PossessionThe Curious History of Private Collectors from Antiquity to the PresentHardcover, 224 pages Yale Univ Pr, List Price: $30
Here it is reviewed by Genevieve Valentine (NPR books. I am a bit put off by the stress on the anecdotal presentation:
Written by "America's only professor of art crime," Erin Thompson, Possession is a book fascinated by collectors of antiquities: the lengths they go to, the justifications they give, the personas they shape and the politics in their wake. But it's also a book that understands that the relationship between art and collector runs deeper than prestige or pride. When all of antiquity is a heist, you are what you steal [...] passion is still held accountable to posterity, and Thompson's no-nonsense prose doesn't let anyone off the hook. (Chapter 8 is titled without fanfare: "Collectors' Failed Justifications for Looting and Smuggling.") And though Possession's account of black markets, bribery and international demand for national works is a little bare-bones, it also concisely lays out a web of personal and political motives that's as complex as it is untenable.I'll see if I can get hold of a copy. There will probably be some explanation for the origins and original significance of some of the 'traditional' deceiving mantras of the collecting and dealing world today in it.