First U.S. edition. Illustrated. Mostly concerns the changes undergone by Sotheby in the 1960s and 1970s. viii , 269 pages. cloth, dust jacket.. 8vo..
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Sold! presents the history of Sotheby's auction house and emphasizes the role of Peter Wilson in its rise to preemi nence in the art auction business. Wil son nearly single-handedly transformed the way we look at artfrom viewing art as objects of beauty to regarding art as an investment. Unfortunately, after he retired, Sotheby's fell on hard times, resulting in a takeover attempt by two American businessmen. This is the point at which Jeffrey Hogrefe's book begins. Sotheby's board of directors ob jected to the two businessmen primarily because they were American manufac turers rather than Britons of noble lin eage. A hint of anti-Semitism also can not be overlooked. The takeover struggle was long and bitter, only to be resolved when Sotheby's found a buyer they could accept in Alfred Taubman, ironically also an American Jewish busi nessman. The two books make interest ing foils as one reveals the discreet Brit ish style while the other is written in the expose style familiar in American jour nalism. Faith's book is rather tedious, full of price quotations and British terms which are not explained for American readers. Hogrefe's book is much more readable and perhaps of greater interest because it focuses on a particular period of Sotheby's history. Regrettably, nei ther book is totally satisfying, with many questions left unanswered. Lyn nell A. Morr, John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art Lib., Sarasota, Fla.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This slick chronicle of Sotheby's auction house and its rivalry with Christie's shows that a team of skilled propagandists helped to legitimize the once-disreputable trade of the art auctioneer. It also points up that the U.S. was late in discovering that there is big money in art and explains how Americans made up for lost time. The focus is on Sotheby's former chairman, Peter Wilson, here referred to cloyingly as "PCW." Faith, an English journalist who writes for Euromoney, portrays him as a hustler and a street-smart auctioneer. Art dealers come off as conniving enemies of the auctioneers in this opinionated report. Although the author overplays Wilson's importance on the international art scene, he does provide an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the rarefied world of the big auction houses, their wheelings and dealings and their tidy profits. U.K. and translation rights: Hamish Hamilton. January 2
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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