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Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b New York, Feb 7, 1875; d Monaco, Jan 19, 1968).

British mining consultant and collector of American birth. He was educated at the Columbia School of Mines and at Princeton University; by the age of 28 he was the consulting engineer and assistant general manager of the Guggenheim Exploration Company. In 1913, two years after the death of his first wife, he settled in London and became established as a mining consultant. He married Edith Dunn and bought Baroda House in Kensington Palace Gardens. With one of his associates, Herbert Hoover, later President of the USA (1929–33), he reorganized the Kyshtin mine in the Urals. The Selection Trust Ltd, which he established in 1914 to develop and finance profitable mines throughout the world, made great headway after World War I, and he remained its chairman until 1960. He was naturalized as a British citizen in 1933. In his youth he began collecting a range of items, including Western manuscripts and Chinese snuff bottles, but his main passion was collecting Islamic manuscripts and paintings, early Bibles and rare books, Impressionist paintings, French and Russian gold snuffboxes, 18th-century watches, clocks, and stamps. His interest in the Islamic arts of the book, particularly manuscripts of the Koran, was stimulated by frequent visits to Cairo, where he wintered between the wars. Although he had no knowledge of Arabic, Persian, or Turkish, he was keen to give scholars access to his collection and loaned manuscripts to many exhibitions. In ...

Article

(b Kingston, Ont., Jan 27, 1871; d New York, Aug 10, 1949).

Canadian engineer, businessman and collector. His interest in Canadian colonial history prompted him to begin collecting Canadiana in the 1920s. He amassed some 500 paintings, watercolours and drawings and nearly 2000 prints. The most intriguing works in the collection are six watercolours (Ottawa, N. Archv) by Robert Hood (c.1797–1821), recording his journey as a midshipman on an Arctic expedition (1819–21). Other artists represented in the collection include George Heriot, James Pattison Cockburn (1778–1847) and James Duncan (1806–81). Although Coverdale assembled these works, they were the property of the Canada Steamships Line, of which he was president and director (1922–49). The collection was displayed at the Manoir Richelieu, a grand summer hotel at Murray Bay (now Pointe-au-Pic), Quebec, owned by the Canada Steamships Line. Coverdale supervised the hanging of the collection, which remained there until the hotel was sold in ...

Article

Beginning with the Great Exhibition in London in 1851, world’s fairs (often called universal expositions, international exhibitions, or world expos) became mainstays of the modern world. By 1900, dozens of cities around the globe ranging from Paris to Philadelphia to Calcutta (now Kolkata) played host to these spectacles. By 1945 a worldwide audience of about one billion people had attended these events, underscoring their popularity and potential to influence mass audiences on a global scale. World’s fairs put new technologies and consumer products on display, they introduced new forms of entertainment, and they reflected the empire-building ambitions of many nations. World’s fairs can be understood from many perspectives, but fundamental is the recognition that these complex festivals of modernity were, at the core, built environments and cultural landscapes of dazzling complexity that served as laboratories for architects, designers, and urban planners (see also Exhibition architecture).

The first bona fide world’s fair held in the USA took place in Philadelphia in ...

Article

Lillian B. Miller

(b Nassau, May 20, 1846; d Brookline, MA, Sept 22, 1926).

American engineer, patron and collector. He was educated in Providence, RI, in Paris and at the Phillips Academy in Andover, MA. He studied engineering and in 1873 became superintendent of the western division of the Boston waterworks, where he was instrumental in bringing about the sanitation of the water supply.

FitzGerald had studied sculpture in Paris as a young boy, and his love of art manifested itself in the creation of a collection of contemporary works by American, Dutch, Norwegian, Spanish, and in particular, French artists. He was an early friend of Claude Monet and owned numerous works by him, including Mme Monet and Child (1875), Fishing Boats at Etretat, Hills of Vétheuil on the Seine (1880) and Sunset on the Seine: Winter Effect (1880). Other Impressionist artists whose works appeared in his collection included Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro and Alfred Sisley. FitzGerald was an admirer and friend of the American painter ...

Article

Margaret Moore Booker

The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) constitute a public archival collection consisting of more than 556,900 measured drawings, large-format photographs and written histories for more than 38,600 historic structures and sites in the US dating from Pre-Columbian times to the 20th century. Maintained by the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., the HABS collection is one of the largest national surveys of its kind in the world. It serves as a vital resource for students of American architecture and is a crucial aid to historic preservationists. Its success reflects the importance and great need to document America’s surviving architectural and engineering masterpieces, particularly those that might be threatened with alteration, demolition or development.

In 1933, during the Great Depression, HABS was initiated by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) as a short-term, federal relief project. Under the program—the brainchild of architect Charles E. Peterson—unemployed architects and draftsmen were hired to record systematically historic buildings through accurate, scale, measured drawings and photographs and written historic documentation. The program was (and continues to be) co-sponsored by the National Park Service (NPS), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and the Library of Congress. Unlike most Depression-era federal assistance projects that disappeared once federal emergency funding ended, HABS survived and flourishes today....

Article

Franz Schulze

(Cortelyou)

(b Cleveland, OH, July 8, 1906; d New Canaan, CT, Jan 25, 2005).

American architect, critic, and collector. The son of a well-to-do lawyer, he early displayed a keen natural intelligence that was diligently cultivated by his mother. He enrolled as an undergraduate at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, in 1923. A restless nature drew him successively to disciplines as diverse as music, the classics, and philosophy, while emotional turmoil led to several breakdowns that delayed his graduation until 1930. By then, however, he had developed a close friendship with the young art historian Alfred H. Barr jr, who in 1929 assumed the directorship of the new Museum of Modern Art in New York. At about the same time Johnson met another art historian, Henry-Russell Hitchcock, whose article on J(acobus) J(ohannes) P(ieter) Oud (‘The Architectural Work of J. J. P. Oud’, The Arts, xiii/2 (Feb 1928), pp. 97–103) had suddenly focused Johnson’s scattered mental energies on architecture and, more specifically, on modern European architecture of the 1920s....

Article

Lilian M. C. Randall

(b Baltimore, MD, May 29, 1824; d Paris, Dec 16, 1909).

American agent and collector. The son of a publisher and book illustrator, Fielding Lucas jr (d 1854), he worked as an engineer for the New York–New Haven Railroad, the Central Railroad of New Jersey and the Croton Aqueduct Board. In 1856 he inherited a sum sufficient to free him to pursue his interest in the arts. The following year he moved to Paris, never to return to America. In Paris, Lucas gained widespread respect in art circles through his work as agent to several American collectors and art dealers. By the mid-1880s he had expended about half a million francs at the behest of William T. Walters, a prosperous businessman also from Baltimore. Lucas was actively involved in the formation of Walters’s collection of 19th-century art, noted for its outstanding works by French Realist, Academic and Barbizon school artists, with works commissioned from such artists as Honoré Daumier, ...

Article

A. Deirdre Robson

(b Natchez, MS, Aug 27, 1885; d New York, Jan 17, 1964).

American collector and architect. Marx trained in Boston and Paris and had a distinguished career as an architect and interior designer. Although he was previously interested in the arts, he began, with his wife Florene, to collect 20th-century paintings by the Ecole de Paris only after marrying in 1937. The Marx collection always remained relatively small, c. 48 paintings and 12 sculptures, ranging from Roger de La Fresnaye’s Artillery (1911) to Miró’s Painting (1936). The Marxes’ first purchases, in 1939, were Picasso’s Woman Combing her Hair (1908) and Braque’s Yellow Tablecloth (1935). Works by Picasso and Braque were to remain the cornerstones of the collection over the next 20 years, together with those by Matisse, who was represented by larger, more Cubist-influenced work such as Woman on a High Stool (1913) and The Moroccans (1916). The majority of these Matisses were eventually presented to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York, of which Samuel Marx was a trustee, and whose Director of Collections, Alfred H. Barr jr, thought highly of their choice from this artist’s work. In later life ...

Article

Eric M. Wolf

( Houston )

American art collection that opened in 1987. In 2015 the collection contained approximately 17,000 objects, specializing in modern and contemporary art (with particular strength in Surrealism, School of Paris, Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, and Minimalism), antiquities, Byzantine art, and the art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. While the vast majority of works in the museum come from the collection of its late founders, John and Dominique Menil, de, the museum continues to collect and grow its art collection.

The main building was designed by architect Renzo Piano and was his first solo museum commission (he had previously partnered with Richard Rogers in the design of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris) and his first commission in the USA. In 2013 this building won the Twenty-Five Year Award of the American Institute of Architects, recognizing architectural design of lasting significance. Sited in a residential neighbourhood in Houston’s Montrose district, the modestly scaled museum building is surrounded by bungalows, houses, and smaller satellite galleries creating a campus-like environment. These surrounding properties are owned by the Menil Foundation and are painted a grey matching that of the wooden cladding on the main building. The museum features the first iteration of Piano’s signature glass roof, here suspended over large ferro-concrete ‘leaves’ or fixed louvres, which regulate the natural light entering the galleries. In addition to gallery space, the main building contains a conservation laboratory with studios for painting, object, and paper treatment, a research library, archives, museum offices, and the second floor ‘treasure rooms’, a sort of curated art storage making a large portion of the museum’s collection immediately available to curatorial staff and visiting scholars....

Article

Deborah Cullen

[MoMA] (New York)

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was founded in 1929 by patrons Lillie P(lummer) Bliss, Cornelius J. Sullivan and Rockefeller family §(1) to establish an institution devoted to modern art. Over the next ten years the Museum moved three times and in 1939 settled in the Early Modern style building (1938–9) designed by Philip S. Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone that it still occupies at 11 West 53 Street. Subsequent renovations and expansions occurred in the 1950s and 1960s by Philip Johnson, in 1984 by Cesar Pelli and in 2002–4 by Yoshirō Taniguchi (b 1937). MoMA QNS, the temporary headquarters during this project, was subsequently used to provide art storage. In 2000, MoMA and the contemporary art space, P.S.1, Long Island City, Queens, announced their affiliation. Recent projects are shown at P.S.1 in Queens in a renovated public school building.

According to founding director, Alfred H(amilton) Barr...

Article

Leland M. Roth

(b Brocton, NY, March 3, 1831; d Chicago, Oct 19, 1897).

American industrial designer and philanthropist. His father was a skilled house builder living in Albion, NY, on the Erie Canal. When the canal was widened, Pullman worked with his father, moving houses that were too near the new canal banks. He moved in 1855 to Chicago, then a small, fast-growing city built on mud-flats only slightly above the level of Lake Michigan. There were severe drainage problems, and the city authorities undertook to elevate existing buildings and build higher streets. In 1855 this work had just begun, and Pullman brought with him the expertise needed to move buildings. Within a year he had established a thriving business.

During the winter, Pullman returned to his family in Albion, experiencing first-hand the rigours involved in long-distance rail travel, and he therefore formed a partnership in 1858 to build railway sleeping-cars. The early models enjoyed modest success and encouraged him to produce a larger, more luxurious version. Built during the winter of ...

Article

Alan Wallach

(b Middletown, CT, Aug 8, 1771; d Hartford, CT, July 28, 1848).

American patron and collector. The son of Hartford’s wealthiest merchant and financier, Wadsworth led the retired and somewhat eccentric life of a rentier. He dabbled in architecture and achieved a moderate competence in landscape drawing. Wadsworth collected art in a desultory manner, buying original paintings and copies from John Trumbull (his wife’s uncle) and commissioning works from Thomas Sully, Alvan Fisher, Chauncey B. Ives and Robert Ball Hughes (1806–68). His preference was for landscape painting, his interest no doubt stimulated by his purchase in 1805 of a spectacular country estate, Monte Video, overlooking Hartford. He was an early and fervent supporter of Thomas Cole, commissioning seven paintings from the artist between 1826 and 1828, including White Mountain Scenery, St John the Baptist in the Wilderness, Last of the Mohicans and View of Monte Video (all Hartford, CT, Wadsworth Atheneum).

Wadsworth is remembered primarily as the founder of the first public art ...

Article

Tracy Fitzpatrick

( New York )

The Whitney Museum of American Art, located in New York City, is “dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting, and exhibiting American art.” It was founded by Whitney family §(1) in 1930 and opened to the public in the fall of the following year. Whitney, a sculptor and collector, began exhibiting contemporary, avant-garde art in her art studio in Greenwich Village on West 4th Street in 1912. Six years later, she moved her studio to new quarters on West 8th Street and formally established the Whitney Studio Club. The Club served not only as an exhibition space, but also as a salon for its members. In 1929, Whitney revamped the Club, calling it the Whitney Studio Galleries and continuing to exhibit avant-garde art.

While running these spaces and with help from Juliana Force, who directed the Whitney Studio Galleries and became the first director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Whitney began collecting avant-garde art by American modernists. In particular, she amassed a large body of work by artists of “the Eight,” also known as the ...