The American Leonardo: A 20th Century Tale of Obsession, Art and Money
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The American Leonardo: A 20th Century Tale of Obsession, Art and Money

3.14 of 5 stars 3.14  ·  rating details  ·  35 ratings  ·  7 reviews
In 1919 a returning World War I veteran named Harry Hahn and his French bride attempted to sell what they thought was a painting by Leonardo Da Vinci in New York. Renowned art dealer Sir Joseph Duveen declared the picture-La Belle Ferronniere-a fake without ever seeing the canvas. The Hahns sued Duveen for slander, setting off a legal battle that would last for decades.
I...more
Kindle Edition, 331 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2009)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The American Leonardo, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The American Leonardo

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 100)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Terri
Harry and Adrée Hahn were given as a wedding present in 1919, a painting purported to be by the hand of Leonardo da Vinci. There was in the art world a certain snobbery that defied a couple from Kansas, of all places, to be in possession of an original by da Vinci, indeed!

Between 1900-1914 300 articles on American collecting of European Old Masters America were written; America was obsessed with the value, the purchase price of art work. "The issue of 'How do we know? How can we distinguish orig...more
R.
Some of my recent favorite reads have been non-fiction books that bring a topic I may or may not have been interested in beforehand to life. The Immortality of Henrietta Lacks and Devil in the White City come to mind as great examples of utterly engrossing non-fiction reads. I hoped this book would be of a similar vein- it seemed to have all of the elements: scandal involving a Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece, a slew of questionable art world characters, International museums and art galleries mix...more
Tuck
sort of a dull treatment, but 3 stars because in the end, there is still no resolution. Le Belle is still in a storage vault, unsold. the remnants of the family who brought her to usa are still tortured by intrigue, lawyers, and debt. the "art" world is still run by art goons. and we still don't know if this hahn belle is a true Leonardo, or if the Louvre belle is a true Leonardo, or if they are both fakes. what a bizarre international story of high art and low motives.
Diana
An interesting read though some parts dragged rather badly.Too many people's names to retain them all but what is amazing is that no-one seems to know still who painted it and what its provenance really is. The attitude of Duveen and his cohorts raises some interesting questions - how many fakes are hanging in our museums? Does it matter? Who can one trust to make an attribution? And has much changed since 1929?
Judy
It was interesting to learn that emotion not science still determines fakes from forgery. I doubt if the American Leonardo is really a Leonardo but it is los and a total wastet to the world as long as those who own it fight over it and keep it hidden from public view.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
An interesting story, though if this were a novel I'd say that the narrative structure and pacing could use some work. Had some interesting thoughts about art and the nature of people who produce it, as a side note, around page 225 IIRC.
Amanda
More about a court case involving a supposed-Leonardo and the development of art assessment than the history of the actual art itself. interesting, but not exactly what I had in mind.
Bobbie
Bobbie marked it as to-read
Jun 14, 2014
Terri UK
Terri UK marked it as to-read
Mar 26, 2014
ck
ck added it
Mar 08, 2014
Ann king
Ann king marked it as to-read
Feb 10, 2014
Sabrina
Sabrina marked it as to-read
Dec 07, 2013
Aimee Elise
Aimee Elise marked it as to-read
Dec 04, 2013
Ani
Ani marked it as to-read
Sep 22, 2013
Vmacd
Vmacd marked it as to-read
Sep 04, 2013
Geneviève
Geneviève marked it as to-read
May 17, 2013
Ruth
Ruth marked it as to-read
Mar 18, 2013
Rachel
Rachel is currently reading it
Feb 04, 2013
Diana
Diana marked it as to-read
Jan 08, 2013
Jennifer
Jennifer marked it as to-read
Jan 04, 2013
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
The Sinews of Power: War, Money and the English State, 1688-1783 The Pleasures of the Imagination: English Culture in the Eighteenth Century A Sentimental Murder: Love and Madness in the Eighteenth Century Consumption and the World of Goods An Ungovernable People: The English and their Law in the 17th and 18th Centuries

Share This Book