The Art Detective

The Art Detective

Fakes, Frauds, and Finds and the Search for Lost Treasures

Book - 2009
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The art world has never seemed quite so treacherous, so beguiling- and so much fun

What separates a masterpiece from a piece of junk? Thanks to the BBC's Antiques Roadshow and its American spin-off, everyone is searching garage sales and hunting online for hidden gems, wondering whether their attics contain trash or treasures. In The Art Detective , Philip Mould, one of the world's foremost authorities on British portraiture and an irreverent and delightful expert for the Roadshow , serves up his secrets and his best stories, blending the technical details of art detection and restoration with juicy tales peopled by a range of eccentric collectors, scholars, forgers, and opportunists.

Peppered with practical advice, each chapter focuses on one particular painting and the mystery that surrounds it. Mould is our trusty detective, tracking down clues, uncovering human foibles and following hunches until the truth is revealed. Mould is known for his ability to crack the toughest puzzles and whether he's writing about a fake Norman Rockwell, a hidden Rembrandt, or a lost Gainsborough, he brings both the art and the adventure to life. The Art Detective is memoir, mystery, art history, and brilliant yarn all rolled into one.

Publisher: New York : Viking, c2009
ISBN: 9780670021857
Branch Call Number: 702.88 MOU 2009
Characteristics: 261 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 22 cm


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Dec 22, 2012

The title is a bit misleading - Mould deals with only one forgery in any depth. The book is more about the thrill of the hunt - finding, researching & bidding on intriguing artworks, then watching them come alive under the restorer's care. I learned a bit about the auction process (I was surprised that one auction house let him have a redo when it transpired that they had inadvertently inflated the price by having him bid against his own agent). Mould is clearly passionate about British portraiture, a genre often overlooked on this side of the Atlantic, and is an appealing guide to the art world.

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