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From the Hardcover edition.
"An account of the runaway market of the mid-2000s—where auction houses sold close to $400 million of art in a night, and the value of a Warhol might quadruple in a month—and one private dealer’s attempt to adjust….Polsky’s prose is as unpolished as his persona, but that only adds to the rare candor that animates his riveting account of behind-the-scenes trading. Now that the market has plummeted, we can only hope he’ll be able to buy back his Warhol and complete the trilogy."—San Francisco Magazine
"[A] breezy memoir of the art market before the economic crash."—The New York Review of Books
“Entertaining…[Polsky’s] memoir takes the reader on a wild ride about the business of buying and selling this real estate, where one must learn how to play it cool, even when millions of dollars are at stake.”—Carol Hoenig, The Huffington Post
"In this instructive, irreverent and often uproarious memoir, Polsky explains the capricious functioning of the art market and the economic and cultural forces that have transformed it from the 1980s… A highly enjoyable and informative insider's guide to a milieu to which few are privy, this will be of interest to the general reader seeking to understand the art world's economic evolution and cultural impact, told through a delightfully vital mixture of memoir, reportage and social satire."—Publishers Weekly
"A fun insider's look at the excesses and intrigue of the contemporary art market…[Polsky's knowledge] makes his narrative as informative as it is engaging, and his enthusiasm for revealing behind-the-scenes tales brings the eclectic cast of the art world to vivid life…Insightful, exciting art-world memoir."—Kirkus Reviews
"A wild roller coaster ride is nothing compared to the vertiginous ups and downs of the contemporary art market between 2005 and 2009 described by Richard Polsky… The scene is crazy, sexy and never boring…A sardonic guide takes readers on a dizzying, dishy and fascinating tour of the recently crazy market for contemporary art."—John McFarland, Shelf Awareness
"An exciting, engaging, and marvelously candid view of the art world. For anyone even faintly curious about art this is a must."— Thomas Hoving, Former Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Personally, I only sip champagne. I’m there to do business. For that reason, I always make it a point to have breakfast before going to Christie’s. There’s nothing worse than trying to shake the hand of a client when yours is covered with cream cheese. Ditto for trying to have a serious discussion with a collector, who’s staring at your teeth, dotted with black poppy seeds from a bagel. Finally, unlike me, the real power dealers don’t touch the champagne, demonstrating their taste is above the inexpensive label being served.
Simply put, the Christie’s brunch offers a unique overview of the players who make up the art market. Whether it’s a dealer exaggerating to a colleague about how much money he just made on a sale, a collector lying about how he was the underbidder on last year’s recordbreaking work by (fill in the name of a famous artist), or an auction house expert insisting whatever painting you point to is the best of its kind, it’s all pretty amusing–to an outsider.
Posted May 14, 2013
Posted February 21, 2010
In i sold Andy Warhol. (too soon), Richard Polsky takes the reader on a tour of high priced art and the dealer world of artists, buyers, sellers, galleries, auction houses, and of course, the deal. Polsky is well suited to this task as he has been involved in most of these roles. As a former galley owner and collector, he purchased art and sold it. He is intimately familiar with the big auction houses and the inside manuverings that characterize the transfer of great art from one collector to another.
The book is loosely organized around Polsky's quest to find an Andy Warhol painting for one of his clients. They work the network, approaching known Warhol collectors, quizzing galleries, and attending auctions. All of this brings angst to Polsky. He had had a Warhol and sold it years ago, before the meteoric rise of art prices. Seeing what a Warhol brought at today's prices (a million or more) made his selling that much more painful.
I found the discussion about how the art world is changing quite interesting. Polsky sees a decline in galleries and more and more attention shifting to the big auctions. He redefines himself in this world, changing his role to an art purchasing advisor rather than a gallery owner, and believes this is where many who want to stay in this world will end up as a career choice. I also found the world of the super-rich and their concerns interesting.
This book is recommended for anyone interested in art, how artists work, and especially the finance of great art.