Sotheby's: Bidding for Class

Front Cover
Little, Brown & Company, 1998 - Art - 354 pages
5 Reviews
Whether it's automobile moguls (Ford) or gangsters (Little Man), no one is better than Robert Lacey at penetrating a secretive world and bringing it vividly to life on the page. Now, in his new bestseller, Lacey takes us inside Sotheby's, the world's biggest, richest auction house -- and reveals the art world at its most glamorous, ambitious, and scandalous.

After a fascinating tour through Sotheby's early history -- they began in London as dealers in rare books -- Lacey plunges us into the heart of his story: the decidedly ungentlemanly rivalry between Sotheby's and Christie's that began early this century, and the dramatic growth in the art market that this rivalry helped spawn. From Sotheby's expansion into America to the giddy heights of the eighties art boom, which saw Van Gogh's Irises sell for $53.9 million, Lacey takes us behind the scenes -- and captures the personalities, the feuds, the loot, the ostentation, and the glitz. Along the way, we rub shoulders with some of Sotheby's most notable clients -- Paul Mellon, Pamela Harriman, S. I. Newhouse, Donald Trump, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Bill Gates, to name a few -- and get an auctioneer's-eye view of the single most publicized auction of the century, the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis estate sale. With an epilogue that talks about the recent scandal over the illegal importation of antiquities, Sotheby's is a richly compelling, fast-paced tale -- and another Lacey triumph.

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Review: Sotheby's: Bidding for Class

User Review  - Cara Ellison - Goodreads

A fascinating look into an enthralling company. Read full review

Review: Sotheby's: Bidding for Class

User Review  - Michelle - Goodreads

Really felt more like a business/takeover primer than an "insider's look into Sotheby's." There were some interesting parts but overall I expected it to be a lot more dynamic. It was pretty dry. I think this is the shortest review I've ever written. Read full review

About the author (1998)

Robert Lacey was born in Guilford, Surrey, England on January 3, 1944. He earned a B.A. in 1967, a diploma of education in 1967, and an M.A. in 1970, all from Selwyn College, Cambridge. Lacey began his writing career as a journalist, working for the Illustrated London News and later the Sunday Times magazine. While working for the latter, he also began writing biographies; his books about Robert, Earl of Essex and Sir Walter Raleigh led to a commission to write a history of Queen Elizabeth's reign, to be published during her silver jubilee. Majesty: Elizabeth II and the House of Windsor became an international bestseller, and established Lacey's reputation as a biographer who treated his subjects accurately and fairly. Lacey is a thorough researcher who has often gone to great lengths to immerse himself in the background of the people he writes about. He moved to the Middle East and even learned Arabic while doing research for The Kingdom, a biography of Saudi Arabia's first ruler, Abdul Aziz Sa'ud. And when writing Ford: The Man and the Machine, about Henry Ford, he relocated to Michigan and worked for a time on the assembly line in an auto plant. He is also the author of Little Man: Meyer Lansky and the Gangster Life, The Queen of the North Atlantic, The Life and Times of Henry the VIII, God Bless Her!, and Princess, a pictorial biography of Diana, Princess of Wales. Robert Lacey married Alexandre Avrach, a graphic designer, in 1971. They have three children, Sasha, Scarlett, and Bruno.

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