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Article

A. Deirdre Robson

(b London, Dec 8, 1904; d New York, Nov 25, 1979).

American publisher and collector. He trained at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League in New York before working in publishing. In 1950 he set up his own publishing company, Harry N. Abrams Inc., one of the first American companies to specialize in art books. In 1968 he founded Abbeville Books. His collecting, which began in the mid-1930s, went through three distinct phases: his first interest was in such contemporary American painters as Milton Avery and Raphael Soyer. He continued to purchase such works into the 1950s, but from the mid-1940s his collecting began to be dominated by works by major 20th-century artists; he acquired, among other works, Marc Chagall’s Clock (1948), Pablo Picasso’s Motherhood (1921) and Georges Rouault’s Miserere (1939).

Abrams’s most notable period as a collector was the 1960s, when he became known as a major collector of new American art. His interest in this area was fuelled by the ...

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

(b Maple, Ont., May 25, 1879; d Cherkley, nr Leatherhead, June 9, 1964).

British publisher, financier, politician, collector and patron, of Canadian birth. As Minister of Information during World War I, he was responsible for the War Records Office in London, through which Wyndham Lewis, Muirhead Bone, William Orpen, Christopher Nevinson, Augustus John and six Canadian artists, J. W. Beatty (1869–1941), Maurice Cullen, C. W. Simpson (1878–1942), Fred Varley, David Milne and A. Y. Jackson, received commissions to record Canada’s military contribution to the war effort. The Canadian War Memorials were deposited at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, in 1921, and since then all but the major canvases have been transferred to the Canadian War Museum, also in Ottawa.

Beaverbrook was instrumental in developing the National Gallery of Canada’s collection of historical pictures; he was directly responsible for the gift of Benjamin West’s The Death of Wolfe by the Duke of Westminster in 1918, and the acquisition of ...

Article

Lillian B. Miller

(b New York, July 12, 1840; d New York, Oct 7, 1913).

American merchant and collector. He was the son of Bavarian Jewish immigrants who ran a small dry goods business in New York before the Civil War. About 1863 he entered into a business partnership with his brother; after Morris Altman’s death in 1876, Benjamin re-established the business and quickly developed it into a highly profitable enterprise. Altman’s aesthetic interests extended from European and Oriental decorative arts to Old Master paintings. A self-educated connoisseur, Altman depended a great deal on the advice of dealers such as Duveen, Agnew, Gimpel and Wildenstein, but also developed a fine discrimination as a result of a few short trips to Europe and the accumulation of a valuable art library. As he became more deeply involved in art, he began to devote his entire time to its study. Although never a recluse, he did not participate actively in New York society, never married and insisted on privacy....

Article

Naomi Sawelson-Gorse

American collectors and patrons. Walter (Conrad) Arensberg (b Pittsburg [now Pittsburgh], PA, 4 April 1878; d Los Angeles, CA, 29 Jan 1954) and his wife, Louise [née Mary Louise Stevens] (b Dresden, 15 May 1879; d Los Angeles, CA, 25 Nov 1953), lived in New York from 1914 to 1921. During this period their apartment at 33 W. 67th Street was an unofficial salon for the American Dada movement, where French expatriate artists such as (Henri-Robert-)Marcel Duchamp and Francis Picabia mingled with American writers, artists, musicians and others. Although Walter Arensberg enjoyed financial comfort for a while, owing to financial assistance from his father, this soon ended. Walter’s support of such journals as Others and Blind Man and of the Marius de Zayas Gallery was short-lived and ended in financial failure. In contrast, his wife, Louise (whom he had married in 1907), had inherited substantial wealth from her parents, which provided the means to acquire the majority of works the couple amassed from the 1920s....

Article

Arman  

Alfred Pacquement

[Fernandez, Armand]

(b Nice, Nov 17, 1928; d New York, Oct 22, 2005).

American sculptor and collector of French birth. Arman lived in Nice until 1949, studying there at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs from 1946 and in 1947 striking up a friendship with the artist Yves Klein, with whom he was later closely associated in the Nouveau Réalisme movement. In 1949 he moved to Paris, where he studied at the Ecole du Louvre and where in an exhibition in 1954 he discovered the work of Kurt Schwitters, which led him to reject the lyrical abstraction of the period. In 1955 Arman began producing Stamps, using ink-pads in a determined critique of Art informel and Abstract Expressionism to suggest a depersonalized and mechanical version of all-over paintings. In his next series, the Gait of Objects, which he initiated in 1958, he took further his rejection of the subjectivity of the personal touch by throwing inked objects against the canvas.

Arman’s willingness to embrace chance was indicated by his decision in ...

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

Darryl Patrick

(b New York, Nov 9, 1861; d Palm Beach, FL, March 24, 1944).

American collector and businessman . Having founded a major banking house in New York, Bache continued the interest in collecting that had begun when he was young. While living in Paris before World War I he had bought fine antique furniture for his home. After the war he specialized in collecting paintings of Renaissance and Baroque Italian, Flemish, French, Dutch, German and English artists. He often used the services of art dealers René Gimpel (1881–1945) and Joseph Duveen, through whom he purchased such paintings as Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s Billet-doux, Vermeer’s Young Woman Reading and Rembrandt’s Standard-bearer (all New York, Met.). Bache bought Billet-doux for £250,000 in 1919 from Gimpel and, with the help of Duveen, bought the Standard-bearer in 1924 for £60,000. In 1937 he established a foundation to manage the collection for public viewing in his home at 814 Fifth Avenue in New York. In January 1944 he made a will bequeathing the collection to the ...

Article

M. Sue Kendall

(b Philadelphia, PA, Jan 2, 1872; d Chester County, PA, July 24, 1951).

American chemist and collector. Barnes made his fortune after discovering the drug Argyrol in 1902. By 1907 he had become a millionaire. He and his wife moved to the suburb of Merion on Philadelphia’s affluent Main Line and with his new income began to collect paintings of the Barbizon school. In 1910 he renewed contact with a former school friend, William J. Glackens, who introduced him to the works of Maurice Prendergast, Alfred H. Maurer and Charles Demuth, and who encouraged Barnes to collect Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings instead of Barbizon works. In 1912 Barnes gave Glackens £20,000 to go to Paris and buy whatever art he saw fit. Glackens, with the help of Maurer, acquired for Barnes works by Renoir, Degas, van Gogh, Cézanne, Monet, Gauguin, Pissarro, Sisley and Seurat. In Paris, Glackens introduced Barnes to Gertrude and Leo Stein, through whom he became familiar with the work of Picasso and Matisse....

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

Malcolm Gee

(b Berlin, Jan 6, 1914; d Paris, Feb 23, 2007).

German American art dealer and collector, active in France. Berggruen came from a middle-class Jewish family. He immigrated to the USA in 1937, and was granted American citizenship in 1941. He served in the army between 1942 and 1945. After a period working as a journalist in Munich and in the museum section of UNESCO, he set up as an art dealer in Paris in 1948, based from 1950 onwards in a modest gallery on the Rue de l’Université. The Berggruen Gallery specialized in modern graphic art, including Pablo Picasso, and was the principal source in Paris of the work of Paul Klee. Berggruen retired in 1980 and focused on his personal collection of classic modern art. In 1996 Berggruen was invited to put his collection on public display in Berlin in what was originally barracks for the Gardes du Corps, designed by Friedrich August Stüler, where it was known as the Berggruen Collection. In ...

Article

Bliss  

Anne McClanan

American collectors. Robert Woods Bliss (b St Louis, MO, 5 Aug 1875; d Washington, DC, 19 April 1962) and his wife, Mildred Bliss (née Barnes) (b New York City, Sept 1879; d Washington, 17 Jan 1969), developed their interest in art while living abroad, where Robert Bliss served as a diplomat until his retirement in 1933. They were particularly concerned with the then neglected areas of Pre-Columbian and Byzantine art. Their Byzantine collection included coins, icons, ivories, mosaics, jewellery, and textiles; their Pre-Columbian collection was similarly wide-ranging. In 1920 Robert and Mildred Bliss purchased Dumbarton Oaks, a large house in the Georgetown area of Washington, DC. Although they lived there intermittently for only seven years, they extensively renovated the house and over 53-acre garden. Lawrence Grant White (1887–1956), who had worked at McKim, Mead & White (where his father, Stanford White, was a founding partner), was the architect responsible for adding the music room in ...

Article

(b Boston, MA, April 11, 1864; d New York, March 12, 1931).

American collector, museum founder and patron. Bliss was born into an affluent family and discovered modern art through her friendship with the painter Arthur B(owen) Davies. In 1907 she purchased her first painting by Davies and eventually had the largest private collection of his work. Bliss toured galleries with Davies and at the Armory Show (1913) purchased, on his advice, two paintings by Redon, two by Renoir, and an oil and a pastel by Degas. She later turned to more avant-garde modernism, acquiring 27 works by Cézanne, and became a great supporter of modern art during the next 15 years, although she was asked by her family not to display her collection in public.

Bliss was one of the co-founders of the Museum of Modern Art , in 1929, and was vice-president at the time of her death. She bequeathed paintings to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the ...

Article

Gretchen G. Fox

(b Frankfurt am Main, April 7, 1858; d New York, June 26, 1941).

American financier, collector, museum official and philanthropist of German birth. He entered banking in Germany and immigrated to New York as a young man, becoming a partner in 1893 in Lazard Frères. He retired in 1925 to devote his time to art collecting and philanthropy, favouring causes connected with the arts, medicine and Jewish social services. His wife Florence, née Meyer (1872–1930), whose family were noted philanthropists, was his partner in these activities. After World War I they formed a foundation for the support of French artists, a model for 20th-century arts funding. A longtime finance officer of the Metropolitan Museum in New York, Blumenthal became its seventh president in 1934, guiding it through the Depression. He and his wife maintained collections in their château near Grasse and in a sizeable home in Paris. Their showplace mansion at 50 E 70th Street (destr. 1943) housed their New York collections. Its central feature was a 16th-century Spanish castle courtyard (now New York, Met., ...

Article

Bonhams  

Molly K. Dorkin

[Jones and Bonham; Bonhams & Brooks; Bonhams & Butterfields; Bonhams & Goodman]

Auction house established in London 1793 by William Charles Bonham, a book dealer (also recorded as Walter Bonham), and George Jones, from a gallery founded by Thomas Dodd (1771–1850), a dealer in antiquarian prints. Bonhams originally specialized in sales of prints in the 18th and 19th centuries, at which time the market was robust. By the 19th century Bonhams was also holding sales of antiques, which were advertised in the London press alongside similar offerings from Christie’s and Phillips. In the 1820s Dodd and fellow print dealer Martin Colnaghi catalogued the print collection belonging to Horace Walpole prior to its sale. Dodd and Colnaghi also catalogued the 50,000 works in the collection of Francis Douce for their donation to the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. By the 1850s Jones’s son Henry and Bonham’s son George had taken over the business, which became known as Jones and Bonham. Paintings had been offered in their sales alongside print collections since the 1840s....

Article

Simon Pepper

(b Dunfermline, Scotland, Nov 25, 1835; d Lenox, MA, Aug 11, 1919).

American industrialist and patron of Scottish birth. Aged 11, Andrew Carnegie immigrated with his parents to Allegheny, near Pittsburgh, PA, where he educated himself while working as an office messenger and telegraph operator, before rising to enormous wealth through railroads, oil, and the iron and steel industries. During his lifetime he gave more than $350 million to a variety of social, educational, and cultural causes, the best known being his support for public libraries, which he believed would provide opportunities for self-improvement without ‘any taint of charity’. Here communities had to pay for the building site and the books, and to commit at least 10 per cent of Carnegie’s initial gift in annual support. As Carnegie struggled to give away money—for ‘to die rich was to die disgraced’—music, fine art, archaeology, and technical schools also became beneficiaries, together with programmes for the education of minorities in recognition of civilian heroism and world peace (still a central concern of the Carnegie Foundation)....

Article

Titia Hulst

(b Trieste, Austro-Hungarian Empire [now Italy], Sept 4, 1907; d New York City, Aug 21, 1999).

American art dealer. Leo Castelli opened his eponymous gallery in 1957 and he gave Jasper Johns his first solo show in 1958, which established both the artist’s and the dealer’s reputations as Castelli sought to identify the successor generation to the Abstract Expressionism; the gallery’s stable included Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, Lee Bontecou, and Pop artists Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, and Andy Warhol. After the Green Gallery closed in 1965, the Minimalist artists Robert Morris, Larry Poons, Donald Judd, and Dan Flavin joined as well, establishing Leo Castelli as the pre-eminent dealer in American avant-garde art.

Leo Castelli obtained a law degree from the University of Milan in 1924 and started his career in banking and insurance. He married Ileana Shapiro, the daughter of a wealthy Romanian industrialist in 1933 (they divorced in 1959), and moved to Paris in 1934. He partnered in 1939 with interior designer René Drouin to open the Galerie d’Art Décoratif. A childhood friend from Trieste, the artist ...

Article

Martha Hamilton-Phillips

(b Oelwein, IA, May 27, 1909; d Norfolk, VA, Sept 17, 1988).

American industrialist and collector. Chrysler began collecting at the age of 14 with the purchase of a small landscape by Renoir. In 1919 he travelled to Europe, where he met Picasso, Braque, Gris, Matisse, Léger and other avant-garde artists in Paris, whose work he began to acquire. In 1935 he became Director of the Chrysler Corporation and participated in the development of the Museum of Modern Art, serving as the first Chairman of the Library Committee and donating significant material on Dadaism and Surrealism. Among the paintings acquired from him by the Museum were Matisse’s Dance (1909) and Picasso’s Charnel House (1944–5/8). During the 1930s he assembled one of the largest private collections of modern painting and sculpture in the USA. He also owned an eclectic mixture of antiquities, 17th- and 18th-century French and Italian paintings and drawings, 19th- and 20th-century European and American decorative arts (including a comprehensive collection of glass, especially Art Nouveau), stamp collections, rare books and musical instruments. In ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b New York, 1873; d Fulmer, Bucks, June 16, 1950).

Naturalized British radio industry innovator and executive, collector and patron of American birth. He was educated at the College of the City of New York and the Cooper Union School of Art and Science, New York. In 1889 he joined an organization set up by Thomas Edison to develop the phonograph, and in 1895 at the Edison Laboratory at Orange, New Jersey, he produced the first moving-picture films with continuity or plot. In 1896 he worked in Washington, DC, at the laboratory of Emile Berliner, inventor of the gramophone, then joined the Gramophone Company of London and in 1899 founded the French Gramophone Company in Paris. In 1907 he went on to establish the Musée de la Voix in the archives of the National Opera in Paris. From 1909 to 1931 he was Managing Director of the Gramophone Company and became a British subject by naturalization in 1928. From 1896...

Article

David S. Brooke

(b New York, June 25, 1877; d Williamstown, MA, Dec 29, 1956).

American collector. Clark was educated at Sheffield Scientific School, Yale University, and served in the US Army from 1899 to 1905. He led an expedition to northern China in 1908–9 and published an account of it, Through Shen Kan, with Arthur Sowerby in 1912. He settled in Paris in 1912 and married Francine Clary in 1919. After 1920 the couple lived mainly in New York, with residences in Cooperstown, NY (until 1933), Upperville, VA, and Paris. Using Clark’s inherited fortune, they founded and endowed the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (opened 1955) in Williamstown, MA, to house Clark’s collection.

Clark purchased art between 1912 and 1954, principally from the firms of Colnaghi, Knoedler and Durand-Ruel. He began primarily with the Old Masters, acquiring paintings by Piero della Francesca, Hans Memling, Jan Gossart and Claude Lorrain, but after 1920 he concentrated on 19th-century French painting. He had several favourites: ...