A behind-the-scenes look at the world's art market reveals the art connoisseurs, collectors, artists, dealers, and auction houses that have shaped tastes in art and created record-breaking sales for art masterpieces. 25,000 first printing. $35,000 ad/promo.
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Watson's colorful, anecdotal history of the development of the modern art market opens with his behind-the-scenes account of the 1990 Christie's auction that saw the sale of a van Gogh portrait for a record $82.5 million. His theme--that auctioneers and dealers have shaped the art market as arbiters of public taste--receives sporadic support, as in his account of the New York Armory Show of 1913 or a discussion of dealer Siegfried Bing, "godfather of Art Nouveau." Art critic for the London Observer and the Spectator, Watson entertainingly covers art scandals, big deals and changing fashions, profiling such dealers as Ambroise Vollard, Daniel Wildenstein and the notorious Joseph Duvenn as well as collectors such as Gertrude Stein, Isabella Stewart Gardner and Louisine Havemeyer. He airs the fierce current rivalry between Sotheby's and Christie's and suggests that much of the recent art boom was artifically generated, involving shady purchases by Japanese buyers who used art to launder money for Japan's political parties, corporations and organized crime. Illustrations not seen by PW. First serial to Vanity Fair; author tour.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
With a wily sense of humor and a keen eye for detail, Watson, a British journalist and the author of nine books, has created "the first integrated account of the development of the modern art market." Beginning his narrative with an intimate backstage view of the extraordinary $75 million sale of Van Gogh's "Dr. Gachet" in 1990, he relates a masterful historical journey through the evolution of auctioneering, from "licensed swindling" to "the great spectator sport of our day." Among the myriad influences that have shaped the current art market are an international host of colorful characters, fluctuating economic conditions, and changing tastes, all of which Watson relays with the same "refinement and polish" he used in his mystery novel Landscape of Lies ( LJ 1/90) to bring the reader to an understanding of today's art market. Recommended for libraries with a strong interest in the arts and for the would-be art investor. (Illustrations not seen.)-- Vicki Gadberry, Harris Media Ctr., Mars Hill Coll., N.C.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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