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Portrait Inflation? 'Greenspan' Fetches $150,400
Time:2010-08-05
It's not a Picasso, but for the price you'd have been able to buy one.

An oil painting of newly retired Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan by 25-year-old artist Erin Crowe was auctioned on the online market eBay on Friday for $150,400 (85,000 pounds). ?

For that hefty sum, you could have snapped up an oil by celebrated American portrait painter John Singer Sargent at a New York auction in November or grabbed a Picasso sketch in May -- and still had money left to burn.

If nothing else, Crowe's work is unique. It was created in one day under the glare of the public eye at business cable channel CNBC. And it wasn't just any day -- it was Greenspan's 6,749th and final day in office.

"It absolutely takes my breath away," said Crowe, who began painting the iconic Fed chief in 2003 and has completed some 56 pictures of him in various poses.

CNBC put the 24-by-30 inch painting, which captures a typically pensive expression on the central banker's face, up for auction to raise money for Autism Speaks, an organisation dedicated to research on the developmental disorder.

"People often bid premiums for things if they think the money is going towards a good cause," said eBay spokesman Hani Durzy. Asked if this was the reason for the lofty price, Durzy hedged. "I would have no idea," he said. "I'm no art expert."

For Crowe, a Virginia native studying art at Goldsmiths College in London whose most expensive previous work sold for $12,000, the eBay auction and Greenspan's departure marked the end of an era.
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