Breakfast at Sotheby’s is a wry, intimate, truly insider-y exploration of how art acquires its financial value, from Philip Hook, a senior director at Sotheby’s
When you stand in front of a work of art in a museum or exhibition, the first two questions you normally ask yourself are 1) Do I like it? And 2) Who’s it by? When you stand in front of a work of art in an auction room or dealer’s gallery, you ask these two questions followed by others: how much is it worth? how much will it be worth in five or ten years’ time? and what will people think of me if they see it hanging on my wall?
Breakfast at Sotheby’s is a guide to how people reach answers to such questions, and how in the process art is given a financial value. Fascinating and highly subjective, built on thirty-five years’ experience of the art market, Philip Hook explores the artist and his hinterland (including -isms, middle-brow artists, Gericault and suicides), subject and style (from abstract art and banality through surrealism and war), “wall-power”, provenance and market weather, in which the trade of the art market is examined and at one point compared to the football transfer market. Comic, revealing, piquant, splendid and 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.
Philip Hook is a director and senior paintings specialist at Sotheby’s. He has worked in the art world for thirty-five years during which time he has also been a director of Christie’s and an international art dealer. He is the author of five novels and two works of art history, including The Ultimate Trophy, a history of the Impressionist Painting. Hook has appeared regularly on television, from 1978-2003 on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow.