The Art Procurer
The Tower of the Blue Horses, an immense painting by early twentieth-century German Exhibitionist painter, Franz Marc, forms the keystone of Jeff Ridenour’s long and utterly absorbing novel. Through his large and expertly evoked cast of characters (some fictional, some historical), Ridenour traces the painting through all the stages of its remarkable life, from a public showing in the 1930s to its disappearance in July 1945. Beyond this date, the author deepens the art history tracery of this larger plot with lots of dialogue, plenty of intrigue, a surprising amount of humor, and, running underneath it all, a remarkable and sometimes quite sad worldly wisdom.
Readers of The Art Procurer will learn a great deal about the art world, art investigation, and the troglodyte barbarity of the Nazis (especially regarding the artwork they plundered). But they will also learn a good deal about human nature — and will seldom read a faster seven-hundred pages. Strongly recommended.