Megan Harlan
January 30, 1998 AT 05:00 AM EST

Sotheby's: The Inside Story

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Peter Watson
genre
Pop Culture

We gave it an B+

Art journalist Watson spent years investigating rumors that Sotheby’s — along with Christie’s, the hoity-toitiest auctioneering house — regularly sold artwork and artifacts that had been illegally exported from their mother countries. Sotheby’s: The Inside Story traces Watson’s sophisticated sting operations in Italy and India — complete with actors posing as art sellers, and Sotheby’s higher-ups caught on hidden video cameras explaining their smuggling practices — that cast serious doubt on the auction house’s denial of wrongdoing. The subject of a recent 60 Minutes segment, Watson here elaborates his crusade against devious art dealing into a provocative, exhaustive, at times exhaustingly detailed account. B+

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