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For those of us without fabulous wealth, it’s hard to appreciate the psychic brutality at work in the art collection game. High profile collectors aren’t usually aesthetes or intellectuals; they’re corporate raiders and law partners. They play for keeps, which is why the auction system ends up being so lucrative. The goal is to put together a collection that will command respect, and whoever ends up with the best stuff wins.

Luckily, the aesthetes at Assouline are stepping in to lend a hand. They’ve just put out The Impossible Collection, a guide to the 100 most valuable works of art in the world. It says what they are, why they matter, and where you can find each and every one. The book itself will set you back 500 dollars, but the value of the art is incalculable. Still, it’s nice to have a goal.

The Impossible Collection, chronologically:

1. Picasso, Pablo Yo Picasso 1901 Private Collection.

2. Claude Monet, Le parlement, reflets sur la Tamise, 1905. Musée Marmottan, Paris.

3. Derain, André, Charing Cross Bridge, 1906, National Gallery of Art, Washington.

4. Picasso, Pablo Les Demoiselles d’Avignon 1907 MoMA, NY.

5. Klimt, Gustav The Kiss 1906-07 The Belvedere Museum, Vienna.

6. Matisse, Henri Back/Dos I 1913-30. Pompidou, Paris.

7. Braque, Georges Le Pont De La Roche-Guyon 1909. Private Collection.

8. Matisse, Henri Dance 1909-1910. The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg.

9. Delaunay, Robert, Disque, 1912-13. Private Collection.

10. Kandinsky, Wassily Komposition VI 1913 The Hermitage, Leningrad.

11. Leger, Fernand Contraste de Formes 1913. Private Collection.

12. Matisse, Back/Dos II. 1913. Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

13. Picasso, Pablo Guitar 1914. MoMA, NY.

14. De Chirico, Giorgio Mystery and Melancholy of a Street 1914.

15. Malevich, Kasimir Black Cross 1915. Pompidou, Paris.

16. Chagall, Marc Birthday 1915. MoMA, NY.

17. Matisse, Back/Dos III. 1916-1917. Centre Georges Pompidou.

18. Schiele, Egon Self-portrait with Checkered Shirt 1912. Private Collection.

19. Duchamp, Marcel Fountain 1917. Tate, London.

20. Picabia, Francis Parade Amoureuse 1917. Private Collection.

21. Ernst, Max Paysage en Ferraille 1921. Private Collection

22. Mondrian, Piet Tableau II 1921. Private Collection

23. Soutine, Chaim Side of Beef and Calf’s Head 1923. Orangerie Museum.

24. Miro, Joan Carnival of Harlequin 1924-25. Albright Knox Museum, Buffalo NY.

25. Brancusi, Constantin Bird in Space 1925. National Gallery, Washington D.C.

26. Giacometti, Alberto Spoon Woman 1926. MoMA, NY.

27. Magritte, Rene The Treachery of Images 1929. LACMA, Los Angeles.

28. Matisse, Back/Dos IV, 1930. Centre Georges Pompidou.
29. Dali, Salvador The Persistence of Memory 1931. MoMA, NY.
30. Klee, Paul Ad Parnassum 1932. Kunstmuseum, Switzerland, Bern.
31. Gonzalez, Julio Petite Danseuse I 1934-35. Pompidou, Paris.
32. Calder, Alexander Standing Mobile 1935. Private Collection
33. Picasso, Pablo Weeping Woman 1937. Tate, London.

34. Bonnard, Pierre NU 1932. Private Collection.

35. Kahlo, Frida The Two Fridas 1939. Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City.

36. Leger, Fernand La Belle Equipe 1944-45. Private Collection

37. Dubuffet, Jean Fautrier Araignée Au Front 1947. Private Collection

38. Pollock, Jackson One: Number 31, 1950 1950. MoMA, NY.

39. De Kooning, Willem Woman, I 1950-52. MoMA, NY.

40. Rothko, Mark No 2, 1951. Private Collection

41. Matisse, Henri Memory of Oceania 1952-53. MoMA, NY.

42. Bacon, Francis Pope Innocent X 1953. Des Moines Art Center.

43. Burri, Alberto Sacco 1953. Private Collection.

44. Johns, Jasper Target with Plaster Casts 1955. Private Collection.

45. Kline, Franz Monitor 1956. MOCA, Los Angeles.

46. Twombly, Cy The Blue Room 1957. Private Collection.

47. Manzoni, Piero Achrome 1958-59. Private Collection

48. Rauschenberg, Robert Canyon 1959. Sonnabend collection.

49. Stella, Frank The Marriage of Reason and Squalor, II, MOMA, NY. 1959.

50. Newman, Barnett White Fire II 1960. Kunstmuseum, Switzerland, Basel.

51. Giacometti, Alberto Walking Man, 1960. Beyeler Foundation, Switzerland.

52. Klein, Yves Anthropologie (ANT 78) 1960. Private Collection

53. Martin, Agnes The Dark River 1961. Private Collection

54. Oldenburg, Claes Pastry Case, I 1961-62. MoMA, NY.

55. Warhol, Andy, Campbell’s Soup Cans, 1962. MOMA, NY.

56. Lichtenstein, Roy Eddie Diptych 1962. Private Collection

57. Raysse, Martial Seventeen (titre journalistique) 1962. Private collection.

58. Flavin, Dan 25th (to Constantin Bracusi) 1963. Dia Art Foundation, NY

59. Warhol, Andy Eight Elvis 1963. Private Collection

60. Fontana, Lucio Concetto Spaziale La Fine di Dio 1963. Private Collection.

61. Smith, David Cubi VII 1963. The Art Institute of Chicago.

62. Andy Warhol, Red Explosion (Atomic Bomb), 1963

63. Rauschenberg, Robert Retroactive I 1964. Wadsworth Atheneum.

64. Kawara, On Title, 1965

65. Ryman, Robert Windsor 6 1965. Private Collection

66. Ruscha, Ed Los Angeles County Museum on Fire, 1965-68. Hirschhorn Museum, Washington D.C.

67. Richter, Gerhard Woman Descending Staircase 1965. The Art Institute of Chicago.

68. Joseph Beuys, Infiltration homogen für Konzertflügel (Homogeneous Infiltration for Piano), 1966, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

69. Polke, Sigmar Bunnies 1966. Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C.

70. Judd, Donald Untitled 1966, Private collection

71. Hesse, Eva Untitled or Not Yet (nine nets) 1966. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

72. Nauman, Bruce My Name As Though it Were Written On the Surface of the Moon 1960. Private Collection

73. Baldessari, John What is Painting? 1966-68. MoMA, NY.

74. Nauman, Bruce Henry Moore Bound to Fail 1967-70. Private Collection

75. Mario Merz “Objet cache toi”, 1968. Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (Dr Broeker).

76. Serra, Richard Prop 1968. Whitney Museum, NY.

77. Andre, Carl 37th Piece of Work 1969-81. Private Collection

78. Richter, Gerhard 1024 Farben 1973. Private Collection.

79. Gilbert and George Dusty Corners No.13 1975. Private Collection

80. Sherman, Cindy Untitled Film Still #7 1978. Editioned work

81. Basquiat, Jean-Michel Notary 1983. Private Collection

82. Koons, Jeff Rabbit 1986. Editioned work

83. Kelley, Mike More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid and the Wages of Sin 1987. The Whitney Museum, NY.

84. Kippenberger, Martin Self-Portrait 1988. Saatchi Collection

85. Wool, Christopher Apocalypse Now (p.50) 1988. Private Collection

86. Noland, Cady Oozewald 1989. Private Collection

87. Prince, Richard Untitled (Cowboy) 1989. Metropolitan Museum, NY.

88. Gonzalez-Torres, Felix Untitled (USA Today) 1990. MoMA, NY.

89. Gober, Robert Untitled 1991. Private Collection

90. Hirst, Damien The Physical Impossibility of Death In the Mind of Someone Living 1991. Private collection

91. Tuymans, Luc Der Diagnostische Blick IV 1992. Private Collection

92. Koons, Jeff Puppy 1992. Germany.

93. Ray, Charles Family Romance, 1993. MoMA, NY.

94. Gursky, Andreas Paris Montparnasse 1993.

95. Cattelan, Maurizio Bidibidobidiboo 1996. Private Collection

96. Viola, Bill The Crossing (still from video projection) 1996. Editioned work.

97. Murakami, Takashi My Lonesome Cowboy 1998/ Hiropon 1997. Editioned works

98. Hammons, David Untitled 2000. Private Collection

99.Fischer, Urs Jet-set Lady 2000. Private Collection

100. Stingel, Rudolph Untitled 2000. Private Collection

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom