Art: Master Auctioneer

The name of Novelist Somerset Maugham, whose collection of impressionist and postimpressionist paintings was on the block at the great London auction house of Sotheby's, undoubtedly accounted for the record turnout of 2,500. But in a larger sense, the star of the evening was, as always, Sotheby's chairman and chief auctioneer, Peter Cecil Wilson, 49. Wilson has sold 28,000 paintings in his career, and last week he went about his work with the same persuasive urbanity that has made Sotheby's the biggest art auction house in the world. Wilson does not joke or coax or subject...

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