Lewis W. Diuguid

Auction of painting for $142 million points to wealth disparity

Updated: 2013-11-13T23:39:31Z

By Lewis W. Diuguid

The Kansas City Star

It seems unimaginable that anyone would pay more than $142 million for anything, let alone a painting.

But that’s what happened in New York City where a 1969 Francis Bacon painting became the most expensive piece ever sold at auction. “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” fetched that record amount at Christie’s postwar and contemporary art sale Tuesday night, The Associated Press reported.

The price tops the nearly $120 million paid for Edvard’s Munch’s “The Scream,” which had held the record at a 2012 sale.

But the excessive bids also underscore the profane inequity of wealth that exists in the United States and the world. It enables people in the top 1 percent to throw that kind of cash around as if they were buying a pack of chewing gum at QuikTrip.

The bottom 75 percent, meanwhile, worry whether they’ll have enough month-to-month cash to pay their utility bills, mortgage or rent, car payment, medical costs, buy food for their families and gas to get around. And then there are the holidays, the shopping and the gifts that are expected.

Like the past few years, 2013 won’t be a pretty picture for middle-income and poor families or retailers. But there is that one $142 million painting that will make someone among the excessively rich smile.

To reach Lewis W. Diuguid, call 816-234-4723 or send email to ldiuguid@kcstar.com.

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