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, a German-born French art collector who was the first champion of Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and other Cubist artists. The current anonymous owner acquired the painting at a Sotheby’s auction in London in 1986. The sale will mark the first time the painting has appeared on the market in nearly 36 years, according to Christie’s.

The work has been included in several major exhibitions, including Picasso’s landmark 1932 retrospective at the Galerie Georges Petit in Paris, and the 1989-90 exhibition, “Picasso and Braque, Pioneering Cubism,” at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The top lot of Christie’s evening sale of 20th-century art will be a Willem de Kooning large-scale canvas, Untitled III, estimated in the region of US$35 million, the auction house announced previously.


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China’s EV Juggernaut Is a Warning for the West

Competitive pressure and creativity have made Chinese-designed and -built electric cars formidable competitors

Thu, Jun 8, 2023 4 min

China rocked the auto world twice this year. First, its electric vehicles stunned Western rivals at the Shanghai auto show with their quality, features and price. Then came reports that in the first quarter of 2023 it dethroned Japan as the world’s largest auto exporter.

How is China in contention to lead the world’s most lucrative and prestigious consumer goods market, one long dominated by American, European, Japanese and South Korean nameplates? The answer is a unique combination of industrial policy, protectionism and homegrown competitive dynamism. Western policy makers and business leaders are better prepared for the first two than the third.

Start with industrial policy—the use of government resources to help favoured sectors. China has practiced industrial policy for decades. While it’s finding increased favour even in the U.S., the concept remains controversial. Governments have a poor record of identifying winning technologies and often end up subsidising inferior and wasteful capacity, including in China.

But in the case of EVs, Chinese industrial policy had a couple of things going for it. First, governments around the world saw climate change as an enduring threat that would require decade-long interventions to transition away from fossil fuels. China bet correctly that in transportation, the transition would favour electric vehicles.

In 2009, China started handing out generous subsidies to buyers of EVs. Public procurement of taxis and buses was targeted to electric vehicles, rechargers were subsidised, and provincial governments stumped up capital for lithium mining and refining for EV batteries. In 2020 NIO, at the time an aspiring challenger to Tesla, avoided bankruptcy thanks to a government-led bailout.

While industrial policy guaranteed a demand for EVs, protectionism ensured those EVs would be made in China, by Chinese companies. To qualify for subsidies, cars had to be domestically made, although foreign brands did qualify. They also had to have batteries made by Chinese companies, giving Chinese national champions like Contemporary Amperex Technology and BYD an advantage over then-market leaders from Japan and South Korea.

To sell in China, foreign automakers had to abide by conditions intended to upgrade the local industry’s skills. State-owned Guangzhou Automobile Group developed the manufacturing know-how necessary to become a player in EVs thanks to joint ventures with Toyota and Honda, said Gregor Sebastian, an analyst at Germany’s Mercator Institute for China Studies.

Despite all that government support, sales of EVs remained weak until 2019, when China let Tesla open a wholly owned factory in Shanghai. “It took this catalyst…to boost interest and increase the level of competitiveness of the local Chinese makers,” said Tu Le, managing director of Sino Auto Insights, a research service specialising in the Chinese auto industry.

Back in 2011 Pony Ma, the founder of Tencent, explained what set Chinese capitalism apart from its American counterpart. “In America, when you bring an idea to market you usually have several months before competition pops up, allowing you to capture significant market share,” he said, according to Fast Company, a technology magazine. “In China, you can have hundreds of competitors within the first hours of going live. Ideas are not important in China—execution is.”

Thanks to that competition and focus on execution, the EV industry went from a niche industrial-policy project to a sprawling ecosystem of predominantly private companies. Much of this happened below the Western radar while China was cut off from the world because of Covid-19 restrictions.

When Western auto executives flew in for April’s Shanghai auto show, “they saw a sea of green plates, a sea of Chinese brands,” said Le, referring to the green license plates assigned to clean-energy vehicles in China. “They hear the sounds of the door closing, sit inside and look at the quality of the materials, the fabric or the plastic on the console, that’s the other holy s— moment—they’ve caught up to us.”

Manufacturers of gasoline cars are product-oriented, whereas EV manufacturers, like tech companies, are user-oriented, Le said. Chinese EVs feature at least two, often three, display screens, one suitable for watching movies from the back seat, multiple lidars (laser-based sensors) for driver assistance, and even a microphone for karaoke (quickly copied by Tesla). Meanwhile, Chinese suppliers such as CATL have gone from laggard to leader.

Chinese dominance of EVs isn’t preordained. The low barriers to entry exploited by Chinese brands also open the door to future non-Chinese competitors. Nor does China’s success in EVs necessarily translate to other sectors where industrial policy matters less and creativity, privacy and deeply woven technological capability—such as software, cloud computing and semiconductors—matter more.

Still, the threat to Western auto market share posed by Chinese EVs is one for which Western policy makers have no obvious answer. “You can shut off your own market and to a certain extent that will shield production for your domestic needs,” said Sebastian. “The question really is, what are you going to do for the global south, countries that are still very happily trading with China?”

Western companies themselves are likely to respond by deepening their presence in China—not to sell cars, but for proximity to the most sophisticated customers and suppliers. Jörg Wuttke, the past president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, calls China a “fitness centre.” Even as conditions there become steadily more difficult, Western multinationals “have to be there. It keeps you fit.”


Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

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