Overview

The Art of the Steal tells the story of several larger-than-life figures - the billionaire tycoon Alfred Taubman; the most powerful woman in the art world, Dede Brooks; and the wily British executive Christopher Davidge - who conspired to cheat their clients out of millions of dollars. It offers an unprecedented look inside this secretive, glamorous, gold-plated industry, describing just how Sotheby's and Christie's grew from clubby, aristocratic businesses into slick international corporations. And it shows how ...
See more details below
The Art of the Steal

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$12.99
BN.com price

Overview

The Art of the Steal tells the story of several larger-than-life figures - the billionaire tycoon Alfred Taubman; the most powerful woman in the art world, Dede Brooks; and the wily British executive Christopher Davidge - who conspired to cheat their clients out of millions of dollars. It offers an unprecedented look inside this secretive, glamorous, gold-plated industry, describing just how Sotheby's and Christie's grew from clubby, aristocratic businesses into slick international corporations. And it shows how the groundwork for the most recent illegal activities was laid decades before the perpetrators were caught by federal prosecutors.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Veteran art writer Mason does a good job separating the bad guys from the slightly less bad guys in his lively, anecdote-packed saga about how the world's two leading auction houses, Sotheby's and Christie's, conspired to fix prices on everything from famous paintings to antique furniture. Alfred Taubman, the shopping-mall king who bought Sotheby's in 1983 to keep it from falling into the hands of a couple of carpet salesmen, became the only principal in the case to actually do jail time apparently due to what some courtroom observers labeled "the worst defense money can buy." It didn't help that Diana "DeDe" Brooks, who started her career as an unpaid intern and whose workaholic habits persuaded Taubman to make her Sotheby's CEO, became one of the government's chief witnesses against Taubman. On the Christie's side, the lineup features a number of snobbish Brits, including Christie's CEO, Christopher Davidge, who seems to have sold everyone else down the river. It would have made for smoother reading if Mason (or his editor) had done some pruning: how many times do we need to be told that Brooks is six feet tall or that Taubman's wife, Judy, is a glamorous former beauty queen? But in the end, it's the story that carries the day an amazing and depressing chronicle of greed in the name of culture that should (but probably won't) keep art buyers from ever walking into an auction house again. Agent, Todd Shuster at Zachary Shuster Harmsworth. (May 11) Forecast: Blurbs from Dominick Dunne and Amanda Foresman, author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire, will help reach those who read Vanity Fair and other upscale magazines. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A damning story of dirty dealing in the art world. In the early 1980s, the auction house Sotheby's was in trouble, with a faltering economy and its chairman's profligacy threatening to bring the venerable institution to its knees. Enter shopping-mall magnate Alfred Taubman, who appreciated the gloss Sotheby's would add to his resume and the swell parties he would be able to attend. It didn't take long for Taubman to realize that business could be conducted more profitably if certain niceties were observed-namely, agreeing with fellow auctioneer Christie's upon buyer's premiums and commission rates "mutually beneficial to both firms." There follows, in Mason's fair reporting, a tale of "divvying up big estates on a one-for-me, one-for-you basis," attempting to ensure that all lots at auction commanded the highest possible price. British law and American law clashed over what exactly constituted collusion, but a Christie's executive squealed, quailing at the prospect of besmirching his name, let alone jail time. The whole rotten edifice crumbled, as Mason intricately details. Suddenly, what was thought to be the ultimate in fair bidding became a joke, revealing "a deceitful, secretive criminal scheme whose object and purpose was illegal profit." (Though fabulously rich clients wanting to "deaccession a few major pieces" may not prompt excessive amounts of reader sympathy.) The defendants didn't even demonstrate a measure of contrition: "Blinded by ambition, you substituted shame for fame," the judge lectured Sotheby's chief Diana Brooks, who in his view traded her title of CEO "to be branded a thief and common criminal." Taubman skipped with minor punishment, and Mason baldly suggests thatconnections served him both on the way up and on the way down. Journalist Mason calls into question exactly what drives the art market at so breathtakingly profitable a pace. Agent: Todd Shuster/Zachary Shuster Harmsworth
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440627828
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/3/2005
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 645,765
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Christopher Mason is a contributor to the New York Times and New York magazine. He writes frequently on the worlds of art, society, fashion, and design.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)