Thursday, July 2, 2009

If Famous Architecture Were Priced Like Paintings, a Le Corbusier Would Cost the Same as the Entire American GDP

The top floor of Corbusier’s Villa Stein (one of perhaps the top 500 most important houses of the late 19th/early 20th centuries - i.e. a Van Gogh of houses) is for sale for the same price per sq.ft. (approx $1400) as buildings in the same area of suburban Paris, designed by nobody in particular. Meanwhile, Van Gogh’s Portrait of Dr. Gachet sold for an inflation adjusted price of $136 million yet a poster of similar square footage and style costs around $10.

In other words, a work of art that you can actually live in has zero premium over a commodity item, but one that you can look at has a premium factor of 13 million over a commodity one.

There are 2 possible conclusions: architecture is vastly under valued or painting prices are almost entirely irrational.

Given that the cost of a single floor of the Villa Stein would be almost exactly the same as entire US GDP ($13 trillion) in the former case, and that Le Corbusier’s mediocre paintings sell at a vast premium compared to the buildings he is famous for, it’s the paintings that are too pricey. -

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...