Breakfast at Sotheby's: An A–Z of the Art Word

by: Philip Hook (0)

Two questions are key to experiencing a work of art in a museum or exhibition: 1.) Do I like it? 2.) Who's it by? You need quite a few more questions if you're in an auction room or dealer's gallery, however. You’ll find yourself asking, How much is it worth? How much will it be worth in five or ten years? And finally, what will people think of me if they see it hanging on my wall? Breakfast at Sotheby's is not only a guide to finding the answers to such questions, but also a glimpse into the rarely discussed financial side of the art world. Based on author Philip Hook's thirty-five years of experience in the art market, the book explores various shades of artist (including -isms, Gericault, and suicides), subject and style (from abstract art and banality through surrealism and war), "wall-power," provenance, and market weather Comic, revealing, piquant, splendid, and occasionally 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.

The Reviews

This is one of those books that is so good you don't want it to end. It is an introduction to the world of buying art, but you don't have to own anything more elaborate than a paint-by-number painting to find this book enjoyable. Philip Hook is the very definition of dry, British wit--much of it at his own expense. You will learn about which colors make paintings sell better, which subjects bring high prices and which ones bring low prices. You'll learn about individual artists, and why their works sell or don't sell. A lot of the entries made me want to read more. Particularly the part about the Nazi art crimes, followed by the Soviet Union stealing the Nazi art collection, which the Nazi stole from the Jews was really fascinating. The section on stolen art, missing paintings, and forgeries contained surprising information. Philip Hook is a board member at Sotheby's in London, and previously worked for Christies. He was also a long time favorite art expert on the UK version of Antiques Roadshow. He talks about his Roadshow experiences in the book, and about how hard it was to give people bad news about their family heirloom. I recommend this book to everybody, even if you're not in the art market. It's that good.

Formerly a library book with library markings. Some wear and significant aging, particularly browning of pages, most previlent at page ends.The book shows some crisping and fragility of binding material.It is servicable and readable but the overall rating should be "poor".As to the writing; I previously read a new copy and found it enjoyable and informative.

This book was delightful. It provided interesting insights about the art world as seen through the eyes of a quintessential insider who has spent a career working for the great auction houses--Sotheby's and Christie's. Written in the format of a dictionary, the work contains discussions about a variety of art related topics, ranging from matters such as what makes individual works of art more or less financially valuable to descriptions of individual artists and their works. The book maintains a dryly humorous approach. I especially enjoyed the author's Glossary of words that are thrown about by contemporary art critics. As he put it, "they are words the meaning of which has become twisted by the desire to energize banality, to elevate mediocrity or simply to make a sale." A worthwhile book, especially to those of us who have no specialized background in art.

Informative book has proven to be useful for visiting museums, reading auction catalogs, and discussing art in professional and social settings.

I enjoyed the author's first-hand knowledge of a world I only hear about on the news--the top 1% billionaire art buyers & what they do with our treasured masterpieces, the hidden lives of artists who have marked history and how they did so, secrets of lost masterpieces, subject matter people love (or not). A wry sense of humor throughout kept it fun to read. The book pokes fun of the art sale trade and also communicates its importance.The ebook version connects to the internet, so I could look up paintings and artists easily--learned quite a bit!I recommend this book to artists and art-lovers.

I bought this book with the hope that I would come away with a practical understanding of what Art is about. The author's easy to read and understand explanations of the ins and outs of the art world allowed me to achieve my expectations many times over.

Did not fully meet my expectations. Did not appreciate the A-Z organization. Title a bit misleading. Tried to cover too much ground. Not a good way to present information. Did include some interesting info about how the art world is affected by world-class auctions. Bits of humor were appreciated. Several sections skipped over because of lack of interest. Good historical facts. A mixed bag. IndySRJ

Unexpectedly interesting. And easy, fun read.

Breakfast at Sotheby's: An A–Z of the Art Word
⭐ 4.2 💛 102
kindle: $2.99
paperback: $16.15
hardcover: $7.44
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