The Big Fall Auctions Are Almost Here

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Headline-making art sales are anticipated.

In the next few weeks, a host of wealthy people will be paying millions for Renoirs, Monets, Warhols and Picassos. This kind of thing doesn't happen on a big scale very often -- usually only twice a year. That's when the big auction houses, Sotheby's and Christie's, hold their evening auctions of Impressionist and Modern works, and of Contemporary art. For many, upcoming fall auctions are the premier events on the auction schedule.

Most auctions are held during the day and while they may be exciting, it's the evening auctions that draw a tuxedoed crowd of social movers laden with money and ambition. Evening auctions draw the biggest names in art, too -- Cezanne and Manet and Pollock and Matisse. It was at an evening sale just two years ago that someone paid more than $100 million for an early Picasso painting -- the most expensive painting ever sold at auction. Now, in a new novel, "Late and Soon," Robert J. Hughes gives you a front-row seat into this exhilarating world where culture and commerce meet. You can see the haggling over art, the appraisal process, the heartache behind the canvas, the drama at the front of the house when the auctioneer drives the crowd into a frenzy of buying. It's live theater at its best.

"Late and Soon" explores the world of big auctions through characters involved in this business, and those who work with them. It's seen mainly through the eyes of Claire, a specialist in art at Sotheby's, whose personal life is in turmoil just at the point when she's putting together a sale of paintings. Novelist Adriana Trigiani calls "Late and Soon" a "gorgeous" novel, "filled with fine art, humor and insight…a page-turning story with gusto."

Novelist Robert J. Hughes is also a reporter for The Wall Street Journal. He has covered art auctions, the art world and culture for that newspaper and can speak on those topics and also the many ways his novel "Late and Soon" will appeal to people everywhere.


Betsy Steve


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