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Caravaggio'S Cardsharps on Trial: Thwaytes v. Sotheby'S Richard Spear

Caravaggio'S Cardsharps on Trial: Thwaytes v. Sotheby'S By Richard Spear

Caravaggio'S Cardsharps on Trial: Thwaytes v. Sotheby'S by Richard Spear


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Summary

Vividly written and handsomely illustrated, this account of Thwaytes v. Sotheby's - one of the major art trials of recent times - will be of interest to dealers, conservators and lawyers as well as all admirers of Caravaggio.

Caravaggio'S Cardsharps on Trial: Thwaytes v. Sotheby'S Summary

Caravaggio'S Cardsharps on Trial: Thwaytes v. Sotheby'S by Richard Spear

Vividly written and handsomely illustrated, this account of Thwaytes v. Sotheby's - one of the major art trials of recent times - will be of interest to dealers, conservators and lawyers as well as all admirers of Caravaggio. In 2006 the late Sir Denis Mahon, a renowned Caravaggio scholar then aged ninety-six, bought at Sotheby's in London for just GBP50,400 a version of the painter's famous Cardsharps in the Kimbell Art Museum, Texas. He then announced that the canvas was not by a 'follower' of the artist, as Sotheby's had stated, but was in fact Caravaggio's first version of the Kimbell masterpiece. When the story broke, the press announced that the painting 'may be worth up to GBP50m'. Shocked by the news, Lancelot Thwaytes, who had consigned the painting to Sotheby's, sued the auction house for negligence. The case came to trial at the High Court in London in 2014. The verdict had far-reaching implications for the way experts at auction houses catalogue paintings, for understanding the role of connoisseurship in establishing authenticity and for the use and misuse of technical evidence in determining the authorship of a work of art. This detailed account of Thwaytes v. Sotheby's is told from the inside by an eminent art historian who acted as an expert witness in the case. He was instructed to tell the court if the Cardsharps in the Kimbell is an original, if the Mahon version is an original or a copy and, if original, whether it was painted by Caravaggio. As a result, a question that has been much debated by scholars - whether or not Caravaggio made replicas of his own paintings - ended up becoming a judicial matter.

Caravaggio'S Cardsharps on Trial: Thwaytes v. Sotheby'S Reviews

A masterwork of Tacitus-like force, clarity and precision. . . . Spear offers a short history of modern Caravaggiomania, comments on representative examples of the painter's 60 or so known works, and takes us step by step through the legal case, in which he participated as an expert witness. . . . Enthralling. * Washington Post *
As an expert witness for the defendant in a claim brought-and won-against Sotheby's in 2014-15 for negligence and breach of contract, Spear is well placed to tell the story of the painting that turned out to be by Caravaggio and the ensuing legal battle. * Apollo *
A beautifully illustrated book about the [Thwaytes v Sotheby's] case. . . . It is interesting, and unusual, to see how a trial looks from the perspective of an expert witness, and if you are interested in how art experts approach questions of attribution, the book is full of insights. * Counsel Magazine *
This engaging book reads like a detective novel but is in fact a knowledgeable account of a recent court case involving art. . . . This is a rare recounting of expert art historical analysis applied in a real-life circumstance, and it will be of particular value to those interested in the art market, art law, connoisseurship, or the critical evaluation of art objects. Spear includes excellent illustrations and helpful transcriptions of testimony, allowing the reader to judge the case. . . . Highly recommended. * Choice *
This is a rare exploration of a legal case from the point of view of the academic art connoisseur. . . . It's a really cool angle to take, I can't stress that enough. * Anonymous Swiss Collector blog *
Interesting, and unusual. . . . The book is full of insights. * Council *

About Richard Spear

Richard Spear, Affiliate Research Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, is a specialist in Italian baroque painting. His principal publications include Caravaggio and his Followers, Domenichino and The 'Divine' Guido: Religion, Sex, Money and Art in the World of Guido Reni. He co-edited Painting for Profit: The Economic Lives of Seventeenth-Century Italian Painters, the basis of his most recent book, Dipingere per profitto: Le vite economiche dei pittori nella Roma del Seicento.While teaching at Oberlin College, he directed the Allen Memorial Art Museum and served as Editor-in-Chief of the Art Bulletin.

Additional information

GOR010891409
9781916237810
1916237819
Caravaggio'S Cardsharps on Trial: Thwaytes v. Sotheby'S by Richard Spear
Used - Very Good
Hardback
The Burlington Press
20200325
392
N/A
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us

Customer Reviews - Caravaggio'S Cardsharps on Trial: Thwaytes v. Sotheby'S