(b Minneapolis, MN, Dec 15, 1892; d Sutton Place, nr Guildford, Surrey, June 6, 1976).
American businessman, collector, and patron. Son of a self-made insurance executive turned frontier oil barren, George Getty (1855–1930), J. Paul Getty grew his family’s oil investments into the largest private fortune in the world. J. Getty was born in Minneapolis, MN, but the family relocated to Bartlesville, OK, in 1904 after George Getty was seduced by prospects of oil prosperity. After amassing a sizeable fortune in Oklahoma, the Gettys relocated to Los Angeles, CA, in 1906. J.
Paul Getty’s capricious approach to academic pursuits led him to Harvard Military Academy, University of Southern California, University of California at Berkeley, and finally Oxford University. Getty joined the family business in 1916, but his proclivity for speculative investment caused his risk-averse father to place strict limits on his commercial dealings. The penchant for bargain hunting that guided his early success in business would come to define his approach to art collecting....
Although the art market has been a major force in the development of contemporary art, it has also introduced some unique challenges (see Art market in the 21st century). Contemporary art―ranging from works executed in the 1960s to those created by current living artists―is increasingly defined by varied and unconventional media. It often challenges traditions rather than unifying aesthetics or philosophies. Fame and artist name recognition have come to play increasingly larger roles in measuring success, complicating efforts to assess quality among the plurality of styles and media. Art historians have historically found it difficult to talk about contemporary art and the market; trying to put a monetary value on art seems to cheapen its aura, while the definition of contemporary art is itself a contested territory. A robust critical literature is still developing, in tandem with resources to provide market data to researchers and market professionals. With only auction results and scarce hard information on the primary market, one’s insights, knowledge, and access to undisclosed information remain paramount to evaluating the success of financial participants, analysts, and commentators. Finally, the market for contemporary art operates in connection with the global economy and is subject to economic fluctuations as well as shifts in taste and investment security which influence the behavior of institutions and private collectors alike....
[emerging art markets]
Since the 1980s art markets have developed rapidly outside of Europe and the USA. In the so-called BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) this development has been particularly dynamic. With aggregate sales estimated at €11.5 billion, China is the second largest market for art and antiques in the world after the USA (McAndrew 2014). Works of art made by modern and contemporary artists from all four countries regularly fetch more than $1 million at auction.
The rise of the BRICs has coincided with the global integration of what used to be local art markets: demand for and supply of particular artists or artistic movements may now be dispersed across the globe. The boom which global art markets have witnessed in the new millennium can be attributed partially to new buyers from countries like China and Russia developing an interest in art, both old and new. In describing the emergence of the BRICs, the focus in this article will be on modern and contemporary art, since that is where market development has been most significant, both qualitatively and quantitatively....
A. Deirdre Robson
American family of collectors. In the late 19th century Meyer Guggenheim (1828–1905), an immigrant Swiss Jew, established a family fortune based on the mining and smelting of ore (particularly copper). Two of Meyer’s sons became patrons of the arts: (1) Solomon R. Guggenheim and Simon Guggenheim (1867–1941). The latter, a senator from 1907 to 1913, founded in 1925 the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation with an endowment of $3,000,000 to help young scholars, scientists, and artists; from 1939 his wife, Olga Guggenheim, gave the Museum of Modern Art, New York, a renewable purchase fund of $50,000 (gradually increased to $150,000 by the 1960s) for the purchase of major works of art, such as Henri Rousseau’s Sleeping Gypsy (1897). A third son, Benjamin Guggenheim (1865–1912), was the father of (2) Peggy Guggenheim.P. Cabanne: The Great Collectors (New York, 1963) A. Saarinen: The Proud Possessors...
Thomas P. McNulty
(b Cleveland, OH, Aug 13, 1938).
American patron and collector. Born the second of six children to wealthy parents in Cleveland, Gund was exposed to the arts—and to art collecting in particular—by her father, George Gund (1888–1966), a banking and investment professional. Gund received a BA in art history from Connecticut College, New London, in 1960, and an MA, also in art history, from Harvard University in 1980. The mother of four children with her first husband, Albrecht Saalfield, she is perhaps best known for her work in museum administration and governance. She has served on the Board of Trustees of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York, since 1976, as the Board’s President from 1991 to 2002, and subsequently as a Member Emerita. As President of the MOMA board, she built upon the progress made by her predecessor Donald Marron (an executive at Paine Webber). She also served as Chairwoman of the Board of Directors at MOMA PS1—an affiliation that began in ...
(b New York, May 21, 1898; d Los Angeles, Dec 10, 1990).
American art collector and dealer. He was the eldest son of Julius Hammer, a descendant of Russian Jewish immigrants and a member of the Socialist Labor Party. By the age of 23, Armand had become a millionaire by reviving his father’s failing pharmaceutical business and selling it to his own employees; he had also completed medical school. When an epidemic of typhus broke out in the USSR in 1923 he volunteered his services, but once there determined that starvation was the country’s most severe problem. He hit on the idea of trading grain with the USSR in exchange for furs. He stayed in Russia for nine years, establishing successful pencil and asbestos concessions and representing 36 American companies there.
Hammer’s interest in art was stimulated by finding at flea markets in Moscow vast quantities of tapestries, silver and other goods abandoned by the Russian nobility. With his brother Victor Hammer (...
(b Cherbourg, March 2, 1766; d Paris, Jan 7, 1836).
French dealer, collector, museum official and painter. He studied under Charles Landon and Jean-Baptiste Regnault. In 1793 he began to deal in pictures and until 1812 spent part of his time travelling abroad (mainly in Italy) to increase his knowledge of art. In October 1816 he was appointed Commissaire-expert des Musées Royaux, a post he held until his death. Between 1810 and 1830 he assembled an eclectic collection, purchasing either privately or at sales, among them the posthumous sales (1826 and 1827) of Vivant Denon. His tastes in Italian art ranged from the work of Fra Angelico to that of the 17th-century Bolognese masters, and he also bought several works by such 17th-century French artists as Poussin (Life Spent in the Environs of Rome), Philippe de Champaigne (Assumption of the Virgin, 1660), Charles Le Brun and Eustache Le Sueur. He owned paintings by the 18th-century French artists ...
Term applied broadly to whatever of the past is considered to hold cultural significance; closer definition has become contentious in the late 20th century. Architecture, the fine and applied arts, and objects of archaeological interest are frequently the physical objects of heritage (literature, academic learning, music, etc being other aspects), although by no means is every building or work of art regarded as significant. Exactly what is deemed part of heritage and thus worthy of preservation depends on prevailing attitudes to art and the art market, as well as notions of statehood and cultural history, and other issues regarding ownership, such as the public right of access to a particular work. The role of museums and the problems of looting form part of these issues.
Since the mid-20th century the European use of the word ‘heritage’ has taken on greater overtones of ‘nationhood’ than before: heritage is not an issue merely of preserving works, but of keeping them within the borders of the country of origin and acknowledging them as part of the nation’s culture. This concept does not appear to have been so strongly formed in the past in Europe, although the basic sentiment in heritage—that artefacts can have a historic, cultural value—can be traced back over millennia. The acquisition of art as a device of power and empire-building exemplifies the sentiment. Victorious Roman armies took booty as a kind of status symbol: the Emperor Titus, for example, returned from Jerusalem with the treasures of the Second Temple. From the Renaissance onwards, the acquisitiveness of collectors and patrons, particularly for ...
Joseph R. Givens
(b Los Angeles, CA, May 3, 1932; d Los Angeles, CA, March 20, 2005).
American dealer, curator, and museum director. Hopps pioneered international awareness of Pop art and helped to establish Los Angeles as an internationally recognized art centre. He opened museum doors to contemporary art and paved the way for the explosion of the contemporary art market in the 1980s.
As a teenager, Hopps was introduced to modern art through frequent visits to the famous collection of Walter and Louise Arensberg. Hopps went to college to study medicine at the behest of his parents, first at Stanford University then at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), but classes in art history, jazz concert promotion, and the creation of Syndell Studio eclipsed his science curriculum. Hopps’s ambition for a large-scale exhibition of West Coast Abstract Expressionism outgrew Syndell’s salon-style space. In 1953 he arranged Action 1, one of the first exhibitions of action painting outside New York. Hopps’s partnership with artist Edward Kienholz...
The purchase of a work of art in the hope of financial gain. Two fundamental expectations drive the price that a potential buyer is willing to pay for an artwork: the aesthetic or emotional pleasure enjoyed by the owner, and the future change in the financial value of the work. For art investors, financial considerations dominate other motivations for purchase. Two types of art investment can be discerned. First, an individual may buy art in the expectation that art—or some category of art—will deliver favourable financial returns. Second, investors may try to exploit art market ‘inefficiencies’ by buying works at a price below market value with the aim of reselling relatively quickly at a profit. While some historical examples of institutional art investment (e.g. the British Rail Pension Fund, which bought over 2000 artworks to diversify its portfolio) are of the first type, more recent investment structures (e.g. the Fine Art Fund) are closer to the second strategy....
(b Cherryville, PA, July 23, 1863; d New York, Sept 22, 1955).
American businessman and collector. The successful development of a chain of variety stores in the southern and western states provided the wealth necessary to fund his art collecting, and his frequent business and pleasure trips to Europe gave him access to art and art dealers. He started to acquire works of the Italian Renaissance, relying initially on the advice of the Florentine collector and dealer Conte Alessandro Contini-Bonacossi and soon adding medieval and Baroque works through the assistance of Joseph Duveen and Bernard Berenson. In 1929 he established a foundation to assist purchase of European works of art by American museums and funded the cost of restoring several important buildings in Italy, including the Palazzo Ducale in Mantua and the church of S Giovanni Evangelista in Ravenna. In 1939 he donated works of art valued at more than £25 million to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and in ...
(b Paris, Feb 16, 1748; d Paris, Aug 6, 1813).
French dealer, collector, writer, and painter. He was the son of a painter and picture dealer, Pierre Le Brun (c. 1703–1771), and great-nephew of Charles Le Brun. He studied painting with Jean-Baptiste Deshays, François Boucher, and Jean-Honoré Fragonard before becoming a leading connoisseur and art dealer. In 1776 he married the painter Louise-Elisabeth Vigée (see Vigée Le Brun [Vigée-Le Brun; Vigée-Lebrun], Elisabeth-Louise). He was curator of paintings to the King’s younger brother, Charles-Philippe de Bourbon, Comte d’Artois (later Charles X), and to Louis-Philippe-Joseph, Duc d’Orléans (1747–93), and subsequently acted as intermediary for foreign collectors, including Catherine the Great of Russia. His European art networks spanned England, Holland, Flanders, Italy, Spain, and Russia that he exploited to buy and sell art. In addition to his auction catalogues, Le Brun produced a series of erudite books and pamphlets and in some of his articles (1771–81...
Laurence B. Kanter and Patrick Le Chanu
American family of bankers and collectors. Philip Lehman (b New York, 9 Nov 1861; d New York, 21 March 1947) was director of Lehman Brothers, an investment banking firm, and initially began collecting early Italian Renaissance paintings. His purchases were particularly extensive between 1914 and 1920 when he bought Renaissance ceramics, furniture, tapestries, and such paintings as Memling’s Annunciation (1482; New York, Met.). Bernard Berenson numbered among his friends. Philip’s son Robert Lehman (b New York, 29 Sept 1892; d New York, 9 Aug 1969) was already an enthusiastic collector while a student at Yale University, New Haven, CT (graduated 1913). In 1928 he published a catalogue of the paintings collected by his father and became head of Lehman Brothers investment bankers. He retained this post for over 40 years, turning the firm into one of the pillars of the economy and of American culture. Its headquarters were moved in ...
(b Frankfurt am Main, Dec 1789; d Paris, Oct 1, 1880).
French art dealer and auction expert. Mannheim was a Parisian jeweller, dealing in sculptures and bronzes, who became a leading expert at the Hôtel Drouot by the middle of the 19th century, cooperating with leading Parisian auctioneers. Mannheim made a name for himself especially for his sales of decorative objects from Asia, which he frequently offered along with a more conventional selection of paintings and sculptures.
Born in Frankfurt am Main, Mannheim settled in Paris at the age of 26, and in 1821 he opened a shop in the prestigious Palais Royal. In the 1830s he became active in the auction business, first as a buyer, and from 1835 onwards also as an expert. Throughout the 1840s and early 1850s he worked with two influential auctioneers of that time: Bonnefons de Lavialle and Nicolas Ridel. One important auction with Ridel was the Victor Hugo sale of 1852.
The majority of his auctions were of estates, many of them of noble collectors, but also of other dealers’ inventories. To organize some of these auctions, he collaborated with other experts, mainly ...
The market for ‘tribal art’ emerged in the first decades of the 20th century. By way of avant-garde artists and pioneering dealers, African and Oceanic art slowly became accepted as ‘art’—with its inclusion in the Musée du Louvre in Paris in 2000 as a decisive endorsement. Initially, it was referred to as ‘primitive art’—alluding to an early ‘primitive’ stage in human development; later replaced by the equally biased ‘tribal art’. While still used widely among dealers and collectors (for want of a better word and being conveniently short), the term ‘tribe’, or its derivative ‘tribal’, is frowned upon by the scholarly community.
The foundations of the tribal art market were laid at the turn of the 20th century. European powers colonized large overseas territories in both Africa and Oceania and, along with other commodities, there arrived ethnographic artefacts. Europeans had conducted coastal trade with many African regions over centuries, but systematic explorations of the continental hinterland did sometimes not take place until the first decades of the 20th century. These resulted in the discovery of previously unknown cultures whose ritual objects, such as masks, were displayed during world’s fairs and colonial exhibitions. Many of these objects ended up in newly established museums, such as the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, outside Brussels. Vigorous competitors in the collection of ethnographic objects in both Africa and Oceania, these museums became the leading players in the early phases of the tribal art market’s development. Next to these large-scale official collecting activities, colonial, military, or missionary personnel also brought home exotic objects....
The display of prints in printmakers’ workshops or ateliers, starting in the late ...
Elisabeth Roark and Claire Brisby
American family of financiers, collectors, and benefactors.
(b Pittsburgh, PA, March 24, 1855; d Southampton, NY, Aug 27, 1937).
Mellon amassed an almost unprecedented fortune from banking and developing varied businesses, including Alcoa, Gulf Oil, and Koppers, and in the later 1890s he began to purchase art, creating an unmatched collection of Western masterpieces. After serving as Secretary of the Treasury during the Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover administrations, he gave ten million dollars and his art collection to establish the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
Andrew William Mellon was the son of Judge Thomas Mellon and Sarah Jane Negley Mellon. Judge Mellon, born in Ireland in 1813, immigrated to the USA at the age of 5. He typified the Scots-Irish Presbyterians who settled western Pennsylvania. His parents were farmers, but hard work, discipline, and eschewing the frivolous, including music and art, enabled him to complete college, study law, marry into the prominent Negley family, serve as a county judge, and establish a successful bank, T. Mellon & Sons. Andrew, an ...
Susan E. Davidson
revised by Eric M. Wolf
American collectors of French birth. John de Menil (1904–73) and his wife Dominique de Menil [née Schlumberger] (1908–97) were forced, in 1941, to emigrate from France, relocating the headquarters of Dominique de Menil’s family’s business, Schlumberger Ltd, to Houston, TX. They soon began acquiring art, under the guidance of Father Marie-Alain Couturier (1897–1954), a French Dominican who advocated a new sacred art within the Roman Catholic Church. Other influences included the dealer Alexandre Iolas (d 1987), who introduced the couple to Surrealist art and artists, and Dr Jermayne MacAgy (1914–64), a former director of the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, CA. After MacAgy’s death, the de Menils’ formal art education ended, and they relied increasingly on their own judgement. They also played a more active role in the local art community: in the 1960s John de Menil served on the boards of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and on those of the Museum of Primitive Art and of MOMA, both in New York....