Twisted valuation

100 years ago today a small, rather obscure masterpiece was stolen from the Louvre by a disillusioned former(?) employee.  Subsequently:

  • the painting was recovered during an attempt to sell it to an Italian museum
  • the painting toured Italy
  • a campaign started in Italy to keep the painting
  • a campaign started in France to get it back
  • parodies of the painting appeared

Result: the painting was no longer a small, obscure masterpiece.  It was an incredibly famous, larger-than-life painting.

You can read more about it in Chapter 3 of Everything is Obvious*.


Chance has a large effect on valuations.  Rationality need not play a large part.

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