"In the summer of 1939, Munich, 'The Home of the Monks', was a
lovely city." Feared SS General Sepp Dietrich drives through the
almost bucolic tree lined streets. His SS driver stops the black
Mercedes at the door of noted banker and art collector, Solomon
Roth, who has traded his superb collection of Impressionist
paintings to Reichsmarshall Herman Goering in exchange for the safe
passage of his wife and children out of Nazi Germany. One painting
remains, a magnificent self-portrait by Vincent Van Gogh.
In the spring of 1945 Munich is a very different city, much of it
transformed into a wasteland by Allied bombing. American army
sergeant Henry, 'Hank', Dryden enters the former Roth home
searching for weapons and takes the portrait.
For half a century, the painting lies undiscovered in Dryden's
closet in Del Mar, California until feeling his mortality, Hank,
enlists the help of his grandson John, a public interest lawyer in
Southgate, to determine if it is genuine and if so to sell it. John
unwittingly enters the fascinating world of fine art auctions where
the richest and most powerful men and women on earth play for
stakes that dwarf any in Monte Carlo, Macao, or Las Vegas and
millions depend on the wave of a hand or a finger to the nose.
Based on true accounts and experiences accumulated during more
than 40 years attending, bidding, and selling at auctions in the
United States and Europe, Park Avenue is enriched by speci?c
factual detail as well as a classic examination of the workings of
the human heart as the Drydens are affected by the ageless lure of
undreamt of wealth.
Michael R. Zomber was born in Washington D.C. and educated at
Oberlin College, Villanova University, the University of Illinois,
and UCLA. He received his M.A. in English Literature from UCLA. The
son of two Holocaust survivors who escaped Nazi Germany in 1939, he
knew nothing of his Jewish heritage until the age of ten. Following
this revelation he became aware of world history and developed a
keen interest in the arms and armor of Europe, the Middle East, and
His grandfather, Robert Eisner, collected paintings by the
Impressionist masters and these images by Renoir, Degas, and
Gaugain ?red his youthful artistic sensibility. In 1961 Parke
Bernet Galleries sold Rembrandt's Aristotle Contemplating the Bust
of Homer to the Metropolitan Museum for a world record price and
from then on Michael Zomber followed the sale results of works of
art at auction as closely as he followed major league baseball
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