NEVER GIVE UP!!
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts…
Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act 2, scene 7
OUR WORLD IS CHANGING ALL THE TIME AS THE ANCIENT GREEKS SAID, ” TA PANTA RI”” WHICH MEANS, EVERYTHING CHANGES. THE NEW WORLD OF INTERNET, SOCIAL MEDIA, PRIVATE ENTERPRISE MAKE THE WORDS OF SHAKESPEARE AS WISE AS THEY HAVE ALWAYS BEEN.
THE BEGINNING OF ANY BUSINESS IN VERY DIFFICULT AND MINE WAS NO EXCEPTION. INVESTING THREE THOUSANDS POUNDS IN 1985 AND THEN BEING UNABLE TO MAKE A PENNY OUT OF IT, RATHER ABOUT A THOUSAND POUNDS EXPENSES WAS THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN TO ME AFTER 1985 TURNED TO BE VERY PROFITABLE.
THE FRENCH EXPERIMENT FAILED LUCKILY, THE AMERICAN EXPERIMENT HIT ME HARD AND I WAS IN DESPAIR, I MUST ADMIT. I COULD NOT FATHOM THE EVENTS RELATED TO THE MONTEZIN PAINTING AND WHAT I WAS DOING TO GET RID OF IT, RATHER THAN SELL IT PROPERLY AND WHERE I SHOULD. I LOST PATIENCE AND I WA RUNNING LIKE A HEADLESS CHICKEN ALL OVER THE PLACE, AS IF MY LIFE DEPENDED ON IT. FAR FROM THAT!!
Pierre Montezin nearly drowns the amateur
October 1986, Sotheby’s New York
The Pierre Montezin work was included in the first Arcade Sale of Impressionist and Modern paintings of Sotheby’s in New York in October 1986. This was the first sale of a new experiment; first catalogue, different clientele to the regular Impressionist sales. I was worried, justifiably worried and very upset. Being in London, I could do nothing about it. I felt cheated and deceived! Had I known, I would never have consented to selling my property in a new business venture with an unproven sales record. I was angry with myself, as I had not negotiated the right sale for my property. My only wish was for the painting to sell and sell well; but the best result is usually achieved in the best sale. That was not the best sale!
It was a complete disaster! The painting failed to sell at $5,000, but I was happy as I would have been out of pocket had it sold at that reserve. The costs had already piled up. Shipping the painting to New York, the trip to France, now unsold charges and the painting had cost me close to £4000. It was becoming a noose round my neck threatening to choke me! To add salt to injury some clever person offered, through Sotheby’s, an after-sale bid of $4000, to which I answered, “If this person has any Montezin paintings similar to mine, I will buy them all at $8,000 each.” I was furious with the audacity of that person. I was in a financial squeeze, but I was not stupid.
Never undersell your property even when everything points south because the compass can change direction quickly and dramatically.
I was very worried but also somehow hopeful! Where did that hope come from since that investment had been all doom and gloom up to that point?
· Thinking positively has been a trait of mine all along! Never lose faith, think positively and hope!
· An unsold painting today might be worth double the following day!
· Something positive did happen later in October and November when several paintings by Montezin sold for around ten thousand dollars at Sotheby’s and Christie’s.
I kept asking myself, why had my property failed to sell since auction results in New York were much higher than $5000, my reserve? It was a puzzle. Was it the sale it was entered in or was there something wrong with the painting? However, my accumulated auction experience of the last three years led me to believe that it was the new auction format of Sotheby’s that was to blame and not the quality of the painting. Even though fed up now with the adventure called Montezin, there was still hope for the future. I would have to wait and ride the storm since I had no alternative at the time and had exhausted nearly all other options to sell.
On my next visit to New York in November 1986 I collected the painting and left it in the care of relatives in New Jersey. I was resigned to live the nightmare for some more time. Would it be months or years? How long could or would I have to wait for the Montezin to fulfil the expectations I had when I bought it at Christie’s? Would I be able to stop the haemorrhage and recover my £4000 investment, if nothing else?