The Art Detective: Fakes, Frauds, and Finds and the Search for Lost Treasures
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.
Art + History + Mystery = Terrific Book
By Jason Golomb - June 15, 2010
I'm not an art connoisseur by any stretch, although I do have my tastes and don't mind the occasional museum stroll. I love history and I love a good story. When you combine art, history and terrific storytelling, you come out with a book like "The Art Detectives" by Philip Mould.
The book is structured around 6 specific paintings, and the mysteries that surround/surrounded them. Mould is a fantastic writer. He's clear, concise and sometimes poetic. It's an odd thing to focus on when considering a work of non-fiction, but his writing is as expressive and pronounced as anything I've read recently.
Mould avoids the pretension, condescension and patronizing tone that one might expect from a book on high art. And surprisingly, each story is a strong tale in and of itself. At their best, they are very personal, human and touching. At their worst, they're simply good mysteries that Mould unravels layer-by-layer with a blending of personal insight, relevant experiences,... read more
Behind the scenes...
By Jill Meyer - June 22, 2010
Philip Mould takes a wonderfully interesting look at how art restoration works. But, in looking at restoration of existing paintings, he also delves into how he, as a gallery owner, along with his team, find work that has remained under-valued or unvalued for centuries. And then how that piece, now restored by Mould's experts, ventures back into the art world in renewed glory.
Mould, an appraiser for the BBC's "Antique Roadshow", is also an owner of a gallery in London which specialises in antique portraits. As an aside, I have visited the gallery in the past to see his collection but did not know that this book was written by the gallery's owner until I read the credits. As a book reviewer, I have no reason to falsely rave about his book, even though I have enjoyed visiting his gallery. I suppose that being a fan of antique portraits gave me the impetus to read and review the book, however.
Mould takes five or so examples of "found" paintings - one from his... read more
Well written but too much breading.....
By W. Chang - August 20, 2010
I listened to the audio book version of the book and I found it interesting yet frustrating. Some of the stories were quite interesting but getting there took some time. I was expecting many case studies with shorter time spent on each one. I lasted till I was about half way through the book. That's when the author started to talk about Rembrandt and it went round and round there for a long while without getting to the meat of the story (therefore my reference to "breading"). I just gave up. I know the book got very good reviews from other readers, but it just wasn't my cup of tea.
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