At the end of high-school I had two clear career paths in front of me and a choice I knew would have a major impact on the rest of my life. One path was safe: the bright world of advertising and marketing. An exciting prospect, since I knew it would allow me to study a myriad of subjects, from photography and design to linguistics and economics.

The other was the uncertain world of art restoration. I say uncertain because I knew a certain level of investment and “connections” (both of which I didn’t have) was needed to make a living out of it in Portugal, and even then it was risky. The option of leaving the country never crossed my mind, and even if it did, it was beyond my means. All the same, I have the feeling it’s the closest I’ve had to a Calling.

In the end, I followed the bright lights and the road more travelled. I don’t regret it, but truth be told, I wonder sometimes. I think I’ve said it here before, but my perfect job now would be to do communications for the likes of UNESCO (if anyone there is reading this, my email address is right there on the top-left!).

All this to say that “Art restoration, conservation and business” will be my second biggest theme of the “One, Two, Theme” Challenge. Once again, if you have any recommendations not included below, it would be great to hear them!

And without further ado:

(first stab at)
A Reading List for “One, Two, Theme” Challenge
Theme 5:
Art restoration, conservation and business


  • The Art Detective: Fakes, Frauds, and Finds and the Search for Lost Treasures by Philip Mould
    “Philip Mould, one of the world’s foremost authorities on British portraiture and an irreverent and delightful expert for the Roadshow, serves up his secrets and his best stories, blending the technical details of art detection and restoration with juicy tales peopled by a range of eccentric collectors, scholars, forgers, and opportunities.” GR
  • A Closer Look: Conservation of Paintings by David Bomford
    A Closer Look: Conservation of Paintings discusses the material nature of paintings and the ways that they have changed, both naturally and at the hands of previous restorers.” GR
  • Art Restoration: The Culture, the Business and the Scandal by James Beck
    “Professor Beck inquires into the social, cultural and, increasingly, commercial factors that underlie the recent state of restorations that has produced what amounts to a restoration establishment with its own networks, priorities and interests.” GR
  • I Bought Andy Warhol by Richard Polsky
    “In 1987, Richard Polsky put aside $100,000 to buy a Warhol painting, a dream that took twelve years to realize. In a book that spans the years from the wild speculation of the late 1980s to the recession of the 1990s, Polsky, himself a private dealer, takes his readers on a funny, fast-paced tour through an industry characterized by humor, hypocrisy, greed, and gossip.” GR
  • The Caravaggio Conspiracy by Peter Watson
    Investigative reporter poses as dealer to recover stolen paintings. Sub-title: “how five art dealers, four policemen, three picture restorers, two auction houses, and a journalist plotted to recover some of the world’s most beautiful stolen paintings”
  • The Art of the Steal: Inside the Sotheby’s-Christie’s Auction House Scandal by Christopher Manson
    “It offers an unprecedented look inside this secretive, glamorous, gold-plated industry, describing just how Sotheby’s and Christie’s grew from clubby, aristocratic businesses into slick international corporations. And it shows how the groundwork for the most recent illegal activities was laid decades before the perpetrators were caught by federal prosecutors.” GR


  • The Raphael Affair (Jonathan Argyll & Flavia di Stefano #1) by Iain Pears
    “When a long-lost Raphael resurfaces, it triggers a chain of events from vandalism…to murder! As English art scholar Jonathan Argyll investigates, he ends up on a run for the truth…and his very own life.” GR
  • An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin
    “Lacey Yeager is young, captivating, and ambitious enough to take the NYC art world by storm. Groomed at Sotheby’s and hungry to keep climbing the social and career ladders put before her. Her ascension to the highest tiers of the city parallel the soaring heights – and, at times, the dark lows – of the art world and the country from the late 1990s through today.” GR
  • The Kill Artist (Gabriel Allon, #1) by Daniel Silva
    One of a series of books about Gabriel Allon, a paintings restorer who is also a Mossad agent (how cool does that sound!?).
  • People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
    It is 1996 and Hanna Heath, an Australian book conservator has been asked to analyze and treat the Sarajevo Haggadah which has been salvaged from a Bosnian museum.