Almost every market has grown exponentially in recent years. Shares, currency, wine, collectibles, so why not art? Auction houses are no longer niche operations catering to the cognoscenti, but global and often cut-throat businesses, says Georgina Adam, that feed and feed off a market that’s looking for inflation-beating investments, portable wealth and, in some cases, safe havens for what can only really be described as dodgy money. Behind this are mega-dealers and middlemen who operate in the shadows.
Of course, not everything is like that, but there is a clear underworld and this well-argued and readable account peels back the layers to reveal it. Maybe it’s a little sensational and maybe the case is sometimes over-stated, but there’s no doubt that what was once a comfortable sideline is now very big business indeed. That’s what you get when only money matters.
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