On a recent trip to Paris I returned to the Louvre after an absence of over 15 years. There had been some changes since my last visit. The crowds were just as big and the excitement was palpable as we wound around the stanchions towards the door. Once inside I was a little put off by the presence of an American fast food giant, but, I made my way past the lobby to the exhibit halls and slowly made my way along the corridors stopping now and again to pay extra attention to a painting or statue that held my attention.
High on my list of priorities was paying a visit to La Joconde, or the Mona Lisa as the painting is more commonly known. It was there that I noticed one of the first changes. Instead of being roped off in a familiar spot along a corridor, the lady now occupied her own salon and the throng of tourists jockeying to get a photo of or “selfie” with the painting was even bigger than when I first saw her more than a decade ago.
How long have we held the attention of others with our art? It’s said that Leonardo da Vinci started work on the portrait in 1503 and finished three years later. The Mona Lisa was acquired and hung in the Louvre in 1797 and is considered the most widely known and talked about painting in the world.
Art is generally considered to be a good investment. Nothing stirs the imagine like hearing about the discovery of a masterpiece that’s been hanging in grandma’s house for decades. Or the appraisal of a seemingly ordinary piece found at a garage sale that turns out to be one-off worth hundreds of thousands of dollars today.
Artwork may not be the first thing you think of when you compile your holiday shopping list, but when you consider the great deals you can get when you shop the Groupon site for art you might think again. High quality giclee prints that are professionally matted and framed might be just the thing for the art snob on your list, and they’ll never know you paid up to 60% off for it and other top quality pieces. And with prices ranging from less than $10 for Instagram prints to prints of artworks by Edward Degas costing hundreds of dollars, there’s something for every budget.