Thursday, December 10, 2009
Thomas Hoving died today, a guy I haven't thought about in a while. He was director of the Met in NYC for, oh, 15 years or so. Spent his life, obviously, as an art historian/curator (after 3 post-Princeton years in the Marines, interestingly enough).
Anyway, in the early 90s I read his book called "False Impressions: The Hunt for Big Time Art Forgeries" (or something within a word or two of that title). Its about his career chasing art fakes around the world, from tiny, dilapitated Italian chapels to the premier auction houses and everything in between. I think Malcolm Gladwell based a whole chapter of "Blink" on the anecdote that Hoving opens the book with.
Since then down through the years, whenever I get the question, 'what's your favorite book?' (or "what are you reading?" when I'm not, as is often, reading anything), its been a perenial go-to. He's a curious and quick mind writing on a rich subject that he clearly knows and loves, which is always always always the magic formula for great writing.
here's his obit from the Times today: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/11/arts/design/11hoving.html?_r=1&hp