In his 40th book, Auchincloss continues the fictional chronicles of the New York elitist establishment and their insidiously controlling power plays. This time the art world is the locale. In a small but distinguished museum on Central Park West, battle lines are arranged, pitting a brash young curator, imbued with a craving for personal grandeur and a lust for the directorship of the museum, against colleagues whose main concern is the integrity of the collections they guard. In order to pin down the collection of an aged patrician benefactor, Miss Evelyn Speddon, opportunist Mark Addams even agrees to marry her companion, a young woman who works in the museum and who is dedicated to the preservation of the Speddon collection. Predictably, on the death of Miss Speddon, the museum president disregards her will, begins to deaccession items and embarks on a strategy that will aggrandize his reputation as an innovative developer and builder. Although sex plays a pivotal role in the byzantine relationships of curators and collectors, Auchincloss is not as successful in portraying credible liaisons as he is in making real the ways in which art is big business. Auchincloss, who is president of the Museum of the City of New York, is a deft guide through a closed-in world. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988 Release date: 05/01/1988 Genre: Fiction
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