The Museum of Lost Art

Noah Charney
Published by Phaidon

An intriguing collection of true tales about works of art that have vanished. Published by Phaidon.

‘Charney picks out some of the greatest lost cultural artefacts in history and tells vivid tales of their bitter ends.’

  1. Bloomberg Online

Imagine a museum of lost art – it would contain more masterpieces than the world’s museums combined. Noah Charney is a professor of art and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and he has created this gripping narrative telling the stories of artworks that for one reason or another have disappeared.

Using case studies of famous works and their creators, Charney reveals how these masterpieces have been variously stolen, destroyed in war, accidentally demolished or discarded, lost at sea or in natural disasters, wrecked by iconoclasts or vandals – or even destroyed by their owners.

‘Lost art still has a key role in our culture … There were seven wonders in the ancient world. None has survived, save the great pyramids. Yet these long-vanished marvels still loom large in our cultural memory… Noah Charney curates a collection of masterpieces that, destroyed, misplaced or stolen, may no longer be seen. Yet they play a crucial role in our culture… It becomes apparent that it is the very ‘lost-ness’ of these pieces that is integral to their identity… Lost artworks belong less to our world than to the land of myth… Lost art can never disappoint.’

  1. The Times

He also discusses works of art that were intentionally temporary, covered with paint or plaster or recycled for their materials. In the conclusion to this exciting, richly illustrated volume spanning the centuries and continents, Charney leaves us with the tantalising thought that ‘Lost is just another word for waiting to be found’.

296 pages
135 illustrations
234mm x 150mm
Published by Phaidon

Show More
The Folio Society UK
© The Folio Society 2019