The New York Times held a disturbing article about the worth of art after the death of the artist, limited supply and all. It's an old story told in perhaps a new way, as increasingly mega-galleries need "fresh" top shelf goods to suppy the hot list demand. And if it is not there, it might be dug out literally from beyond the grave.
An integral part of the story was the artists' inability or refusal to play ball: they avoided studio visits or the "audition." Another subtext, subtly mentioned but not really explored, is the fact that some of us, from time to time, recycle our works in order to make new ones. Because well, they didn't sell. One artist sold only two paintings while languishing (but at least still alive!) in his years in the gallery system.
The 1980s is specifically targeted as the spawning ground for these artists and "a period now considered hot." Most of us made no money back then, but we could watch the escalating view and reportage of rising artstars like Basquiat and Haring and feel a part of that somehow. And making a painting on top of an old painting was really not all that unusual.
What happens after death looms more when you're on the other side of 50, as I am and as are some of my artist friends. We may not have second vacation homes and big stock portfolios. In fact some never bought a home at all. The "stock portfolio" is the pile of paintings and other works built up over of a lifetime. Of course you wonder when it actually becomes that nest egg and not this mass which just takes up room, increasingly becoming a drag every time you have to move. When Jack Goldstein commited suicide in 2003, there still wasn't a hot market for his work (see image above). Now they hover at $250,00. I wonder if some of the paintings have another underneath?
Sharon Butler also made note of this article - Secrets for posthumous success - and provided some related links.