Original Color

Overview

Fred Layton, just graduated from Princeton, lands a job with the larger-than-life Nelson Albright, the East Coast's premier fine-print dealer. Nelson is the Boss from Hell, a man for whom the art takes a backseat to the deal. Under his boss's guidance, Fred learns the ropes: sweet-talking wealthy collectors, stealing clients from his colleagues, and outwitting other dealers. But when Fred discovers a valuable painting hidden within a 200-year-old book, he must decide where his loyalties lie - with the man who ...
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1996-09-01 Hardcover New New Item. Item delivered via UPS in 7-9 business days. Tracking available by request Ships from US. Please allow 1-3 weeks for delivery outside US.

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1996 Hardcover New 0385477368. FLAWLESS COPY, BRAND NEW, PRISTINE, NEVER OPENED---282 pages.

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Overview

Fred Layton, just graduated from Princeton, lands a job with the larger-than-life Nelson Albright, the East Coast's premier fine-print dealer. Nelson is the Boss from Hell, a man for whom the art takes a backseat to the deal. Under his boss's guidance, Fred learns the ropes: sweet-talking wealthy collectors, stealing clients from his colleagues, and outwitting other dealers. But when Fred discovers a valuable painting hidden within a 200-year-old book, he must decide where his loyalties lie - with the man who brought him into the business, or with the collector and ally who can help him escape from it. As he discovers, "original color" is more than a gauge of value for the art he sells; it is also a symbol for holding on to something true and meaningful in an age when money has taken precedence over everything else.
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Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
From the opening brawl at a society party to the final, vicious bidding war at Sotheby's, the misbehavior of the rich and tasteless enlivens Hugh Kennedy's satirical look at art, old money and high-pressure sales. . . . Although Mr. Kennedy has an agile prose style and an eye for hypocrisy, his narrator seems unable to feel deeply for the art he professes to appreciate. . . . When Fred's tyrannical boss explains why he sells artwork only in its 'original color,' Mr. Kennedy makes it clear that his hero cannot yet discern this fine, elusive quality. In a world where art is important because it's expensive, not the other way around, Mr. Kennedy's characters are sadly at home.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The extravagant, soulless late 1980s art scene is the setting for Kennedy's glib and cynical second novel (after Everything Looks Impressive). Fresh out of Princeton, Fred Layton, the 22-year-old narrator, lands a job with Nelson Albright, a megalomaniac dealer of rare prints and maps who will stop at nothing in his pursuit of the almighty dollar. Albright introduces his eager young protg to the absurdly opulent world of sterling silver tape measures and converted duck decoy tissue holders and teaches him that an art dealer's greatest assets are an unshakable sangfroid, a killer instinct and the ability to lie gracefully and convincingly under pressure. Layton is a quick study; before long he's calling himself the "Liberace of decorative arts rhetoric" and worrying that he's becoming "more Nelson than Nelson." Told in 55 lightning-fast chapters, this cheerful send-up of the ridiculous consumption that fueled the era's art boom moves along briskly, jump-cutting from scenes with ignorant nouveau-riche clients to broadly comic descriptions of life at Albright's wildly lavish robber-baron mansion. The title comes from a term used to describe pigment applied at the time of printing (an indication of a print's value). By the novel's end, Layton has learned how to apply this test for authenticity to his own existence; there's more to life, he learns, than sucking up to demanding collectors and massaging their check-writing muscle. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Young, handsome, pleasant, and just out of Princeton, Fred Layton gets a job with the firm of Nelson Albright, a top dealer in fine prints and maps who is also a liar, a cheater, an egomaniac, and a con man who expects his workers' jobs to be their lives. Fred becomes a golden boy, quickly mastering the business and learning that a prized old print has "original color." Fred also discovers what others have knownthat the rich are differentand comes to accept his own homosexuality. This is a fast-paced novel about a high-powered sales world that could just as well be junk bonds or used cars. Kennedy's (Everything Looks Impressive, LJ 2/1/93) milieu is entertaining, but his characters are sometimes tedious. Only larger collections need consider.Barbara Maslekoff, Ohioana Lib., Columbus, Ohio
Kirkus Reviews
A follow-up to 1993's endearing Everything Looks Impressive, with a whiplash funny sprint through the merciless memory of the late-1980s overstuffed art scene.

Kennedy's book might well have been titled Everything Looks Impressive, but Not for Long. Why? Because in the burgeoning career of recent Princeton grad Fred Layton, the 1987 Black Monday stock market crash is right around the corner. Not that Fred's new employer, unscrupulous art dealer and all-around nouveau riche reptile Nelson Albright, gives a hoot. This, after all, is a man who owes Sotheby's millions. Promised by Albright that he'll be a millionaire by the time he's 30, Fred settles into indentured servitude at Albright's Boston gallery, contending with the boss's tidal caprices, sidestepping the plots of a backstabbing fellow salesman, developing jaundiced art-world versions of collegiality and friendship, and struggling—peripherally—with his homosexuality. While wooing several major clients, including a former cocaine trafficker and a wealthy North Carolina society matron, Fred learns how to lie through his teeth, improvise art history, and pass off damaged prints as rare art. He even gets picked up by a luscious Texas antiques dealer, but he fails to muster the gumption to betray the supremely self-interested Albright. After the crash, Albright's already shaky finances undergo a full-fledged assault from a rival dealer, Oksana Outka, who raids her main competitor's clientele and schemes to have Albright exiled from the art world. Fred makes a hobby of rescuing Albright from the abyss, but the flamboyant gallerist's abusive, blowtorch personality leaves Fred dreaming of escape, and the action concludes with a memorable confrontation at a Sotheby's auction. Kennedy showcases a talent for deft plotting, wonderfully bitchy dialogue, and for savage caricature, memorably rendering the hypermoneyed as a pack of jackals mistaking the smell of dollars for good taste.

A droll, madcap, witty, downright old-fashioned romp that mixes dynamite satire with featherweight tragedy. Kennedy was one to watch. Now he's one to wait for.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385477369
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/1/1996
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.97 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 1.03 (d)

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