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                             THE ART OF THE STEAL BY CHRISTOPHER MASON  

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Dominick Dunne says:

“I was mesmerized from beginning to end by Christopher Mason’s elegantly written history of the swanky case that has riveted the art and social worlds for half a dozen years. His depiction of Taubman and his beautiful and controversial wife, Judy, is fascinating. His understanding of the legalities and courtroom dramas is wickedly precise. His knowledge of the ways of high society is uncanny. His social climbing anecdotes are hilarious. The Art of the Steal is very entertaining indeed.”

             -- Dominick Dunne

“Christopher Mason is a master storyteller. The Art of the Steal is a brilliant work of criminal investigation, a gripping account of high society at its worst, and a thumping page-turner to boot. Mason is that rare combination of writer and chronicler: like Truman Capote and Louis Auchincloss, he is able to live among those he describes, giving the reader a true picture of life on Park Avenue.

-- Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire


Christopher Mason is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and has been writing for more than a dozen years on the worlds of art, society, fashion, and design. Born and raised in Cambridge, England, he fell in love with Manhattan and moved there in 1983 after graduating from Cambridge University with a B.A. in art history.

  Since then, Mason has had three distinct careers. First he worked for George Trescher, a fund-raiser and PR genius who introduced him to the leaders in the social, business, and philanthropic worlds of New York during the 1980s. Two of Trescher’s closest friends were Brooke Astor and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Mason collaborated with them on numerous charitable and social events. While working for Trescher he helped organize the memorable weddings of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, and Edwin Schlossberg and Caroline Kennedy. He was also in charge of the rollicking lunch party that followed the memorial service for Andy Warhol. It was an extraordinary education in the idiosyncrasies of a privileged realm that he found intriguing.

   Mason launched a second career in 1987 as a musical satirist, writing and performing cabaret songs that offered a wry commentary on the excesses of New York in the 1980s and early 1990s. Hyperbolically dubbed “A New Age Noel Coward” by New York magazine, he was hired by the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among others, and he performed throughout the United States. For information about Mason’s ongoing musical career, please visit SatiricalSongs.com.

  In 1995, Mason began writing social commentary for the New York Times and New York magazine. In January 2000 he was working on an article about the braggadocio of Sotheby’s and Christie’s newly expanded headquarters in New York, and their efforts to conquer the Internet, when news of the price-fixing scandal involving the auction houses hit the Financial Times. The focus of Mason’s article changed abruptly, and he wrote the first magazine story about the scandal rocking the overlapping worlds of art, society, and business. (It ran as the New York cover story on March 20, 20000.)

   For some time, Mason had wanted to write a book that would sum up the giddy excesses he had witnessed during the eighties and nineties in New York and London. He realized that this story had everything he wanted to write about: blinding ambition, corrosive greed, beauty, art, and corruption in high places. In researching the four main protagonists of the auction scandal  - Alfred Taubman, Dede Brooks, Christopher Davidge, and Sir Anthony Tennant - he discovered fascinating human stories behind the actions of the powerful personalities who broke the law and suffered, in some cases, the consequences.


Click to read a profile of Christopher Mason on newyorksocialdiary.com


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