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Joseph R. Givens

(b Abadan, May 15, 1943).

Iranian photographer, curator, and art dealer, active in the USA. Shafrazi introduced graffiti to the mainstream art market and contributed to the contemporary art boom of the 1980s. Raised in Abadan, a small port town that experienced an oil boom in the post-war years, Shafrazi was fascinated by Western popular culture and art. He moved to England in 1956 and three years later began formal art study at Hammersmith College of Art and Building, before continuing at the Royal College of Art, where he graduated in 1967. Following college, Shafrazi pursued a career as an artist while also teaching, first at the Manchester College of Art then at the School of Visual Arts in New York in 1969.

A newfound interest in political activism shifted his creative focus from art objects to art actions. His involvement with the latter culminated in an infamous incident that took place on 28 February 1974...

Article

A. Deirdre Robson

(b Portland, OR, Feb 5, 1907; d Los Angeles, CA, June 2, 1993).

American entrepreneur and collector. A shrewd financier, Simon built a fortune through corporate takeovers before forming in 1968 the $1 billion Norton Simon Inc. In 1953 his personal wealth was estimated at $35 million, and in 1954 he made his first purchases of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art, ostensibly to decorate a new house. His first major purchase was Pissarro’s Pontoise, bord de l’eau (1872), and subsequently he built up a substantial collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist pictures, for instance Renoir’s Pont des Arts (1867–8). The star of Simon’s collection of 19th-century art, however, was Edgar Degas. The first bronze purchased was Dancer in the Role of Harlequin (c. 1884–5) in 1955. In 1976 Simon acquired a unique set of Degas bronzes, 74 modèles from which authorized casts were made, for $2 million. By 1993 his collection of over 100 of Degas’s paintings, pastels, and bronzes was judged second in scope and size only to that of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. From the late 1950s onward, Norton also acquired Old Masters, such as Rembrandt’s ...

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Article

James Miller

revised by Molly Dorkin

Auction house founded in London by Samuel Baker (1713–78), a bookseller. His first recorded auction sale was of the library of Sir John Stanley on 11 March 1744 in the Great Room, over Exeter Exchange, in the Strand, London. While primarily selling books, from the start he included the fine arts. The business prospered, and Baker moved the firm to York Street, Covent Garden. His first sale there, in 1754, was of the library of the physician Dr Richard Mead, which was sold in two parts lasting 57 days and realized £5,508 10s. 11d. In 1767 Baker took George Leigh (1742–1816) into the firm, which then became Baker & Leigh. On Baker’s death in 1778, his nephew John Sotheby (1740–1807) inherited the business. The firm, renamed Leigh & Sotheby, continued to expand into other areas with the first of the seven sales of duplicate coins and books from the ...

Article

Mark W. Rectanus

Provision of direct funding or in-kind goods and services to support artists (e.g. residencies), cultural institutions (e.g. museums), or events (e.g. arts festivals), often in exchange for promotion. Sponsorships have become an institutionalized dimension of the contemporary art world and a significant force in the globalization of culture. The growth and visibility of corporate sponsorships since the 1980s has resulted, in part, from neoliberal economic policies in the USA, the UK, and the European Union that supported and accelerated the privatization of funding for the arts and culture (Rectanus, 2002; Wu, 2002). Although the histories of patronage and philanthropy are considered distinct from sponsorship, in contemporary practice, they increasingly intersect with corporate sponsorship.

While many countries have used forms of sponsorship as ideological instruments of power and propaganda (e.g. under National Socialism in Germany), post-World War II government agencies in the West, such as the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in the USA or the Arts Council of Great Britain (ACGB), recognized that funding for art and culture were effective instruments of what Joseph Nye later termed soft power (...

Article

Clarissa Ricci

[La Biennale di Venezia]

Italian biennial exhibition of art and culture. It is the world’s oldest biennial and first took place in Venice’s Napoleonic gardens, the Giardini, in 1895. Initially an exhibition of fine art, the Biennale gradually turned into an exceptionally vibrant and multidisciplinary event as it embraced other artistic disciplines, such as music, cinema, theater, architecture, and dance. From the early 1900s, its rapidly growing international standing was reflected in significant foreign participation and led to the building of self-directed national pavilions.

The idea for the Venice Biennale was born out of the success of the Esposizione Nazionale Artistica held in Venice in 1887 and the first Biennale was the result of a series of initiatives related to the celebration of the silver wedding anniversary of King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Savoy (April 13, 1893). With a slight delay, the first Biennale was opened on April 30, 1895...

Article

Malcolm Gee

(b St-Denis, Réunion, c. 1867; d Paris, Feb 19, 1939)

French art dealer and publisher. He was the most notable contemporary art dealer of his generation in France, as well as an innovative publisher of prints and illustrated books. Brought up in Réunion, he arrived in Paris c. 1890 as a law student and soon started buying and selling prints and drawings for his own pleasure. After a period working at L’Union Artistique for Alphonse Dumas, an established dealer, he set up on his own and in 1894 opened a small gallery near the Opéra on the Rue Laffitte, then the centre of the Paris art trade.

Vollard made his first major impact as a dealer in 1895 when he organized Cézanne’s first one-man exhibition. Over the next ten years he built up, at relatively low cost, a large stock of paintings by Cézanne, which eventually provided him with enormous profits. Concurrently he acquired work by van Gogh, Gauguin, Bonnard, ...

Article

Tom Williams

Exhibition of contemporary art held periodically at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. It was first held in 1932, shortly after the museum first open its doors to the public and has consistently showcased a broad range of trends in contemporary art. Its organization and frequency has varied wildly over the years. In its early years, the exhibition typically alternated between painting and other media, and it occurred either on an annual or biennial basis. In 1973, however, it assumed its current form as a single exhibition of painting, sculpture, and other media occurring every two years. The exhibition has often been controversial and widely criticized, but it continues to be regarded as a crucial barometer of current trends in contemporary art.

It was originally conceived as a continuation of an earlier series of annual exhibitions that were organized for members of the Whitney Studio Club. This organization was founded in ...

Article

Edward Bryant

American family.

Edward Bryant

(b New York, NY, Jan 9, 1875; d New York, April 18, 1942).

Sculptor, patron, collector, and museum founder . She studied sculpture under the Norwegian Hendrik Christian Andersen (1872–1940), under James Earle Fraser at the Art Students League, New York, and before 1914 under Andrew O’Connor (1874–1941) in Paris, where she also received private critiques from Auguste Rodin. Her experiences in a hospital that she established at the beginning of World War I, in Juilly, France, inspired sketches of soldiers, their wives, and nurses. She developed these into sculptures for her war memorials in New York, which were conspicuous for their dramatic realism. They included two reliefs on the Victory Arch (1918–19; destr.), Madison Square; the war memorial on Washington Heights (1921), for which she was awarded a medal by the New York Society of Architects; Soldiers and Sailors...

Article

A. Deirdre Robson

French family of art dealers and writers . In 1875 the Wildensteins’ first gallery opened in Paris, and in 1905 it moved to the 18th-century Hôtel du Wailly, on the rue de la Boëtie, which not only provided a sumptuous setting for the family’s holdings, but was regarded by some as the ‘epicentre of the art trade’. In 1902 a branch opened on Fifth Avenue in New York, and in 1930 a French-style townhouse on East 65th Street was commissioned from Trumbauer & Associates to echo the sumptuousness of the Paris headquarters. It remained the gallery premises until it was sold in 2014. The Wildensteins also opened branches in London in 1925, and in Buenos Aires soon afterwards. During the Nazi occupation of Paris, the flagship gallery was sequestered and the Wildenstein family moved to the United States. The Paris branch was closed definitely in the early 1960s—reputedly after a controversy involving export licenses—and replaced by the scholarly Wildenstein Institut, making New York the gallery’s headquarters. Recognizing the shifts in the art market, Wildenstein opened a Tokyo gallery in ...