The Golden Calves

The Golden Calves

by Louis Auchincloss
     
 

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In this novel, set in a fictitious New York museum, the bequest of a rich but high-minded elderly lady is vandalized by the scheming lawyer who heads the board of trustees.Claverack, the board's chairman, is also executor of the will of Evelyn Speddon, who has been given an autonomous enclave at the museum for her holdings in the decorative arts.

But Claverack

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Overview

In this novel, set in a fictitious New York museum, the bequest of a rich but high-minded elderly lady is vandalized by the scheming lawyer who heads the board of trustees.Claverack, the board's chairman, is also executor of the will of Evelyn Speddon, who has been given an autonomous enclave at the museum for her holdings in the decorative arts.

But Claverack eagerly awaits Miss Speddon's death so that with her bequest he can bend the museum to his own . . . interests—mainly contemporary painting. Miss Speddon's enclave is presided over by Anita Vogel, whom she regards as a daughter. To promote the Speddon bequest, Claverack bids Mark Addams, the museum's young director, to pursue Anita with a show of romantic interest.

Editorial Reviews

Grace Glueck
. . . [Al]though [Auchincloss] is refreshingly revealing about the nonpublic side of art institutions, the Styrofoam characters and quickie scenario of The Golden Calves don't begin to tap the rich, ripe material offered by America's rampant cultural ambitions.
New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In his 40th book, Auchincloss continues the fictional chronicles of the New York elitist establishment and their insidiously controlling power plays. This time the art world is the locale. In a small but distinguished museum on Central Park West, battle lines are arranged, pitting a brash young curator, imbued with a craving for personal grandeur and a lust for the directorship of the museum, against colleagues whose main concern is the integrity of the collections they guard. In order to pin down the collection of an aged patrician benefactor, Miss Evelyn Speddon, opportunist Mark Addams even agrees to marry her companion, a young woman who works in the museum and who is dedicated to the preservation of the Speddon collection. Predictably, on the death of Miss Speddon, the museum president disregards her will, begins to deaccession items and embarks on a strategy that will aggrandize his reputation as an innovative developer and builder. Although sex plays a pivotal role in the byzantine relationships of curators and collectors, Auchincloss is not as successful in portraying credible liaisons as he is in making real the ways in which art is big business. Auchincloss, who is president of the Museum of the City of New York, is a deft guide through a closed-in world. (May)
Library Journal
Auchincloss examines the moral ambiguities involved in mixing art and commerce in this mildly entertaining satire. A wealthy art collector, trying to match up her young protegee with the ambitious museum director, has been persuaded to grant the Museum of North America some freedom over her collection's disposition. Upon her death, love, revenge, and respect for great art all enter into the battle among rival factions. While the dialogue is brightly written, there could have been more descriptive detail. Oddly colorless for a novel dealing with the visual arts. Laurie Spector Sullivan, Transportation Authority Archives, Boston

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780395476918
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
05/01/1988
Pages:
213

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