The Rape of LaBelle by Harry Hahn
Kansas City, Missouri : Frank Glenn, 1946. First edition, stated! Hardcover. 274 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm. In original $5.00 dust jacket. However, the dust jacket is quite tattered. Otherwise, it is clean, gently used, and without marking in book.
THE RAPE OF LA BELLE BY HARRY HAHN
The cause celebre of La Belle Ferronnierre or The Lady In The Red Dress painted by Leonardo da Vinci was more than a gigantic art duel between two stubborn antagonists. The volume in your hands is packed with the sheer intrigue and dramatic suspense of a first class mystery thriller.
Sir Joseph Duveen, head of the international Art* firm of Duveen Bros. Inc. staked his fabulous fortune and worldwide reputation, as well as the professional integrity of his hand, picked clan of famous art experts on a tricky court defense that can well be termed the most shameful episode in the annals of "big business in art."
In THE RAPE OF LA BELLE, Harry Hahn carries you step by step through an intricate maze of expert testimony. He carefully screens, then flails the methods, pretensions and professional competence of the Duveen clan of world-famous art critics whose certificates attest the genuineness of hundreds of paintings in important public and private collections.
Mr. Hahn has given to this important documentary work the fruits of years of research in the Archives of Europe. In the special field of the scientific examination of paintings, he throws down the gauntlet in no uncertain manner to Bernard Berenson and his followers passing their expert testimony through a filter and a lens of inquiry that leaves little less than precipitate at the nether end.
THE RAPE OF LA BELLE is a volume of a stature that the art world will find hard to forget.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR :
World war I sent Kansas born Harry Hahn to France, the following fifteen years he stayed there. Enjoying background high-lighted with the glamour of being a playboy in Paris and Dinard he suddenly found himself catapulted into the serious business of crossing swords with the world's greatest art dealer.
He became an ardent delver into the great archives and libraries of Europ all the while holding the steady course of inquiring into the backgrounds of old paintings that were sold for fabulous prices on the lush American market with no other guarantee of genuineness than the "say-so's" of certain continental art-experts. Mr. Hahn has done an extensive research and experimentation into the pigmentary composition of ancient paintings and the results of his findings were flung into the case of Hahn vs. Duveen with the effect of a bomb. The resulting explosions are still reverberating in the ears of the "art-experts."
Harry Hahn, despite the fact he ha lived the greater part of his adult life in Paris still has the mannerisms and style of the middle-westerner. He laughs at the closed mind and the affected mannerisms of the continental aesthete. "I marvel," he said, "at the first art-expert I ever saw—he actually wore a monocle and spats."
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