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The Art of the Steal
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The Art of the Steal

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  330 ratings  ·  32 reviews
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, ...more
ebook, 416 pages
Published May 3rd 2005 by Berkley Books (first published 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 703)
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Lena
This is a detailed examination of the price-fixing scandal that rocked the art world a few years back. I read it long enough ago that the details are gone, but I remember enjoying both the inside look into an art world I knew nothing about and a fascination with the corporate crime story it tells.
Christina
Subtitled “Inside the Sotheby’s-Christie’s Auction House Scandal”, Mason’s book introduced me an industry I knew very little about and a scandal I had never heard of. Introducing readers to multimillionaire tycoon Alfred Taubman, Dede Brooks ( the CEO of Sotheby’s and the first woman to ever hold the position) and Christopher Davidge (the British CEO of Christie’s) as well as a whole host of other characters, Mason lays out how the world’s most famous auction houses cheated their clients out of ...more
Abbi
I'll be the first to admit that I read very few non-fiction books... I'm definitely more of a fiction person. But this book was very hard to put down - I really enjoyed the story and thought the writing flowed and drew the reader in. I found the story and the ending very interesting. Though I wasn't always a fan of Mason's somewhat gossipy style, I found the insight into the two auction houses and into the scandal fascinating. I was also surprised to discover how the US judicial system worked - ...more
Elaine Copeland
This book reads like a Wall Street ‘who's who', and a real ‘ who-dun nit', centering around both private collections, and of public museum holdings, belonging to its kind donors. Numerous real-life players from the art world are mentioned here, showing us the challenges found when two large auction houses compete for attention by product marketing it's collections, and attempt at giving fair service to keep maintain value on behalf of numerous family client estates and antiquities. This story dr ...more
Marney
A real life "who dun what and when" page turner. I wasn't convinced that I would enjoy a book about corporation fraud but this telling of the Christie's/Sotherby's tale was really interesting. The plot twists and turns but the real hook is the hubris of the CEOs involved. To do such a stupid thing, then lie about it, with knowledge of the way the US justice system works. They are paid for their intelligence. Really? Some of the right people were punished; some seeming shouldn't have been and wer ...more
Michelle
To be fair, I mostly read this for research for my own book so as a result, I'm going to be predisposed to find some parts useful and others not very. This is the story of the price fixing scandal between Sotheby's and Christie's. As you might imagine, bombastic and memorable individuals abound. Corporate fraud always makes for an interesting tale, and corporate fraud in such a rarefied and close-walled industry is doubly so. It did seem way too long for this type of book and, honestly, the auth ...more
Melissa Siegel
Great characters, interesting look in the industry
Alyssa
Oct 03, 2007 Alyssa rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: an insomniac.
All right, I'll admit it, I quit this book about 100 pages in. I enjoyed it, it was fascinatingly detailed, but not exactly the page-turning type of details. More like the intricasies of conversations and monetary figures and such.

I'm sure the story is interesting, and the general theme seemed quite engaging, but it was a little to technical for me, and I'm involved in the art business. I can't imagine what it would be like for someone who had little interest in the art field!
Courtney
Absolutely fascinating. Reads more as a novel than a typical non fiction type.
Liana
I took a break from fiction to read this after reading "An Object of Beauty" by Steve Martin. This took some time to get through, but was still fascinating in the way "The Informant" was fascinating. I really enjoyed it, even though I would have liked to see pictures of some of the art pieces which were mentioned. That might have upped the entertainment value.
Sara
May 31, 2010 Sara rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in art, business, and law
Shelves: non-fiction
This book chronicles the white-collar crime story of the price-fixing scandal at Sotheby's and Christie's. Well-researched and well-written...great character studies of the major key players. I was slightly overwhelmed by the sophisticated vocabulary and my need to google every single art work mentioned in the book.
Lorin
So not my normal genre...but hey...art, auctioning picasso's, etc. does fit my taste! It was a really great book...had lots of insite to the world of Sotheby's & Chrisite's. I actually found this to be a page turner...even though we all really knew what had happened! (Kinda "Titanic" ish!)
Madeline
Very informative while also very readable. The best thing about this book is it gives good insight on how and why the auction houses transformed themselves in the 1980's to what they have become today. Plus lots of details on how the events unfolded over the course of almost ten years.
Don
Very interesting character study of people in leadership (?) positions and how the greed, drive and different cultures mesh to create chaos. I learned that the most guilty are not always those who suffer most and often the adgendas of the legal profession have the greatest affect.
Lia
This very newsworthy scandal was somewhat buried with all the goings on in September 2001. "The Art of the Steal" timelined events nicely; gave background information on people, places, and events referenced in it. Well-researched and interesting facts noted. I would recommend.
Susan
Oct 22, 2007 Susan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those interested in the art world
Shelves: art
A very well told story about the Christies-Sotheby's price fixing scandal. The sheer greed and hubris of the main players in the scheme is astounding, yet after other relatively recent scandals like Enron and Andersen, painfully not surprising.
Christine
I read this book because it was about my work. It was interesting and gave some information about the "scandal" that I didn't know. But it was clear the author was trying to sensationalize the subject and it affected the writing.
Anne Burke
Very interesting insight into the price fixing scandal between Christie's and Sotheby's. The last few chapters of this book were bogged down with minute detail that did not appeal to me however. I heard the movie was fantastic!
Stephanie Newton
If you like journalistic coverage of scandals in the art world, you won't want to miss this book. It's a pretty quick read, and give insight into the history of corruption that reshaped today's auction practices
Meg
i worked for christie's during the time this plot was uncovered and through the trials of davidge and taubman. thus, i was naturally interested in the book, but was disappointed. perhaps that is as it should be.
Liz Watkin
A juicy and fascinating journey into intrigue and scandal. If you are an art lover, you won't learn much but if you're interested in the hermetically sealed world of the privileged, recommended.
Paris Pierce
If you think men with guns take your money, think again. The dirty side to art and antiques at auction. Watch, yet again, as most get off without any punishment. Interesting.
Craig
Easy to read retelling of the Southeby's & Christie's auction houses price fixing scandal. Disclaimer: I have a weakness for stories of corporate fraud.
Hetal
This is a great read on the price fixing scandal that rocked Christie's and Sotheby's. Great insights into how the art and antique world works.
Cheryl
This one took me awhile to get into, but once I did it was a really interesting look into the art auction world.
Courtney
A great, detailed account of the anti-trust scandal between Christie's and Sotheby's. Fascinating...
Jon Britton
BART-reading. I think I enjoyed it less than the oversensationalized competitor.
Ellanor
Only interesting if you are in the business or know the players/or both
Katherine (Kat) Cohn
It is a handbook for the art world in many ways, almost annoyingly so.
Leila
Interesting, if you're interested in auction house price-fixing issues.
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