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The Art Detective: Fakes, Frauds, and Finds and the Search for Lost Treasures

The Art Detective: Fakes, Frauds, and Finds and the Search for Lost Treasures

Written by Philip Mould

Narrated by James Langton


The Art Detective: Fakes, Frauds, and Finds and the Search for Lost Treasures

Written by Philip Mould

Narrated by James Langton

ratings:
3.5/5 (7 ratings)
Length:
7 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jun 10, 2010
ISBN:
9781400186983
Format:
Audiobook

Description

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 opportunities.



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.
Publisher:
Released:
Jun 10, 2010
ISBN:
9781400186983
Format:
Audiobook

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Reviews

What people think about The Art Detective

3.7
7 ratings / 9 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    Philip Mould, Antiques Roadshow expert, gallery owner, and authority on British portraiture shares some stories about his experience in the business. They are entertaining recollections, accurately explaining methods to discover the origin and history of a painting. My favourite story involved the research into an unusual portrait of Elizabeth I.
  • (4/5)
    Entertaining and informative glimpse of the top end art dealer's world - the research involved in determining a painting's provenance, the ways of restoring painting, the excitement of discovery.
  • (4/5)
    Philip Mould will be familiar to viewers of the BBC version of Antiques Roadshow and the latest 'Fakes or Frauds'. In his off-television person, he is a successful art gallery owner, specializing in uncovering lost artistic treasures beneath layers of overpaint and mis-attribution. In The Art Detectives, he entreatingly provides the story behind several of his more dramatic finds. Little would one suspect that the rarified art world would be so cloak-and-dagger. (Given the huge amounts of cash involved, perhaps I should have suspected more!). That cloak-and-dagger aspect has apparently bled over into Mould's real life: in early 2011, it was revealed that Mould was the victim of a 'poison pen' Internet slander campaign, waged (largely) anonymously by a jealous competitor. His level of connoisseurship is finely honed. Yet he manages to convey to the reader in precise and descriptive terms what he and his associates look for in assessing a possible artistic find. A good fun read.
  • (4/5)
    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, historical background and significance. And it all flows beautifully through his solid prose and storytelling abilities.The strongest tale is of Moulds' meetings with an eccentric hoarder named Earle Newton. The story ranges from their first interactions, to their first and subsequent visits. Newton is more of an "ammasser" than he is a collector, and the real heart of the narrative is Newton's wackiness and the impact of his hoarding on his family.Family is also at the heart of a story that centers on a well known art deception (and recovery) of a Norman Rockwell painting. After subtle clues circulate around Rockwell's "Break Home Ties", two brothers hunt for the truth of whether their father owned a real Rockwell, and whether or not he knew it was a fake.Mould does an amazing job of making art history accessible and interesting. All of his stories involve the detective work required to identify what is genuine and authentic from what is a pretender. Mould is both eloquent and passionate in "Mystery of the Missing Gainsborough" and "The Rembrandt in Disguise". Tudor England is the focus of "A Queen in Distress", and colonial Caribbean in "A Winslow Homer Lost and Found" as Mould turns art and history into compelling mysteries.I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would recommend it to readers of history, mysteries and certainly art.Note: I received "The Art Detectives" as part of the Goodreads First Read program.
  • (4/5)
    Mould, a well-known dealer featured on the original version of Antiques Roadshow, has written an easily accessible book for the layperson intrigued by attribution, which combines both art and science into a magical profession. Those interested in the how will be rewarded, as will those merely interested in stories of lost treasures come to light.
  • (4/5)
    Philip Mould is perhaps best known to UK readers as the art expert on the TV series Fake or Fortune? or as an expert appraiser on Antiques Roadshow. In this book, he tells the surprising stories of six paintings. Readers learn about a Constable discovered in the stash of an eccentric American hoarder, a misattributed Gainsborough, a misattributed Rembrandt portrait, a fake Rockwell, an unusual portrait of Elizabeth I, and a Homer Winslow painting discovered near an Irish dump. I enjoy the research process and digging through archives, and I always love reading about the use of archives to investigate the history or provenance of pieces of art. Mould's storytelling ability is worthy of the fascinating subjects at the center of the stories. My only regret is that I listened to the audio version, which for obvious reasons lacked illustrations. I hadn't seen Mr. Mould on television, so it was surprising to discover an online interview and hear his real voice. It didn't sound anything like the audiobook narrator's voice!
  • (4/5)
    Mr. Mould is a dealer is British art and Old Masters as well as being a featured art expert on BBC episodes of The Antiques Road Show. He is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on British portraiture. One would think this would lead to a stuffy textbook like approach to his writing. Nothing could be further from the truth. As the reader gets to know Mr. Mould through his book it becomes quite obvious that he truly enjoys what he does and writes about it with enthusiasm and quite often a sense of humor.

    In this book he discusses topics ranging from outright art fraud through to the intricate steps taken to restore damaged pieces of priceless art. He focuses primarily on six individual items ranging from the discovery of a rare portrait of a young Queen Elizabeth I, a copied Rockwell that turns out to be an original and a Hogarth painting haphazardly stored amongst a hoarder’s trove.

    Reading this book was like traveling the world as an observer into the world of discovering fine (and sometimes not so fine) works of art. Very enjoyable.
  • (3/5)
    An entertaining and informative read. Don't really need to know anything about art as everything is thoroughly explained and detailed.
  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    This is a well researched and fun read. It is a great introduction to the art world and the complex issues of legitimacy. I highly recommend this book for the readers who want to better understand this field.

    1 person found this helpful