Old Masters

Old Masters

Book - 2014
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English novelist Guy Boyd's publisher forces him, against his inclination, to write a biography of the late Gabriel Brown, an eminent dealer in Old Masters. From the start, the project rattles the young Englishman, who has little interest in the Canadian-born connoisseur. As he settles into living in the dead man's house, interviewing his friends and lovers, Guy becomes fascinated with the process of life writing.
Publisher: Toronto :, Cormorant Books,, [2014]
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9781770864221
Characteristics: 202 pages


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Oct 05, 2015

A short novel investigating the nature of art and collecting. A little bit of pandering to Canadian tastes since the novel is set in London and Spain. Interesting and worth reading.

Feb 16, 2015

The plot of Canadian author James King's "Old Masters" seems simple enough. Impecunious writer Guy Boyd receives a tempting commission to create a biography of famous, recently-deceased art galley owner Gabriel Brown. Guy relunctantly accepts and begins to investigate the distinguished collector's life. But Brown is not what he seemed. King makes the irresistible combination of mystery and a laser-like examination of the fine art world serve to pose several provocative questions; among these: the nature of creative imagination and its expression; genius; ethics and the artist, and the business of art collecting. (Along the way are also some funny jabs at the world of writing and publishing.) The fascinating subjects and the author's clear and elegant prose make the book a deep pleasure. Especially compelling are a series of incisive sketches of master artists studded throughout the story: Vermeer, Van Gogh, Velázquez, and more. (Arguably the best of these is a trip to Spain wherein Guy visits a museum housing the work of Joaquin Sorollo.) Although set in London, there are Canadian connections. in other novels Faking, Transformations, Pure Inventions) King explores similar themes.

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