Pub date: October 19, 2007
For the first time, the fully documented story of the unravelling of the Beaverbrook legacy. From humble beginnings, Max Aitken, later Lord Beaverbrook, rose to the heights of politics and business. His philanthropy knew no bounds, or so it seemed. In the late 1950s, he built the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton as a gift to the people of New Brunswick and stocked it with a large collection of masterworks that form the core of the Gallery's prestigious collection. Today, the paintings are at the centre of a bitter battle between the Gallery and the two charitable Beaverbrook foundations - a battle that has rocked the art world on both sides of the Atlantic.
But the "Beaverbrook dispute" is only part of this intriguing story. In this fascinating account, Jacques Poitras explores the intertwined history of the Aitken family and the Beaverbrook Gallery. Sifting through Beaverbrook's own correspondence, public and archival records in Canada and England, and interviews with friends and foes, including those involved in the dispute, Poitras disentangles the exploits of the original Lord Beaverbrook and the uncertain fortunes of a once-influential family.
Beaverbrook: A Shattered Legacy was a finalist for the BC Award for Canadian Non-fiction, a prestigous national prize, and won the 2008 Best Atlantic Published Book Award.
"Take a cantankerous patriarch, throw in some very famous paintings and a family at war - and you have the ingredients of a gripping thriller. In Jacques Poitras' skilful hands they become something more; a wise meditation on a friendship that went very wrong." - Elizabeth Renzetti
"Riveting." - Manchester Guardian