Chiaroscuro

Peter Clothier, Author St. Martin's Press $14.95 (259p) ISBN 978-0-312-13178-4
As every collector knows, the only good artist (in dollar value) is a dead one. In Chiaroscuro, someone seems to be hastening the process by killing them off and it is up to Jacob Molnar, a renowned but reclusive painter, to find out how and why. For some 20 years, Jake has steered clear of hypesters concerned with the trendier aspects of art, but in an effort to uncover the reasons for an old friend's death, he plunges into that domain with a vengeance. Eventually he is able to unveil a portrait of greed ugly enough to shake the foundations of the art world, from SoHo to Sotheby's. A multimillion-dollar scam is afootinvolving collectors, galleries, an artist's ex-wife, two lovers and, all-too-belatedly, the police. Mostly, however, it's Jake's show and his stubborn insistence on frequently going alone and unarmed into the lionizer's den, sounds the only false note in an otherwise excellent story. Clothier, a former dean of the Otis Art Institute, is better armed. His deft rendering of the contemporary art milieu lifts this work well above the demands of the mystery genre, telling us as much about the real ""little murders'' of talent as it does about the fictional ones. December
Reviewed on: 01/01/1985
Release date: 01/01/1985
Paperback - 978-0-451-14861-2
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