ROGUES’ GALLERY: A HISTORY OF ART AND ITS DEALERS – Buy it here
Philip Hook takes the lid off the world of art dealing to reveal the brilliance, cunning, greed and daring of its practitioners. In a richly anecdotal chronological narrative he describes the rise and occasional fall of the extraordinary men and women who over the centuries have made it their business to sell art to kings, merchants, nobles, entrepreneurs and museums. From its beginnings in Antwerp, where paintings were sometimes sold by weight, to the rich hauteur of the contemporary gallery in London, Paris and New York, art dealing has, he shows, been about identifying what is intangible but infinitely desirable, and then finding clients for whom it is irresistible. Those who have purveyed art for a living range from tailors, spies and the occasional anarchist to scholars, aristocrats, merchants and connoisseurs, each variously motivated by greed, belief in their own vision of art and its history, or simply the will to win.
Philip Hook’s history is one of human folly, greed and duplicity, interspersed with ingenuity, inspiration and acts of heroism. Rogues’ Gallery is learned, witty and irresistibly readable.
“Philip Hook’s fascinating and elegantly written book is a close examination of the history of the art-money nexus and the middlemen – the art dealers – who make the connection… Rogues’ Gallery is both wise and timely: there never was a moment when the old adage “caveat emptor” seemed more apt. Buyer beware – be very aware.” William Boyd, The Guardian
“Hook himself is no slouch in the drollery department, which makes this book, full of colourful characters, a pleasure to read.” The Times
“Hook, who writes suavely and racily, and who has a fabulous ear for anecdotes, is the forgiving type, and his entertaining book has a Wodehousian tone that makes even the most heinous act it describes glint with comedy.” Sunday Times
PUBLISHER: PROFILE BOOKS
PUBLICATION DATE: 2nd February 2017
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