Rogues' Gallery: The Rise (and Occasional Fall) of Art Dealers, the Hidden Players in the History of Art (Paperback)
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; Paul Durand-Ruel, the Impressionists’ champion; Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, high priest of Cubism; Leo Castelli, dealer-midwife to Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art; 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 reading for anyone interested in the hidden history of art.
About the Author
Philip Hook was, until recently, a board member and senior director of Impressionist and Modern Art at Sotheby’s in London. He has over 45 years’ experience and expertise in the art market as an auctioneer and dealer. He joined Christie’s in 1973 with a degree in the history of art from Cambridge University, and he headed Christie’s 19th Century Paintings Department from 1980 to 1987. He has appeared regularly on the BBC’s classic long-running series, Antiques Roadshow, as a picture expert. He is the author of five novels set in the art world and four nonfiction books, the most recent of which, Rogues’ Gallery, was also published by The Experiment. He lives in London.