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Article

Molly K. Dorkin

[art consultant]

Paid adviser employed by collectors to recommend and facilitate the purchase of works of art. There is a long history of recruitment of art experts by wealthy patrons for advisery purposes. In the 18th century art historians such as Johann Joachim Winckelmann were actively advising leading collectors like Albani family §(2). In the early 20th century the English dealer Joseph Duveen earned a knighthood for his philanthropic efforts on behalf of British galleries. Enlisted by the so-called American Robber Barons for advice in forming collections, Duveen brokered the sale of many notable Old Masters from English aristocrats to American millionaires, including Henry Clay Frick, J. P. Morgan, Henry E. Huntington, and Andrew Mellon. Their collections ultimately formed the nuclei of many great American museums. Duveen’s contemporary Bernard Berenson was an American scholar and expert on Renaissance painting who turned his hand to art advising. Berenson assisted Isabella Stewart Gardner in forming her renowned collection of Renaissance art. His legacy as an academic is controversial thanks to his habit of accepting payment in exchange for favourable ...

Article

(b New York, March 31, 1848; d Hever Castle, Kent, Oct 18, 1919).

British collector of American birth. He was a member of a wealthy family whose fortune came from fur trading; he became interested in art and antiquity during his appointment as American Minister in Rome (1882–5), rapidly acquiring a fine collection of ancient and Renaissance sculpture. He transferred the collection to England when his term as minister ended, dividing it between his country houses at Cliveden, Bucks, and Hever Castle, Kent. His eclectic, Neo-classical displays were in keeping with the nostalgic grandeur of Edwardian England. At Cliveden, eight Roman sarcophagi in the forecourt were matched on the rear terraces by Renaissance fountains and balustrades exported from the Villa Borghese in Rome. Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, was restored and enlarged by Astor far beyond its medieval extent, and a Renaissance atmosphere was achieved by means of the placement of numerous Roman sculptures, including further fine sarcophagi (sold in ...

Article

Molly K. Dorkin

Prior to the 20th century, the attribution of works of art was not governed by rigid regulations, and art dealers and auctioneers assigned attributions based purely on aesthetic grounds. Works were attributed to the artist whose manner they most closely resembled, but they were not further distinguished on the basis of quality; as a result, many paintings purchased as Renaissance masterpieces in the 18th or 19th century have since been downgraded to studio works or even much later pastiches.

Historically, the patrons who commissioned Old Masters placed a premium on subject-matter rather than originality, and popular narratives were requested by multiple patrons, creating conditions in which the demand for copies could flourish (see Copy). Popular compositions were often reproduced many times: by the master himself, an apprentice in his workshop, or even a later follower or imitator. A master trained his apprentices to approximate his manner as closely as possible, and sold the finished work under his own name. In some cases a master would paint the most important part of a work (such as the faces of the central figures) before delegating the rest to apprentices. Through the 19th century, pupils at prestigious institutions were taught by making copies of works by acknowledged masters. Many pieces, particularly drawings (which for much of their history were working tools, rather than art objects), were unsigned. Damaged or incomplete works of art were subjected to extensive restoration or reworking by later artists, a process that can cloud the question of attribution....

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

Noël Annesley

[Christie, Manson & Woods]

Auction house founded in London by James Christie (1730–1803). After a few years spent in the navy, James Christie worked as an assistant to an auctioneer named Mr Annesley in Covent Garden, London. He left Annesley in 1763 to set up on his own and in 1766 established his firm at the print warehouse of Richard Dalton in Pall Mall, where the Royal Academy held its exhibitions in its early years. In 1770 he moved his premises next door to Schomberg House, Pall Mall, where Thomas Gainsborough lived. The first known catalogue is dated 5 December 1766; it includes little of value except for a picture by Aelbert Cuyp. Christie rapidly established himself as one of the foremost auctioneers, however, cultivating a circle of friends and advisers that included Gainsborough, Reynolds, Horace Walpole, David Garrick, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and Edmund Burke, and receiving many auction consignments from royalty and the nobility. During the French Revolution the firm did particularly well through the abundance of works then coming into Britain. Among the more notable early Christie sales were that of the former collection of Pope ...

Article

Stephen T. Clarke, Harley Preston and Lin Barton

English family of silversmiths, industrialists, collectors, and patrons, of French origin. The family originated from the town of St Pierre on the Ile d’Oléron off La Rochelle. They arrived in London a few years after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, and between 1708 and 1780 three generations of Courtauld silversmiths were registered at the Goldsmiths’ Company. Augustine Courtauld (c.1686–c. 1751) was apprenticed to Simon Pantin in 1701 and, after becoming a freeman of the Goldsmiths’ Company in 1708, he started a business as a plateworker in Church Court, off St Martin’s Lane in London. The majority of his work is of high quality, for example a silver tea-table (1742; St Petersburg, Hermitage) and the state salt of the Corporation of the City of London (1730; London, Mansion House). Augustine’s brother Pierre Courtauld (1690–1729) registered a mark in 1721...

Article

Joseph R. Givens

The sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (1930–2002) developed cultural capital theory as way to examine the influence of intangible resources on the phenomena of social reproduction and social mobility. He described a society of competing classes, arranged in a hierarchy of prestige. The classes are composed of individual agents who attempt to climb the socio-economic ladder by maximizing the use of capital resources, which include both material objects of symbolic value and intangible attributes that imply prestige and power. Bourdieu identified four types of capital: economic, social, symbolic, and cultural. Economic capital represents one’s financial resources, social capital consists of one’s social support system, symbolic capital describes one’s prestige, and cultural capital includes the knowledge, values, and skills that support an understanding of cultural relations and cultural artefacts. The forms of capital are inequitably distributed among classes, and one form of capital can be converted to another. Since the value of capital is defined by social relations within a specific field, agents strategize the best way to leverage their capital for maximum gain of the valued capital within that field....

Article

Molly K. Dorkin

The world’s oldest auction house, founded in Vienna in April 1707 by Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor (reg 1705–11). Originally called the Versatz- und Fragamt zu Wien (‘The Pawn and Query Bureau of Vienna’), the firm moved in 1777 to the site of an old monastery, the Dorotheerkloster, from which the name ‘Dorotheum’ is derived. By the end of the 19th century the premises were outdated, so Emperor Francis-Joseph I (reg 1848–1916) commissioned the architect Emil von Förster (1838–1909) to design a suitably grand building. This new structure, called the Palais Dorotheum, was completed and formally opened in 1901 by the Emperor, in whose honour the central hall was named. In the early years of the 20th century the Dorotheum introduced many innovations to their auctioneering process, such as the division of sales into categories by object type. The first unique categories, introduced in 1900, were art and numismatics....

Article

Sally Webster

(b West Overton, PA, Dec 19, 1849; d New York, Dec 2, 1919).

American industrialist, collector, and museum creator. Frick received little formal education and went to work at an early age as a bookkeeper. By the early 1870s he had earnt enough money to buy up coke fields in Western Pennsylvania, processing the coke in his own ovens. In a few short years he was the major supplier of fuel for Pittsburgh’s iron and steel industries and by the time he was 30 had earned his first million. In celebration he travelled to Europe with Andrew Mellon who, in 1937, would donate his collection and money for the establishment of Washington’s National Gallery of Art. In London they visited the Wallace Collection, which would later serve as prototype for Frick’s New York house–museum. After marrying Adelaide Howard Childs (1859–1931) on 15 December 1881, Frick bought and expanded Clayton, a 23-room home, now part of the Frick Art and Historical Center, Pittsburgh....

Article

Molly Dorkin

Place where works of art are displayed. In a commercial gallery, works of art are displayed for the purposes of sale (for information on non-commercial art galleries see Display of art and Museum, §I). Historically, artworks were commissioned by patrons directly from an artist and produced in his workshop. In the Netherlands, the economic boom following the conclusion of the Eighty Years’ War with Spain (1648) led to rising demand for art. Patrons began buying from dealers, some of whom produced illustrated catalogues. Antwerp became the centre of the art world. Galleries for the display and viewing of art appeared in paintings by Teniers family, §2 and Bruegel family, §3, although these were private not commercial spaces, or imaginary constructions.

The Paris Salon, which had been organized by the Académie Royale de Peinture et Sculpture since 1667, was opened to the public for the first time in ...

Article

Lillian B. Miller

revised by Margaret Barlow

(b New York, April 14, 1840; d Boston, MA, July 17, 1924).

American patron, collector, and museum founder. The daughter of a wealthy New York merchant and wife of a prominent Boston banker, John L. Gardner jr (1837–98), she bought her first important painting in 1873—a small landscape by the Barbizon painter Charles Jacque. (All works cited are in Boston, Isabella Stewart Gardner Mus.) In the 1870s she also began to collect rare books, manuscripts, autographs, and etchings, under the influence of Charles Eliot Norton. Although she continued to buy such pieces until her death, after the 1880s books took second place to art. During a trip to Europe in 1886, she visited the London studios of James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent, both of whom painted her portrait, and it was at that time that she decided to give serious thought to collecting art.

Gardner purchased her first Old Master painting in 1888—a Madonna by Francisco de Zurbarán, which became her personal altarpiece. A summer visit to Venice that year kindled her interest in Venetian architecture, and subsequent travels provided her with the opportunity to study important paintings in London and Paris, while strengthening her enthusiasm for collecting. She became friendly with Bernard Berenson, whom she had met when he was a young Harvard student in ...

Article

Darryl Patrick

(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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Two circulation models that constitute the art market: a primary market that structures the initial launch of an artist’s work and a secondary, or resale, market. Primary and secondary markets exist within the context of the Art market, in which works of art are exchanged for money or barter, allowing for creative value to be measured against other investment alternatives.

The art market emerged from the cultural and economic changes after the Reformation, especially in the northern Netherlands. When art became divorced from religious worship, the tradition of ecclesiastical patronage ceased. During this same period, there was an expansion of the Protestant mercantile class, who became the new art buyers. For the new bourgeois middle class, art served as a symbol of social achievement. Artists began to challenge their roles as mere craftsmen and demand that their creations be considered intellectual property. Founded in 1648, the Académie Royale de Peinture et Sculpture (...

Article

Bet McLeod

[de Rothschild]

European family of collectors and patrons. It can be said that the fortune of the Rothschild family, acquired over six generations, began with Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1743–1812) of Frankfurt am Main, who, from the 1760s, supplied William of Hesse-Kassel (later William IX, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel) with rare coins. Mayer Amschel was appointed financial adviser to William in 1801, and his family emerged from the Napoleonic Wars with immense personal fortunes, based on finance, that were to increase considerably throughout the 19th century. Mayer Amschel had five sons: the four sons living on the Continent were raised to the rank of Baron of the Austrian Empire in 1822; the English branch of the family was raised to the baronetcy in 1847 and one section to the peerage in 1885. Unless otherwise stated, all the works mentioned are in Rothschild family private collections.

Baron James Mayer de Rothschild (1792–1868...

Article

Harley Preston and Lin Barton

In 

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 ...