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Rogues' Gallery : A History of Art and its Dealers

written by Philip Hook

Profile Books Ltd | ISBN 9781781255704

Hardback – 320 pages

$40.00

Member’s price: $36.00
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Sotheby's art expert exposes five centuries of history, scandals, big wins and horrifying losses in the international art world.

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.

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