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Linda Whiteley

(b Strasbourg, July 16, 1845; d Paris, Oct 28, 1925).

French banker and collector. In 1879 he married and set up residence in the Avenue de Villiers, near the Parc Monceau, Paris. Degas painted him as part of a group portrait in Portraits at the Stock Exchange (1878–9; Paris, Mus. d’Orsay), which was shown at the Impressionist exhibition in 1879. Degas wrote somewhat satirically about him to Félix Bracquemond, relating that May had thrown himself into artistic activity, was organizing a charity auction in aid of an artist (Louis Hippolyte Mouchot, 1846–93) and had arranged a gallery in his house to display his collection. Presumably a friend of the wealthy painter Gustave Caillebotte, May had plans for a joint sponsorship with him of an art review to be called Jour et nuit and to be devoted to prints, but their backing never materialized due to Caillebotte’s differences with Degas. May apparently admired Degas, commissioning from him a painting of his wife and newborn son (...


Dianne Sachko Macleod

(b Glasgow, April 22, 1848; d London, Dec 12, 1907).

Scottish mining speculator and collector. His uncle appointed him manager of a large sheep station near Broken Hill, NSW, shortly before the rich mining potential of that region was discovered in 1883. McCulloch became privy to this information and immediately organized the Broken Hill Mining Co. syndicate, investing in Australian gold and silver mines.

In 1893 McCulloch returned to London a rich man. He spent £200,000 on his collection of modern art, constructing a mansion in Queen’s Gate, which he filled with large-scale canvases by Frederic Leighton (Garden of the Hesperides, c. 1892; Port Sunlight, Lady Lever A.G.), Edward Burne-Jones, G. F. Watts, Jean-Léon Gérôme and Jules Bastien-Lepage. The most remarkable feature of McCulloch’s opulent house was its picture gallery, which incorporated the latest advances in lighting, temperature control and fireproofing. A separate sculpture hall included a marble version of Rodin’s The Kiss (untraced), which was sold with the rest of his collection at Christie’s on 23 and ...


Nancy E. Green

(b Doylestown, PA, June 24, 1856; d Doylestown, March 9, 1930).

American archaeologist, ethnologist and decorative tile designer and manufacturer. Mercer grew up in a privileged Philadelphia family, and at a young age he began his lifelong love of travel, which would take him eventually throughout Europe, the Middle East and Mexico. These travels would later influence his tile designs for the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works. From 1875 to 1879 he attended Harvard University, studying with George Herbert Palmer, Henry Cabot Lodge and Charles Eliot Norton, the latter having a defining influence on the development of his aesthetic sense. From 1880 to 1881 he read law, first with his uncle Peter McCall and then with the firm of Fraley and Hollingsworth, both in Philadelphia, though he never received his law degree. Thereafter, he returned to Europe, becoming interested in archaeology and beginning his lifelong passion for collecting the minutiae and mundane objects of everyday life, becoming one of the first scholars to examine history through a material culture lens....


Saskia de Bodt

(b Groningen, Feb 23, 1831; d The Hague, July 10, 1915).

Dutch painter and collector. As a child and while he worked as a clerk in his father’s bank, he took lessons in drawing and painting, first with C. B. Buijs (1808–72) and later with J. H. Egenberger (1822–97), Director of the Academie Minerva in Groningen. It was not until 1866 that Mesdag made painting his profession. That summer he and his wife, Sientje van Houten (1834–1909), worked en plein air near Oosterbeek with the landscape painter J. W. Bilders (1811–90). From the autumn of 1866 to 1869 they lived in Brussels, where Mesdag trained with Willem Roelofs, the first Dutch artist to pay regular visits to Barbizon, and where he came into contact with young Belgian Realist painters, such as Alfred Verwée, Louis Artan and Louis Dubois. In this period Mesdag learnt to render his impressions from nature accurately and directly.

In the summer of ...


Peter W. Guenther

(b Brieg, Germany [now Brzeg, Poland], July 21, 1875; d Berlin, Aug 19, 1947).

German painter and collector. After studying natural science, briefly, he took private drawing and painting lessons from Lovis Corinth and others (1897) in Berlin. From 1898 to 1906 he travelled widely, and in 1907 he moved to Paris. Through contact with the German painter Hans Purrmann and the group of artists centred around the Café du Dôme, he participated in the formation of the Académie Matisse. From then on his rather solid impressionistic style, for example Côte d’Azur (Trier, Städt. Mus.), remained the basis of his work, with only brief experiments with Cubism. After his return to Berlin, he acquired a fine collection of modern French art. By 1914 he had the largest collection of works by Matisse in Germany; it was eventually sold in Berlin.

In 1918 Moll was appointed professor at the academy in Breslau (now Wrocław), where in 1925 he became director. His appointments of the former Bauhaus masters Oskar Schlemmer and Georg Muche, as well as Johannes Molzahn (...


(b Paris, March 7, 1855; d Menton, Dec 11, 1921).

French writer, poet and collector. He was taught first by a private tutor, then at the Lycée Bonaparte (now Condorcet) in Paris, and finally by the Jesuits at Vaugirard in Paris, a tutelage he detested. At the age of about 20 he came into contact with the literary avant-garde in Paris, meeting such figures as Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Bourget and José-Maria de Heredia, and first saw a painting by Gustave Moreau, an artist he came to admire greatly. Montesquiou’s exotic tastes and lifestyle formed the model for Des Esseintes, the main protagonist in Joris-Karl Huysmans’s novel A rebours (Paris, 1884), and this further enhanced his fame. He was also the model for a less flattering character—the Baron de Charlus—in Marcel Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu (Paris, 1913–27). Montesquiou’s visual aesthetic was paradigmatic of the Symbolist movement and was best displayed in his interior design schemes for his appartements in the Quai d’Orsay and the Rue Franklin: in both he mixed the most incongruous objects and colours. The former, for example, had midnight-blue walls, violet carpets, glass cases containing ties and socks, along with designs by ...


(b Paris, Dec 2, 1859; d Paris, April 25, 1927).

French historian, collector and painter. His grandfather Adolphe Moreau (1800–59), a stockbroker, was a collector of modern paintings and a friend and patron of Eugène Delacroix, Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps and other Romantic artists; his father Adolphe Moreau (1827–82), a Conseiller d’Etat and administrator of the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer de l’Est, married in 1856 the ceramicist Camille Nélaton (1840–97). After studying at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris (1878–81), Moreau-Nélaton decided in 1882 to become an artist and studied informally with Henri-Joseph Harpignies and Albert Maignan, who were friends of the family. He subsequently pursued a career as a painter, exhibiting at the Salon from 1885. He painted in a variety of styles, and was accomplished, if not strikingly original; his best works, influenced by Manet and Berthe Morisot, are intimate scenes of family life from the period 1901–7, such as Reading (...


Pamela H. Simpson

(b Hartford, CT, April 17, 1837; d Rome, March 31, 1913).

American financier and collector. Born to a wealthy family, Morgan grew up in Hartford and Boston, but moved to London in 1854 when his father, Junius, joined an Anglo-American merchant bank there. Educated in Switzerland and Germany, the younger Morgan, known as Pierpont, also learnt the family business first hand, serving an apprenticeship in New York. Over a period of three decades from the late 19th century to the early 20th, the Morgans provided the capital that a booming American economy needed, and created such a trusted name in banking that they could not only guarantee the stability of corporate investments, they even rescued the US government twice, once in 1895 and again in 1907. They organized giant industrial corporations, including the American railroads, financed US Steel, General Electric, International Harvester, and AT&T, among others. At a time when there was no central bank, Morgan provided control and stability. J. Pierpont Morgan was also an avid collector who supported the Metropolitan Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Metropolitan Opera, all in New York, and the American Academy in Rome, as well as the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT. He built a private library to house his collections of rare books, manuscripts, and drawings, but by ...


(b Bergen, July 27, 1864; d Beijing, May 13, 1935).

Norwegian officer and collector. After training at the cavalry’s non-commissioned officers’ school in Kristiania (now Oslo) from 1884 to 1886, he travelled to China in 1886 and was appointed to the Chinese customs and excise service in 1887. Munthe remained in China and took part in various military actions. He was also adjutant to Yuan Shikai, then viceroy of Zhili, Hebei Province (1900–08), and then customs director in Tianjin (1909–11). After the Revolution (1911), Munthe was again adjutant and adviser to Yuan Shikai, first President of the Republic of China (1912–16). Munthe was the head of the protective guard of the legation district in Beijing, adviser to the Ministry of War and a Chinese lieutenant general. During the 1920s he was director of the Sino-Scandinavian Bank. The honours he received included the Russian St George’s Cross, the British China Expedition Medal and the Norwegian Cross of the Commander of the Norwegian Order of St Olav. From ...


(b Sept 30, 1849; d London, Jan 25, 1919).

English painter, draughtsman and collector. He came from a poor family and worked for most of his youth in an engineer’s office in London. When he was in his teens he attracted the attention of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Philip Webb and William Morris and became an assistant in the studios of Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones and G. F. Watts. He transferred Burne-Jones’s cartoons on to glass for Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. (from 1875 Morris & Co.) and executed designs for Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market and Other Poems (1862) and Morris’s The Earthly Paradise (1868–70). He went to Italy to copy Old Master paintings for Ruskin, who described him as ‘a heaven-born copyist’ (examples, after Carpaccio and Botticelli, Sheffield, Ruskin Gal. Col. Guild of St George). In 1867 he began exhibiting at the Royal Academy, London, and after 1877 at the Grosvenor Gallery, London. His paintings (e.g. ...



Belinda Thomson

(b Warsaw, March 28, 1868; d Paris, 1951).

French critic and collector. The second son of a wealthy Polish Jewish banking family (his father emigrated to Paris in the early 1870s), he was educated and spent most of his life in France. With his brothers Alexandre and Alfred he ran the Revue blanche (1891–1903), the most wide-ranging and intellectually adventurous journal of its day. Natanson was largely responsible for the art reviews and for the Revue blanche’s active and lively support of such artists as the Nabis and Toulouse-Lautrec.

The Revue blanche began as a school magazine, the brainchild of a group of pupils at the Lycée Condorcet in Paris, and its first issues were published in Liège in 1889–90. In 1891 the journal moved to Paris, where its financial management was taken over by the Natanson brothers, and Thadée became editor-in-chief. Although his early ambitions were literary (extracts from his novel Pour l’ombre appeared in the first Paris editions), Natanson was the journal’s regular art correspondent between ...




M. N. Sokolov


(b Moscow, Aug 1, 1858; d Moscow, July 8, 1929).

Russian painter, collector and museum curator. He was largely self-taught as a painter, although in the 1880s he benefited from the advice of Vasily Polenov, Il’ya Repin and other painters. From 1886 he was a follower of the Wanderers and from 1891 a member. He worked primarily as a landscape painter, following the lyrical ‘landscape of mood’, the leading exponent of which was Isaak Levitan. Although he never attained the profundity of historical–philosophical generalization found in Levitan’s work, his images delight with their lyrically fresh perception of the countryside of central Russia. His best-known painting is Siverko (1890; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.), which depicts a majestic river view dominated by the effects of the cold northern wind, the Siverko. Ostroukhov’s work was only marginally influenced by Impressionism; in it Ostroukhov forged a link between the Realist landscapes of the 19th century and those of the Art Nouveau period (e.g. Golden Autumn...


Lillian B. Miller

[Mrs Potter Palmer]

(b Louisville, KY, May 22, 1849; d Osprey, FL, May 5, 1918).

American collector and exhibition organizer. She was born into a prominent Chicago family and married Potter Palmer, a successful property developer and merchant. In 1882 they commissioned a vast Gothic Revival mansion with an ornate and eclectic interior on the shore of Lake Michigan. In 1890 she was elected president of the Board of Lady Managers of the World’s Columbian Exposition (the Chicago World’s Fair, held in 1893). This appointment established her in the leading ranks of the national and international art world and marked the beginning of her activities as a collector. She had already participated in discussions on art at meetings of the Chicago Women’s Club and in 1889 had purchased from Paul Durand-Ruel in New York Degas’s On the Stage (1876–7; Chicago, IL, A. Inst.). However, it was during her travels through Europe between 1890 and 1893, enlisting support for the Fair, that she purchased the major part of her extensive collection. In France she began to buy paintings directly from the artists, particularly the French Impressionists—Claude ...



(b Claines, nr Worcester, May 25, 1864; d Malvern, Jan 29, 1958).

English collector. He was educated at Charterhouse School and Queen’s College, Oxford. He served with the Highland Light Infantry from 1888 to 1892, when he entered the family business. His family had made their fortune with Lea & Perrins ‘Worcestershire sauce’. Perrins began collecting illuminated manuscripts and early printed books and by the 1920s had formed one of the most valuable private collections in England. He also collected 18th-century and early 19th-century drawings and caricatures. His library was the inspiration for a number of learned volumes, such as The Gorleston Psalter (London, 1907) by Sir Sydney Cockerell. In 1946 and 1947 Perrins sold much of his collection, using the money raised to manage the Royal Worcester Porcelain Factory, which had declined since the slump of the 1920s. He kept back his most valuable manuscripts, however, and made bequests to several museums, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the ...



Molly K. Dorkin

[Messrs Phillips & Son; Phillips, Son & Neale; Phillips de Pury & Company]

Auction house founded in London in 1796 by Harry Phillips (d 1840), formerly senior clerk to James Christie (1730–1803). Phillips’ inaugural sale of household furniture was held on 23 April 1796. The auctioneer soon distinguished himself by combining the skills he had learnt from observing Christie’s methods with a talent for ceremony and showmanship. Many of his innovations, such as holding lavish evening receptions for his clients and translating the business of sales into theatre, are widely employed by auction houses today. In his first year of business Phillips oversaw 12 auctions. He was soon charged with selling some of the most distinguished collections of the era, including those of Marie Antoinette, Stanisław II Poniatowski of Poland, and Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1823 Phillips was commissioned to auction the collection at Fonthill Abbey, a sale originally offered to Christie’s. Instead, it was Phillips who conducted an epic 30-day sale of the contents of the house. Some 7200 people attended the pre-sale viewing. Phillips also presided over the only auction ever to be held in Buckingham Palace, in ...