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Books > Arts & Photography > Individual Artists > 0195396901
  1. The American Leonardo: A Tale of Obsession, Art and Money
    The American Leonardo: A Tale of Obsession, Art and Money
    The American Leonardo: A Tale of Obsession, Art and Money
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  2. The American Leonardo: A Tale of Obsession, Art and Money

    Delivery: 10-20 Working Days
    Customer Ratings (44 reviews)
    Price R449.00

Additional Information

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 Ferronnière-a fake without ever seeing the canvas. The Hahns sued Duveen for slander, setting off a legal battle that would last for decades.
In The American Leonardo, John Brewer traces the twisting path of the Hahn La Belle-a painting of famously uncertain origin--as he illuminates the workings of the twentieth-century art market, exploring such larger questions about the art world such as how attributions are made, how they affect both the status and value of artworks, and how the entire system of art dealers, curators, and connoisseurs authenticates works of art. In the early twentieth century new methods of scientific analysis developed, which meant that for the first time, the critical eye of the connoisseur had to contend with an emerging array of scientific and forensic tests that (however crude at their inception) promised a degree of objectivity and reliability unattainable before.
Brewer shows how the tension between the two methods of attribution lay at the heart of the Hahn La Belle dispute, which continues to this day. The painting currently languishes in an Omaha storage vault awaiting the resolution of the most recent lawsuit.
For artists and art-lovers, collectors and curators--and for anyone who's ever stood in front of a painting and wondered about its story--The American Leonardo offers a discerning and entertaining view into the art world.

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John Brewer
Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

What a page turner. It was like reading a delicious mystery story. The book is peopled with experts and non experts. Science is pitted against instinct. The owner of the painting is a beautiful French woman who wants her day in court and the subject of the painting is purported to be the mistress of Francis I...or not. What a cast of characters. Before starting it, I wanted to know who painted La Belle. It's not as simple as that.
The author's research is impeccable. He includes a fine social history of the nation and explains why art collecting had become an obsession in the United States just before and after the turn of the century. The often bizarre behavior of the characters involved is fascinating, and the byzantine path the painting takes left me reeling. I will never look at a painting in the same way I did before reading the book. I was sorry it had to end.
This is a "for now" review since I haven't finished it. My comments are primarily about the author's story-telling. He's definitely passionate about the subject and his energy does draw you in, but he also over-writes, using too many words descriptively as well as for emphasis. But getting past that, my eagerness to learn about the discovery of masterpieces makes this book an enjoyable read.
I received the book on time and packaged very well. I purchased this book because art is also about money ,which has caused fakes to pop up and if the,piece is real can it be proved that is not a fake . This is a,concern when purchasing ,that buyer beware. Jl
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