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DateLecture
02 July 2019The World’s Most Expensive Art
04 June 2019Lawrence of Arabia: Excavating a Legend
07 May 2019Hockney at 80 – Britain’s Greatest Living Artist
02 April 2019The Art of the Steal: Nazi Looting During WWII
05 March 2019Chinese Imperial Court Costume 1644- 1911
05 February 2019The Wallace and Frick Collections and their connection with Knole
08 January 2019Edouard Manet and Music
04 December 2018Giles: His Life, Times and Cartoons
06 November 2018Thomas Heatherwick: “ The Leonardo da Vinci of Our Times”
02 October 2018Captain James Cook and the Enlightenment
03 July 2018Buried Treasures - Spectacular Hoards of Late Roman Silver
05 June 2018Art UK: Uncovering the Nation’s Hidden Oil Painting Collection
01 May 2018The Art of Royal Dress – Why Clothes Matter
03 April 2018Anatomical Drawings of Leonardo da Vinci
06 March 2018Toulouse-Lautrec and the Cabarets of Paris
06 February 2018Votes for Women! – Art, Suffragettes and Female Politicians
09 January 2018The Emperor Hadrian (AD117-138): Architecture as an expression of Imperial Power
05 December 2017Children’s Book Illustrations
07 November 2017Looking at Furniture: Its uses, application, evaluation and aesthetics
03 October 2017Image and History – Art at the Lansdowne Club
04 July 2017Edgar Degas – Realist or Impressionist?
06 June 2017Treasures of the Turf
02 May 2017The Extraordinary Life of Misia Sert – Queen of Paris
04 April 2017Absolutely Classic! Neo Classicism in Regency England

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The World’s Most Expensive Art Mr Ian Swankie Tuesday 02 July 2019

In the last few years the combined price paid for the dozen most expensive artworks is about the same as the cost of building three large public hospitals. This lecture is not about the excesses of the top end of the over-heated art market, but an excuse to examine some beautiful and varied art. These works would not achieve such sky-high prices if they were no good. So we’ll see some wonderful paintings including those by Picasso, Cezanne, Rembrandt, Modigliani, Klimt, Bacon and Pollock, all held together by the common thread of their extraordinary commercial value, being worth at least $100 million each. But we will also look at the buyers and sellers, the back-story of the works, the reasons for changing hands and try to answer the question “Are they are really worth hundreds of millions of pounds?”


Ian Swankie is a Londoner with a passion for art and architecture. He is an official guide at Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Guildhall Art Gallery and St Paul's Cathedral, and gives regular tours at each venue. He is also a qualified and active freelance London guide and a member of both the City of London and Westminster Guide Lecturer Associations. Clients include WEA groups, Transport for London, the National Trust and London Open House. In 2012 he established a weekly independent art lecture group in Richmond and gives talks on a variety of subjects.