The Golden Flea
A Story of Obsession and Collecting
by Michael Rips
Pub Date 21 Apr 2020
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An enchanting tale of the exhilarating search for forgotten treasures at one of the greatest flea markets on earth.
For decades, the Chelsea Flea Market on the west side of Manhattan drew shoppers seeking treasures in booths crammed with vintage dresses, ancient swords, glass eyeballs, Afghan rugs, West African fetish dolls, Old Master paintings, and more. In The Golden Flea, acclaimed writer Michael Rips (“a magical storyteller”— USA Today) recounts his obsession with this charmed world.
Writing with a beguiling style that has won praise from Joan Didion and Susan Orlean, Rips introduces the Flea’s lovable, oddball vendors, including the Haberdasher, who only sells to those he deems worthy; the Art Dealer, whose obscure paintings often go for enormous sums; the Troubadour, who sings to attract customers; as well pickers and collectors of every stripe.
As Rips’ passion for collecting grows, and the Flea’s last days loom, he undertakes a quest to prove the provenance of a mysterious painting that might just be the one.
About the Author: Michael Rips is the author of Pasquale's Nose and The Face of a Naked Lady. He is the executive director of the Art Students League of New York and lives in the Chelsea Hotel in New York City.