Reading & Conversation Martin Suter on the Real and the Fake in Literature and Art

Martin Suter, Frankfurt Book Fair 2012.


Goethe-Institut New York

Martin Suter, Frankfurt Book Fair 2012.

Presented in partnership with the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York and New Vessel Press

Martin Suter
, one of the most popular authors writing in German today, talks about and reads from his novel The Last Weynfeldt (New Vessel Press, 2016), a gripping story about the international art world and art forgery, set in Zurich and translated into English by Steph Morris. In conversation with the art historian and distinguished former museum director, Tom L. Freudenheim, Suter explores some of his novel's key themes and what it tells the reader about the international art world.

Suter’s refined page-turner moves behind elegant bourgeois facades into darker recesses of the heart. Adrian Weynfeldt is an art expert in an international auction house, a bachelor in his mid-fifties living in a grand Zurich apartment filled with costly paintings and antiques. Always correct and well-mannered, he’s given up on love until one night—entirely out of character for him—Weynfeldt decides to take home a ravishing but unaccountable young woman. The next morning, he finds her outside on his balcony threatening to jump. Weynfeldt talks her down, then soon finds himself falling for this damaged but alluring beauty and his buttoned up existence comes unraveled. As their two lives become entangled, Weynfeldt gets embroiled in an art forgery scheme that threatens to destroy everything he and his prominent family have stood for.

Martin Suter, born in Zurich in 1948, is a novelist, screenwriter and newspaper columnist. He has written a dozen novels, many of them bestsellers in Europe and translated into 32 languages. Suter worked previously as a copywriter and creative director in advertising before he decided to fully concentrate on his writing career in 1991. He became known for his weekly column Business Class in the Weltwoche newspaper (1992–2004), now appearing in the Tages-Anzeiger, and another column appearing in the monthly magazine of the Neue Züricher Zeitung, Folio. He achieved his breakthrough with his novel Small World (Diogenes, 1999). Suter lives with his family in Zurich.
Tom L. Freudenheim has served as director of several museums, including the Baltimore Museum of Art, Worcester Art Museum, and London’s Gilbert Collection. He also served as deputy director of the Jewish Museum in Berlin. As Assistant Secretary for Museums at the Smithsonian Institutions, he had oversight responsibility for all US national museums. An art historian with degrees from Harvard College and New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, he also was director of the Museum Program at the National Endowment for the Arts. He is former president of the American Federation of Arts, and now it's vice president. Freudenheim writes regularly for the Wall Street JournalCurator: The Museum Journal, and other publications.

Reviews of The Last Weynfeldt

"A sophisticated and urbane novel with a swanky, dapper European setting that is as much Poe and Chandler as Hitchcock and Truffaut. This is a page-turner all its own, one that asks you to rethink what you thought was too obvious to be true and to reconsider the obvious in case you were wrong. You'll want to reread it as soon as you get to the last page."— André Aciman, author of Out of Egypt and Call Me by Your Name 
The Last Weynfeldt is a wonderful novel about the international art market whose inventive cast includes the super-rich, a faker, a con man, an auction expert and beautiful women.”— Milton Esterow, former editor and publisher of ARTnews and author of The Art Stealers
“Fans of sensitive, slightly aloof Euro-thrillers—think Stefan Zweig or filmmaker Claude Chabrol—will recognize the metier of Swiss writer Suter, who here leavens the sensationalism of crime fiction with psychological insight and melancholy," — Publishers Weekly