Sold: The Rise and Fall of the House of Sotheby

Nicholas Faith, Author MacMillan Publishing Company $0 (269p) ISBN 978-0-02-536970-2
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
Reviewed on: 01/01/1985
Release date: 01/01/1985
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