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

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Constable & Robinson Limited, 2009 - Art - 388 pages
4 Reviews
After the First World War, Harry Hahn returned to America with his new wife and a spectacular wedding present _ which the couple claim was the real La Belle Ferronni+re by Leonardo Da Vinci. The painting caused a sensation until the world_s leading art critic, Sir Joseph Duveen (without seeing it in person) questioned its authenticity. The Hahns took Duveen to court for slander. Thus began one of the most extraordinary stories in 20th century art history.The highly renowned historian John Brewer brilliantly uses this story as a launch from which to look at the wider world of the art market and asks the question, when you are standing in front of a painting how do you know what it is? How do you value its worth? What is the most reliable - the expert eye of the connoisseur or the forensic insight of more scientific methods? Through the story of the American Leonardo Brewer charts a thrilling history of 20th century obsession with art, taste and moneyPraise for A Sentimental Murder_A clever, important book,_ Kathryn Hughes, Guardian_Sensational . . utterly rigorous, yet written with effortless elegance and continual verve._ Observer_like a set of dazzling variations on the traditional whodunit._ Daily Telegraph_Exceptional, stimulating, original, beautifully written and full of wit._ Miranda Seymour_Rich and significant . . more compelling that any thriller._ Independent

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

User Review  - Diana - Goodreads

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 ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Amanda - Goodreads

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. Read full review

About the author (2009)

John Brewer is Director of the Center for Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Studies and Director of the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library at the University of California at Los Angeles.

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