From Publishers Weekly
This is such an interesting--at times even exciting--look at the American antiques trade that it's unfortunate the material is presented in such a convoluted style. Freund, a freelance writer, relates so much trivia that he frequently goes off track, as, for example, when he takes paragraphs to tell us that one dealer once met an antiques "picker" whose father was a newspaper editor. Yet the book is otherwise notable, for Freund accurately reads the pulse of the trade, appreciates the love of "things" that causes many dealers and collectors to be forever on the prowl. Here he focuses on the annual Americana Week in Manhattan--in this instance, 1991--which opens with the Winter Antiques Show and includes events at auction galleries. He tracks three masterpieces of 18th-century American furniture--a sofa table, which fetched $75,000 at Sotheby's; a card table, auctioned also at Sotheby's for $950,000; and a blanket chest, priced at $250,000, which failed to sell at the Winter Antiques Show. He traces the provenance of each piece and introduces us to such major dealers as Harold Sack and to the first-rank auctioneers and collectors. The book will enthrall those for whom patina is all.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
This book tells the story of three art objects: a pine blanket chest made for a farmer in the 1750s, a rare Chippendale card table, and an inlaid sofa table from the Federal period. The author's discussion of the provenance of these highly prized pieces and of what happened to them when they came up for sale at Manhattan's annual "Americana Week" (an event of such importance that all major auction houses schedule their largest sales of American furniture at this time) makes for fascinating reading. However, instead of providing useful features like illustrations and indexing, the author focuses on gossip about art patrons' skirt lengths and the choice of hors d'oeuvres served at gallery openings. In addition, the book's story line moves back and forth between the present day and the 18th century, and the result is both maddening and confusing. Useful only in comprehensive art collections.
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- Margarete Gross, Chicago P.L.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.