Here for the first time is the history of art dealers, those extraordinary men and women who, over centuries (and almost entirely out of the public eye), built their profession on a singular skill: identifying the intangible but infinitely desirable qualities that characterize the greatest works of art-and finding clients for whom those qualities are irresistible.
Philip Hook's riveting narrative takes us from the early days of art dealing in Antwerp, where paintings were sold by weight, to the unassailable hauteur of contemporary galleries in New York, London, Paris, and beyond. Along the way, we meet a surprisingly wide-ranging cast of characters-from tailors, spies, and the occasional anarchist to scholars, aristocrats, and connoisseurs, some compelled by greed, some by their own vision of art-and some by the art of the deal. Among them are Joseph Duveen, who almost single-handedly brought the Old Masters to America; Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, high priest of Cubism; and Peter Wilson, the charismatic Sotheby's chairman who made a theater of the auction room.
Rogues' Gallery bursts with unforgettable anecdotes and astute judgments about art and artists, honed by Hook's more than forty years in the art market-making it essential listening for anyone interested in the hidden history of art.
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