The Art of the Steal

The Art of the Steal

The Art of the Steal: Inside the Sotheby's-Christies Auction House Scandal by Christopher Mason. "I was mesmerized from beginning to end." — Dominick Dunne


“Christopher Mason is a master storyteller. The Art of the Steal is a brilliant work of criminal investigation, a gripping account of high society at its worst, and a thumping page-turner to boot. Mason is that rare combination of writer and chronicler: like Truman Capote and Louis Auchincloss, he is able to live among those he describes, giving the reader a true picture of life on Park Avenue.
— Amanda ForemAN

THE ART OF THE STEAL is the explosive inside story - the only book to tell the whole truth and dish the dirt on the price-fixing scandal that rocked the art world and put one of the richest men in America behind bars. Brilliantly written and reported, it tells the story of the larger-than-life figures who quaffed champagne while conspiring to cheat clients out of millions.

Christopher Mason is the only reporter who has persuaded all the key figures (and hundreds more) to spill the beans. He has followed the trail of this story from galleries and boardrooms in London, Paris and New York to parties in Palm Beach to courtrooms in Lower Manhattan.  A swirl of excitement has surrounded the book: an appearance on Good Morning America, articles in the New York Times and the New York Post, and rave reviews in The Economist,, The Spectator, Fortune, The Daily Telegraph, and Sunday Times.

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I was mesmerized from beginning to end by Christopher Mason’s elegantly written history of the swanky case that has riveted the art and social worlds for half a dozen years. His depiction of Taubman and his beautiful and controversial wife, Judy, is fascinating. His understanding of the legalities and courtroom dramas is wickedly precise. His knowledge of the ways of high society is uncanny. His social climbing anecdotes are hilarious. The Art of the Steal is very entertaining indeed.
— Dominick Dunne


“Mason tells a jaw-dropping tale of greed, fear and folly . . . a chilling and deeply satisfying moral tale. . .Mason is a meticulous researcher. . . an  excellent book.”

— Robert Lacey, The Sunday Times

“...a rare beast -- a genuine antitrust thriller, a gripping yarn of real-life collusion that is spiced up with Picassos, class warfare, art-market bitchiness and the rather unsettling conclusion that some well-heeled villains got away with it.

The Economist

"An excellent book, thoroughly researched, well-written with a good eye for detail and some wonderful anecdotes."

The Daily Telegraph

"Meticulously researched, contains much valuable new information . . . [Mason is] a one-man church confession box . . . full of the wholesome pleasure of watching the English upper classes knocking each other about . . . [probably] the last word to be written; and it will be an indispensable source for establishing the truth."

The Evening Standard

"Gossipy and extensively researched . . . [Mason] writes fluently, and portrays this milieu—the money to be made trading in other people's belongings—and the people engagingly. It is filled with classic eighties types: men and women whose enthusiasms are chiefly vanity, ambition and greed.

— The Spectator

"Juicy prose and detail."


"The fascinating true story of a big-business scandal that rocked the international art world and the sensational trials that followed. Brilliantly written and meticulously reported . . . nothing short of mesmerizing."

Tucson Citizen

"An amazing and depressing chronicle of greed in the name of culture that should (but probably won't) keep art buyers from ever walking into an auction house again.

— Publishers Weekly