Breakfast at Sotheby's: An A-Z of the Art World

Breakfast at Sotheby's: An A-Z of the Art World

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By (author) Philip Hook

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  • Publisher: Particular Books
  • Format: Hardback | 368 pages
  • Dimensions: 162mm x 240mm x 36mm | 620g
  • Publication date: 7 November 2013
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1846146259
  • ISBN 13: 9781846146251
  • Sales rank: 56,248

Product description

Breakfast at Sotheby's is a wry, intimate, truly revealing exploration of how art acquires its financial value, from Philip Hook, a senior director at Sotheby's. When you stand in front of a work of art in a museum or exhibition, the first two questions you normally ask yourself are Do I like it? And Who's it by? When you stand in front of a work of art in an auction room or dealer's gallery, you ask these two questions followed by others: how much is it worth? How much will it be worth in five or ten years' time? and What will people think of me if they see it hanging on my wall? Breakfast at Sotheby's is a guide to how people reach answers to such questions, and how in the process art is given a financial value. Fascinating and highly subjective, built on thirty-five years' experience of the art market, Philip Hook explores the artist and his hinterland (including -isms, middle-brow artists, Gericault and suicides), subject and style (from abstract art and banality through surrealism and war), "wall-power", provenance and market weather, in which the trade of the art market is examined and at one point compared to the football transfer market. Comic, revealing, piquant, splendid and absurd, Breakfast at Sotheby's is a book of pleasure and intelligent observation, as engaged with art as it is with the world that surrounds it. Philip Hook is a director and senior paintings specialist at Sotheby's. He has worked in the art world for thirty-five years during which time he has also been a director of Christie's and an international art dealer. He is the author of five novels and two works of art history, including The Ultimate Trophy, a history of the Impressionist Painting. Hook has appeared regularly on television, from 1978-2003 on the BBC's Antiques Roadshow.

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Author information

Philip Hook is a director and senior paintings specialist at Sotheby's. He has worked in the art world for thirty-five years during which time he has also been a director of Christie's and an international art dealer. He is the author of five novels and two works of art history, including The Ultimate Trophy, a history of the Impressionist Painting. Hook has appeared regularly on television, from 1978-2003 on the BBC's Antiques Roadshow.

Review quote

Reading it is like participating in a hugely enjoyable personal tutorial given by a cultured, witty, clear-eyed, world teacher with a fully functioning sense of humour. A real delight -- William Boyd Spectator Hook's view of the art world is that of the professional auctioneer. In an A-Z format, it is an entire art education contained in under 350 pages. Wry, dry and completely beguiling -- William Boyd Guardian, Books of the Year 2013 An auctioneer's alphabet of quirky reflections and off-beat lists such as 'middle-brow artists' and 'fictional artists': an ideal volume for the art-lover's bedside -- Martin Gayford Spectator, Books of the Year How to nail the mad, bad, crazy contemporary art world in print? Sotheby's senior director Hook draws on 35 years' experience in this informal memoir. He unravels, with humour, piquancy and erudition, what drives the economics of taste Financial Times, Books of the Year It's very hard to write an amusing book about art that has some serious things to say. But Philip Hook has done it. It's more a kind of Lonely Planet guide, written from the perspective of an auctioneer. In places it's a hoot, but it's also very wise here and there, and refreshingly irreverent. Sir William Russell Flint, for example, "painted like Augustus John commissioned by Playboy magazine" Sunday Times, Books of the Year His delightful Breakfast at Sotheby's is a house sale of a book, a chance for him to clear out 35 years of memories as an art dealer and auctioneer, first at Christie's and then Sotheby's, a rival auction house. Besides the colourful stories, Mr Hook offers various theories about the art world, and keen insight on that vexing question of what gives art value. Amid the well-known answers (provenance, colour, "wall power") are some less obvious observations, both relevant and delightful The Economist I absolutely adored Breakfast At Sotheby's: An A-Z Of The Art World by Philip Hook. Very funny and often touching, it teems with vivid observation and anecdotes about artists, paintings, nude models, dealers and critics. Hook also provides wonderful insights into The Antiques Roadshow, on which he appeared for 25 years, and the rivalry of Christie's and Sotheby's. My favourite tale is about the camp telephonist at Sotheby's who, when asked by an important male caller 'May I have John Brown?' replied: 'I don't see why not, everyone else has. Putting you through' -- Jilly Cooper