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Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Oakland, CA, 1893; d. Shiraz, Iran, 25 Jan. 1977).

American historian of Iranian art. While studying mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, Ackerman met and eventually married Arthur Upham Pope, with whom she had taken courses in philosophy and aesthetics. In 1926 she and Pope organized the first ever exhibition of Persian art at the Pennsylvania Museum and helped create the First International Congress of Oriental Art. In 1930 Ackerman was stricken with polio but taught herself to walk again. They were instrumental in preparing the 1931 Persian Art Exhibition at Burlington House, London, and the Second International Congress of Iranian Art and Archaeology, as well as the Third Congress in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) in 1935 and the exhibition of Iranian art at the Iranian Institute in New York in 1940. She visited Iran for the first time in 1964, when the shah of Iran invited Pope to revive the Asia Institute; it was associated with Pahlavi University in Shiraz until ...

Article

Margaret Medley

(b London, June 11, 1914; d Pembury, Kent, July 31, 1983).

English diplomat, collector and art historian. In 1947, as a member of the British Diplomatic Service, he was posted to Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, then the capital of the Nationalist Chinese government. He became interested in Chinese art and history and began a collection of porcelain, furniture and textiles at a time of political and economic uncertainty, when Chinese collectors were forced to sell. When he moved to the British embassy in Beijing in 1954 he continued his research into Chinese ceramic history with the help of specialists from the Palace Museum. In 1963 he became British ambassador to the Philippines and was largely responsible for organizing the Manila Trade Pottery Seminar (1968), to which he also contributed five of the nine discussion monographs. From 1972 to 1974, as British ambassador to China, he played an important part in promoting the Chinese archaeological exhibition The Genius of China, held in London at the Royal Academy in ...

Article

(b Amsterdam, Aug 13, 1820; d Amsterdam, March 17, 1889).

Dutch writer, critic and collector. He was raised in a cultivated and artistic merchant family but preferred writing to commerce. In addition to serving as an editor of the Volksalmanak voor Nederlandsche Katholieken, he published the Dietsche Warande. His lifelong advocacy of Roman Catholic emancipation is reflected in many of his short stories (written under the pseudonym Pauwels Foreestier) concerning Catholic life in 17th-century Holland. In 1876 he was appointed professor of aesthetics and the history of art at the Rijksacademie voor Beeldenden Kunsten, Amsterdam. An architectural preservationist and an important critic of the art and architecture of his time, he asserted that art should serve a religious function, as it had during the Middle Ages. It should be social, idealistic and transcendental. In his ideal society the arts would form a harmonious unit under the heading of architecture. His brother-in-law P. J. H. Cuypers was the leading Dutch architect of the day, whose career was assisted by Alberdingk Thijm’s advocacy of Gothic Revivalism in architecture. Alberdingk Thijm was particularly opposed to the painters of the Barbizon and Hague schools, whose work he considered to have no underlying purpose. Rather, he preferred the Düsseldorf school, which displayed a knowledge of history and literature. His large collections reflected his philosophical orientation. His numerous 17th and 18th-century Dutch paintings, mostly by minor masters, represented all the genres. He also owned a large collection of drawings and prints, as well as books, manuscripts and religious art from the Middle Ages and Renaissance, which included a Gothic ciborium, a Byzantine crucifix and embroideries on silk, which were dispersed at auction after his death (Amsterdam, Muller, ...

Article

[Pierre Urbain]

(b Paris, 1859; d Paris, 1937).

French writer and collector. He wrote for a number of journals including Le Figaro, Le Voltaire and L’Evénement. He was the first to use the term Neo-Impressionism in a French publication (L’Evénement, 10 Dec 1886) after its use by Félix Féneon in September in Art moderne in Brussels. His attitude to the emerging Neo-Impressionist movement was somewhat equivocal. In Paris (13 Aug 1888) he wrote of Seurat as ‘the man of great achievements who is in some danger of having the paternity of his own theory wrested from him by ill-informed critics or unscrupulous colleagues’. Although he admired Seurat, he had grave doubts about the effect of his theories on other artists, claiming (in the same article) that they had ‘spoilt some great talents, painters like Angrand and Signac’. His comments particularly infuriated Paul Signac and caused tension within the group. He also wrote on the work of the ...

Article

Norman E. Land

(b Arezzo, 19 or April 20, 1492; d Venice, 1556).

Italian art critic, writer, poet and collector. He was one of the most engaging literary figures of the Italian Renaissance, known not only for his famous Lettere but also for political lampoons, erotic books and religious writings. He was the son of a shoemaker, Luca del Tura. From before 1510 until 1517 he lived in Perugia. A book of poems that he published during these years, Opera nova (1512), suggests by its subtitle, in which the author is called ‘Pietro pictore Aretino’, and by a note to the first sonnet in which he claims to be ‘studioso … in pictura’, that he had some training as an artist. About 1517 he moved to Rome, after a short period in Siena, and joined the household of Agostino Chigi. He became friendly with Raphael, Michelangelo, Sebastiano del Piombo and Jacopo Sansovino. At this time too he became known for his political lampoons. For a period Aretino was a valet to Pope Leo X; on Leo’s death in ...

Article

Molly K. Dorkin

[art consultant]

Paid adviser employed by collectors to recommend and facilitate the purchase of works of art. There is a long history of recruitment of art experts by wealthy patrons for advisery purposes. In the 18th century art historians such as Johann Joachim Winckelmann were actively advising leading collectors like Albani family §(2). In the early 20th century the English dealer Joseph Duveen earned a knighthood for his philanthropic efforts on behalf of British galleries. Enlisted by the so-called American Robber Barons for advice in forming collections, Duveen brokered the sale of many notable Old Masters from English aristocrats to American millionaires, including Henry Clay Frick, J. P. Morgan, Henry E. Huntington, and Andrew Mellon. Their collections ultimately formed the nuclei of many great American museums. Duveen’s contemporary Bernard Berenson was an American scholar and expert on Renaissance painting who turned his hand to art advising. Berenson assisted Isabella Stewart Gardner in forming her renowned collection of Renaissance art. His legacy as an academic is controversial thanks to his habit of accepting payment in exchange for favourable ...

Article

Christophe Spaenjers

Statistical measure showing the development of art prices since a chosen base year. Index series are often represented as graphs, and allow for a comparison with the performance of other assets. An index also enables the measurement of the correlation of art returns with changes in valuations of other investments. Two techniques are commonly used to construct an art price index based on auction transaction data. First, so-called ‘hedonic’ methods use all available sales information to measure changes in quality-adjusted average transaction prices. Second, ‘repeat-sales’ regression models only use price information on artworks for which at least two transactions are observed to estimate the average return in each period.

Measuring the returns to art Investments is not methodologically straightforward. While for a publicly traded financial asset (e.g. a stock in a large company) a price can typically be observed on any given day, in the Art market each item is unique and trades only very infrequently. Ideally, an art index would track the total monetary value of a representative portfolio of objects over time, but this is not possible as we do not observe prices for the same set of artworks in every period. For this reason, even an index based on unadjusted average prices will not accurately capture changes in the willingness to pay for art over time. For example, even if the average price of all transacted artworks is twice as large in one period compared to the previous one, this does not mean that the typical item has doubled in value; it could be that in the second period there were more transactions of relatively more attractive works....

Article

Christophe Spaenjers

Set of financial methods, instruments, and business models that are used in the Art market. Important developments since the 1960s include the spreading availability and use of art price information and price indexes (see Art index), the emergence of loans collateralized by artworks, repeated efforts to create art investment structures, and a strong growth in art market advisory services provided by wealth managers and new entrepreneurs (see also Investment).

The first major development has been the spread of art price information and art price indexes over the last half-century. After a few difficult decades, art price levels and public interest in the art market were going up again in the 1950s and 1960s. A number of books on the history of the art market and on art investment that were published around that time—Le Vie Etrange des Objets (1959) by Maurice Rheims, Art as an Investment...

Article

Sophie Page

Astrology is the art of predicting events on earth as well as human character and disposition from the movements of the planets and fixed stars. Medieval astrology encompassed both general concepts of celestial influence, and the technical art of making predictions with horoscopes, symbolic maps of the heavens at particular moments and places constructed from astronomical information. The scientific foundations of the art were developed in ancient Greece, largely lost in early medieval Europe and recovered by the Latin West from Arabic sources in the 12th and 13th centuries. Late medieval astrological images were successfully Christianized and were adapted to particular contexts, acquired local meanings and changed over time.

Astrology developed into a scientific branch of learning in ancient Greece, but because of the opposition of the Church Fathers it was transmitted to early medieval Europe in only fragmentary form in technically unsophisticated textbooks and popular divinatory genres. Literary and scientific texts provided more general ideas about the nature and attributes of the planets which were influential on later iconography. The first significant astrological images appear in 11th-century illustrated astronomical texts (e.g. London, BL, Cotton MS. Tiberius BV), which were acquired and produced by monasteries to aid with time-keeping and the construction of the Christian calendar....

Article

Molly K. Dorkin

Prior to the 20th century, the attribution of works of art was not governed by rigid regulations, and art dealers and auctioneers assigned attributions based purely on aesthetic grounds. Works were attributed to the artist whose manner they most closely resembled, but they were not further distinguished on the basis of quality; as a result, many paintings purchased as Renaissance masterpieces in the 18th or 19th century have since been downgraded to studio works or even much later pastiches.

Historically, the patrons who commissioned Old Masters placed a premium on subject-matter rather than originality, and popular narratives were requested by multiple patrons, creating conditions in which the demand for copies could flourish (see Copy). Popular compositions were often reproduced many times: by the master himself, an apprentice in his workshop, or even a later follower or imitator. A master trained his apprentices to approximate his manner as closely as possible, and sold the finished work under his own name. In some cases a master would paint the most important part of a work (such as the faces of the central figures) before delegating the rest to apprentices. Through the 19th century, pupils at prestigious institutions were taught by making copies of works by acknowledged masters. Many pieces, particularly drawings (which for much of their history were working tools, rather than art objects), were unsigned. Damaged or incomplete works of art were subjected to extensive restoration or reworking by later artists, a process that can cloud the question of attribution....

Article

Edward L. Goldberg

(b Florence, June 3, 1625; d Florence, Jan 1, 1697).

Italian businessman, art historian, collector and writer . He was born into a pious and moderately prosperous Florentine commercial family and educated by the Jesuits. He reluctantly abandoned his studies and a religious vocation for a lifelong career as a business agent and bookkeeper for local noble families, an occupation that provided him with many acquaintances in cultivated Florentine society. He had many friends among writers, including the painter and dialect poet Lorenzo Lippi, and painters, including Matteo Rosselli, Baccio del Bianco, Baldassare Franceschini and Carlo Dolci. He was an amateur artist himself with considerable skill in drawing and clay modelling and made chalk portraits of Tuscan notables (one set extant; Florence, Uffizi) and copies of venerated religious images. As a collector, he assembled two successive collections of mainly Florentine drawings from the 14th to the 17th century, with an emphasis on the later 16th century and early 17th. The first collection (Florence, Uffizi) was ceded to ...

Article

Etrenne Lymbery

(b Paris, Feb 6, 1849; d Paris, 1931).

French writer. In 1866 he entered the Ministry for the Colonies, which he left in 1886 to devote himself to book collecting, building up a remarkable library of French prints. He was guided by the bibliophile Eugene Paillet, a greater part of whose library he purchased in 1887. Beraldi’s talent and well-developed critical sense were obvious, and he quickly established his reputation. He was the author of numerous works on artists and printmakers, such as L’Oeuvre de Moreau le Jeune (Paris, 1874), published under the pseudonym Draibel, the first catalogue of the works of Jean-Michel Moreau, Les Graveurs du XVIIIe siècle (Paris, 1880–82) in collaboration with R. Portalis, and Mes Estampes (Lille, 1884), a catalogue of the prints, portraits and books belonging to him and to his father. He also compiled a catalogue of Paillet’s library, but his most famous book is the invaluable Les Graveurs du XIXe siècle...

Article

(b Cleve, Dec 28, 1781; d Berlin, 1853).

Prussian civil servant and collector. He served in Bayreuth and Potsdam and in 1810 joined the office of State Chancellor August von Hardenberg in Berlin, where as chairman of the Committee for the Reform of Taxation and Trade, he was influenced by English economic liberalism. He became director of the Technische Deputation für Gewerbe in 1819, and in 1821 he founded the Gewerbeverein and the Gewerbeinstitut for the advanced training of craftsmen, where he could apply his commitment to improving quality and design in the applied and industrial arts. In 1831 he took charge of the Allgemeine Bauschule. In response to the aesthetic shortcomings of mass-produced goods, Beuth and his friend Karl Friedrich Schinkel directed the publication of the Vorbilder für Fabrikanten und Handwerker (1821–37), first issued as single lithographs before being collected into two volumes with a commentary (1830–37). Schinkel provided about 40 original designs, while the remainder derived mostly from antiquity, the Renaissance and the Islamic world. The interest in historic prototypes led to the revival or adaptation of old techniques of metalworking, glassmaking and ceramic production, as well as to the investigation of the degree to which new technology could make well-designed objects more widely available. During a period of rapid industrialization and the expansion of trade, Beuth was instrumental in reorientating the manufacture of the applied arts from traditional craft methods to industrial technology. His important collection of contemporary craft objects later passed to the ...

Article

Luca Leoncini

(b Bologna, Sept 30, 1717; d Perugia, Jan 1, 1781).

Italian doctor, scientist, scholar, art historian and antiquarian. He graduated in 1741 from Bologna University in philosophy and medicine and between 1743 and 1744 translated J. B. Winslow’s treatise on anatomy, Exposition anatomique de la structure du corps humain. From 1744 he served as doctor to Ludwig VIII, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt (reg 1739–68), and following this, from 1750, to Frederick-Augustus II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland. Between 1748 and 1749 Bianconi founded, and thereafter published, the Journal des savans d’Italie, which discussed the latest ideas in scientific and literary studies in Italy. Frederick-Augustus commissioned him to purchase in Italy artworks for the Dresden Gemäldegalerie, the most famous acquisition being Raphael’s Sistine Madonna (c. 1512–14), bought in 1753. During this period Bianconi consolidated friendships with many artists and men of letters. During the Seven Years War he followed Crown Prince (later Elector) Frederick-Christian of Saxony (...

Article

Gabriel P. Weisberg

(b Hamburg, Feb 26, 1838; d Vaucresson, nr Paris, Sept 6, 1905).

French art dealer, critic and patron, of German birth. Often misnamed Samuel, he was a major promoter of Japanese art and Art Nouveau. From a wealthy, entrepreneurial Hamburg family, he trained as an industrial decorator for ceramics under the guidance of his father and independently in Paris during the Second Empire (1852–70). After the Franco-Prussian War (which he spent in Belgium) Bing established a thriving Oriental trading business, primarily of Japanese arts, the success of which permitted the opening of his Oriental crafts shop in Paris in the late 1870s. Following a trip to Japan, he expanded the business in the 1880s, selling both contemporary and ancient Japanese objects, to meet the demand for Oriental merchandise. At the end of the 1880s, as Japonisme developed, Bing founded a monthly periodical, Le Japon artistique (pubd simultaneously in Eng., Fr. and Ger., 1888–91), and organized a series of exhibitions of rare Japanese art, featuring ceramics and ...

Article

Denys Sutton

(b Viipuri, Finland [now Vyborg, Russia], 1885; d Coombe Bissett, Wilts, Sept 2, 1948).

Finnish art historian, dealer and archaeologist, active in England. After studying at Helsinki University, then in Berlin and Rome, he settled in London in 1906 and published The Painters of Vicenza, 1480–1550 (1909), based on his doctoral thesis. Through his friendship with Roger Fry, he was introduced to the London art world. He revised (1912) A History of Painting in North Italy (1871) by J. A. Crowe and Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle and the last two volumes (1914) of their A New History of Italian Painting (1864–6). Appointed lecturer in 1914 at the University of London, he served as Durning-Lawrence Professor of the History of Art (1922–47). He was a member of the Burlington Fine Arts Club and wrote on a wide range of subjects in the Burlington Magazine. A pioneer historian of early English art, he edited the University College, London, monographs on English medieval art and started excavations at Clarendon Palace near Salisbury in ...

Article

Philip Sohm

(b Venice, 1605; d Venice, Jan 1, 1681).

Italian art critic, dealer, engraver, restorer and painter. His place in history rests firmly on the hyperbolic 681-page poem La carta del navegar pitoresco (Venice, 1660), whose title and subtitle may be translated as ‘The map of pictorial navigation. Dialogue between a dilettante Venetian senator and a professor of painting, under the names of Ecelenza and Compare; divided into eight winds which lead the Venetian boat across the high seas of painting as the dominant power of that sea to the confusion of him who does not understand compasses’. It is an intensely patriotic and polemical defence of Venetian painting written in Venetian dialect and directed against those Roman and Tuscan standards represented by Giorgio Vasari. As the full title suggests, Boschini is enamoured with Giambattista Marino’s metaphoric language and frankly espouses a personal reading of art history from the perspective of an artist (he who ‘understands compasses’). The apparently unstructured exposition rejects objective, comprehensive and logically organized theories of art in favour of an eccentric art criticism that attempts to capture the immediacy and pleasure of vision itself....

Article

Simonetta Prosperi Valenti Rodinò

(b Florence, Jan 15, 1689; d Rome, June 4, 1775).

Italian historian, collector and writer. His special interests were the literature of Tuscany during the 14th and 15th centuries, medieval and contemporary art, sacred archaeology and ecclesiastical history. As a scholar of art he brought out (in 1730) a new edition of Raffaele Borghini Il riposo … and wrote the Dialoghi sopra le tre arti del disegno, which was published some years later (Lucca, 1754). The artistic theories he expressed in these works owed something to L. A. Muratori and were influenced by a view of works of art as documents of their time. He exalted the classical traditions of Tuscan art in the early and high Renaissance, praised the classicism of the Carracci and bluntly opposed Mannerist and Baroque art. In the Dialoghi he demonstrated a practical interest, unusual for the period, in methods of restoring and conserving artefacts.

Bottari served the Corsini family from 1718, in Florence at first and then in Rome, where he was summoned in ...

Article

Pietro Roccasecca

(b Venice, July 5, 1549; d Rome, Aug 17, 1626).

Italian cardinal and patron. He was the younger brother of Guidobaldo (1545–1607), the scientist, mathematician and patron of Galileo Galilei, who wrote a treatise on perspective (1600). Francesco was educated at the della Rovere court at Urbino, where he probably studied with the poet Agostino Gallo (1499–1570) and the mathematician Federico Commandino (1509–75); certainly he developed a passion for music and for art. It is traditionally believed that he left the della Rovere court while still very young to join that of Cardinal Alessandro Sforza (1534–81) in Rome. When Sforza died Francesco entered the service of Cardinal Ferdinando de’ Medici, who, on his succession as Grand Duke of Tuscany, renounced his cardinalate and persuaded Pope Sixtus V to confer it on Francesco (1588).

Francesco was a man of wide culture and varied interests: he was a connoisseur of music and painting, he practised alchemy and had a great interest in science. Politically, he was always a partisan of the French, and the writers who described him as an uncultured libertine (for Dirck Amayden’s biography see Spezzaferro) were adherents of the pro-Spanish party and intended to block his election to the papacy. His collection contained about 700 paintings, ancient statuary, the ...

Article

(b Leiden, May 17, 1871; d The Hague, Jan 16, 1956).

Dutch collector and critic. He began his career as an artist, painting pointillist works such as Landscape with a Windmill (1894; Leiden, Stedel. Mus. Lakenhal), but soon turned to theory rather than practice. From 1895 he was an ardent defender of the anti-naturalist view, considering the role of art to be the representation of the inner life of the artist rather than the imitation of the visible world. He wrote widely on this and related topics in the periodicals Modern Kunstwerke (1903–10) and Beeldende Kunst (1913–38), which he edited: he also lectured extensively, and encouraged and supported young artists. Bremmer was extremely influential in the collecting of art in the Netherlands in the first years of this century, most spectacularly in the building up of the Kröller-Muller museum at Otterlo. He met Helene Kröller-Muller in 1906 and inspired her to transfer her allegiance from Delft china to modern art: over the 30 years during which he guided her buying she acquired notable groups of works by ...