Bookends: Sep. 1, 1986

MASTERPIECE

by Thomas Hoving

Simon & Schuster; 320 pages; $17.95

It's a connoisseur-eat-connoisseur world out there: lies, low blows, sexual politics, thievery, bribery, betrayal and greed. In his first foray into popular fiction, Thomas Hoving, former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and editor in chief of Connoisseur magazine, takes us into the international art arena, where a masterpiece has come up for auction. On the block is the Marchesa Odescalchi, a sexy full-length portrait by the 17th century Spanish master Diego Velasquez of his alleged mistress. Experts predict that the portrait will bring at least $11 million, an auction...

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