The Gallerist is a feel-good cosy crime novel that will take you behind the scenes of the art world.
When Jan Bilowski brings a painting into Mark Lewis’s gallery for valuing, she tells him it was a gift from a seventeen-year-old artist called Charlie. Why then does the work look exactly like a James Devlin – painted a whole decade before the celebrated artist’s career began on the other side of the country? When Mark delves deeper he finds out James Devlin’s past is as blank as an empty canvas – and he’ll stop at nothing to keep it that way.
About the author
Michael Levitt has been collecting art for many years, has been the invited speaker at the launch of art exhibitions and at the launch of books about art, and has written numerous articles about art and artworks for newspapers, magazines and art exhibition catalogues. An exhibition of selected works from his and his wife, Carolyn’s, personal collection was held at Ellenbrook Gallery in 2021. Michael is also a practising surgeon and health bureaucrat. He is a sought-after public speaker who was awarded the Centenary Medal (in Australia) in 2003 for services to public education about colorectal cancer.
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Michael Levitt describes how his own love of art inspired the book
I grew up in a house with art on the walls and really did buy my first painting aged just thirteen. Having sold that work to my late father about ten years later (for some quick cash), and the painting having then been sold along with the office block in which Dad had hung it, I reconnected with it almost forty years later, still hanging in that same office block. That it was an exciting, almost emotional moment for me to identify this long-lost painting that I thought had disappeared forever, goes to the heart of the extent to which art appeals to me and, at times, moves me.
I am seriously addicted to collecting art and I especially love the idea of working out the origins of works of art – not just who painted them (since that is usually known) but what inspired the work, what the painting is about, what was happening to the artist at that time, where the work of art has been displayed and by whom it has previously been owned. All of these things add greatly to my appreciation of any painting. So a story about the mysterious origins of a painting is pure pleasure to me.
Since the connection I was developing between Charlie’s painting and other works by James Devlin, scattered in galleries and offices and homes around Australia, was central to the story itself, I felt that I needed a small body of similar works to which I could refer, each of which I could, if needed for the story, describe in equally credible detail. I put a proposal to [artist] Teelah George to produce a series of nine works of varying sizes. I gave her only the most basic description of the storyline along with the requirement that the works be in acrylic and purely abstract in nature. I provided her with the masonite boards and she was happy to collaborate with me.
I’ve commissioned art on only very few occasions only – there is always the real prospect of disappointment due to the disparity between my expectations and the artist’s interpretation of the commission. But Teelah’s natural facility for abstraction meant that, in this case, my expectations were exceeded and the ease I felt when describing them in the novel reflected my confidence that the works fully warranted the great (albeit fictional) acclaim attributed to them in the book.
Read a sample here.
Publicity and marketing for the Fremantle Press crime list:
- Advertising co-op for booksellers who would like to partner with Fremantle Press on online advertising to local, targeted audiences
- Major media campaign including radio, digital and print interviews
- Advertising across bookseller newsletters and catalogues, print and digital media
- National online author talks: A Shot in the Dark with Michael Levitt, David Warner, Joanna Morrison, Karen Herbert and Brett Adams
- Instore and online merchandise includes posters and bookmarks, and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram assets.
For all publicity and marketing enquiries, contact Claire Miller, email@example.com.
Advance reading copies
For your chance to receive one of five advance copies of The Gallerist, email firstname.lastname@example.org.