It's a canvas painted blue with a line on it... nothing more nothing less...
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You are encountering a phenomena that economists refer to as a Velben good.
"DEFINITION of 'Veblen Good' A good for which demand increases as the price increases, because of its exclusive nature and appeal as a status symbol. A Veblen good, like a Giffen good, has an upward-sloping demand curve, which runs counter to the typical downward-sloping curve."
The painting is worth $44 million because:
- there is only and will only ever be one of these paintings
- the person who bought it "wins" in the sense that he has demonstrated his wealth and proved his discerning taste
- as world wide population grows and aggregate wealth grows, the demand for a fixed supply of art increases, consequently, the next owner can be expected to pony up closer to $50 million. (On the day of that sale, a $44 million art purchase will have been prudent.)
Hope that helps.