When and How to Buy a Famous Masterpiece

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For those in the market, the time is now.

If you’ve got a few million bucks available and are looking to buy one of world’s most famous artworks, the upcoming fall auctions are your best bet. But even if you can’t afford a coveted original, knowing where to watch the auctioning of a masterpiece, and how the process works, can be very exciting.

The most elite auctions don’t happen 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 those looking to buy, and many others just out to enjoy the drama, the fall’s evening auctions are the place to be.

Most auctions are held during the day, but according to an art expert and novelist, it's the evening auctions that draw social movers laden with money and ambition, as well as the biggest names in art -- 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. In his new novel "Late and Soon," Robert J. Hughes gives you a front-row seat into this exhilarating world where culture and commerce meet.

"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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Betsy Steve

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