on 25 August 2004
While for most people this particular scandal probably passed them by it was big news in the art world.
The two major auction houses were discovered to have been colluding over prices charged to sellers and large fines and prison sentances followed.
Although it is impossible to feel sorry for those caught red-handed it is almost beyond belief that those responsible at Christie's were able to walk away scott free while the Sotheby's people were fined and jailed.
What also seems remarkable is that others in the auction houses were involved but were not implicated and, according to the book, are still working there.
Christopher Mason writes in fluid, easily digestable, journalese. This is not history but a cracking yarn, an extended magazine article. And, in the gossipy, bitchy art world this is exactly what is wanted - although we could have done with even more cattiness and less even handedness.
If you are interested in auction houses I would recommend this book as it gives a lively insight into what it must be like have a top position there.
If you are interesed in business I would recommed reading this book. If one is ever in danger of believing one's own hype, or thinking that one is above the law this book will bring you back down to earth.
Equally if you about to commit a white collar crime this is also worth investing in. The lesson is get yourself a good lawyer and you can get away with anything!
on 24 May 2004
A riveting and true story of personal and corporate greed, ambition and manipulation in the high-stakes business of art auctions. The book is a fascinating insider's view of the worlds of fine art, international jet-set society, corporate finance and the law.
A cautionary tale. While some are punished for their hubris and wrongdoing, unlike fiction, others equally or possibly more guilty continue to flourish in spectacular ways.
It's got everything: money, sex, religion, politics, royalty, international travel, the media, gossip, greed, jealousy, comedy, tragedy, and of course crime and punishment. What a story!
P.S. Try ordering it from the US if you can't find it at home.
on 3 June 2004
Gripping story of the recent price-fixing scandal at Sotheby's and Chrisitie's. Apparently unlikely to be published in the UK because of libel laws, although the author is careful with issues that might defame, this is still a great read, and should interest anyone that has had any dealings with the Art Market. Written by an American, it tends to favour the American Sotheby's over the British Christie's, who come out of the story as the 'baddies'. Worth going to Amazon.com to order.