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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

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

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

Lawrence E. Butler

(b Bellefonte, PA, May 24, 1863; d New York, April 24, 1938).

American sculptor and collector. Son of a Presbyterian minister, Barnard grew up in the Midwest and began studying at the Chicago Academy of Design in 1880 under Douglas Volk (1856–1935) and David Richards (1829–97). Here he was first introduced to plaster casts of Michelangelo’s works and to the casts of Abraham Lincoln made by Leonard Volk (1828–95) in 1860, both clearly influential on his subsequent career. In 1883 he went to Paris, where he enrolled in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and worked with Pierre-Jules Cavelier. Barnard’s sculptures are noted for their spiritual, allegorical, and mystical themes and were done in the expressive modelling style of the period.

Alfred Clark, wealthy heir to the Singer fortune, became Barnard’s patron in 1886. Through Clark and his Norwegian companion Lorentz Severin Skougaard, Barnard was introduced to Nordic themes. Clark commissioned important marble pieces including Boy (1884...

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

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

Lillian B. Miller

(b New York, Dec 11, 1848; d New York, Jan 18, 1931).

American businessman, collector, patron and dealer. He began collecting art in 1869 with paintings by American Hudson River school artists and conventional European works, Chinese porcelain, antique pottery and 17th- and 18th-century English furniture. By 1883 his taste had focused entirely on American works, especially on paintings by George Inness and Winslow Homer. By dealing in such works and by giving frequent exhibitions, Clarke enhanced the popularity of these artists, while also realizing large profits for himself. His founding of Art House, New York, in 1890 confirms the profit motive behind his collecting practices. The most notable sale of his paintings took place in 1899, when he sold at auction 373 contemporary American works at a profit of between 60 and 70%. Four landscapes by Inness—Grey, Lowery Day (c. 1876–7; untraced), Delaware Valley (1865; New York, Met.), Clouded Sun (1891; Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mus. A.) and Wood Gatherers: Autumn Afternoon...

Article

(b Edinburgh, Oct 11, 1829; d Montreal, Feb 2, 1910).

Canadian businessman and collector. In 1854 he arrived in Montreal from Scotland and began his career as manager of John Redpath & Sons Sugar Refinery. He founded and became president of the Canada Sugar Refining Co. in 1879. In 1888 he was appointed senator by the Canadian government, and in 1905 he became president of the Bank of Montreal. His collection, which consisted of approximately 200 European paintings and works on paper, was displayed in his opulent Montreal home (now demolished). He began collecting in the 1870s, and his early acquisitions—mostly by academic painters then in vogue—were recorded in Edward Strahan’s landmark 1879 publication The Art Treasures of America (e.g. Gabriel Max’s The Raising of Jairus’s Daughter, 1878; Montreal, Mus. F.A.). Many acquisitions were made in the 1880s and 1890s, comprising paintings by both Old Master and contemporary French, British, and Dutch artists. He shared the prevailing tastes of Scottish, American, and other Canadian collectors for paintings by ...

Article

A. Deirdre Robson

(b Flint, MI, Nov 5, 1859; d Chicago, IL, July 21, 1920).

American critic, collector and lawyer. He wrote books on legal and economic issues in the 1900s. He first became interested in art, notably that of James Abbott McNeil Whistler and François-Auguste-René Rodin through the World’s Fair of Chicago in 1893. He began to lecture on art and aesthetics and published his first art book Delight, the Soul of Art (Philadelphia, 1904). In 1912 he became interested in 20th-century art. It was, however, the Armory Show (1913) that inspired him to become a serious collector of avant-garde art; he acquired 25 works from the exhibition. Subsequently he travelled to London and Germany, where he met Vasily Kandinsky and other artists and added c. 100 works to his collection.

In 1914 Eddy published Cubists and Post-Impressionism (Chicago). Based on information elicited from the artists themselves, this book is significant as one of the first attempts to explain modern art in the USA, but in its emphasis upon such painters as Kandinsky (it included the first discussion in English of this painter’s ideas) it betrays Eddy’s enthusiasm for colouristic abstraction. Eddy continued to collect, although the emphasis lay upon American modernism. On his death the collection was dispersed and 23 works went to the ...

Article

Beginning with the Great Exhibition in London in 1851, world’s fairs (often called universal expositions, international exhibitions, or world expos) became mainstays of the modern world. By 1900, dozens of cities around the globe ranging from Paris to Philadelphia to Calcutta (now Kolkata) played host to these spectacles. By 1945 a worldwide audience of about one billion people had attended these events, underscoring their popularity and potential to influence mass audiences on a global scale. World’s fairs put new technologies and consumer products on display, they introduced new forms of entertainment, and they reflected the empire-building ambitions of many nations. World’s fairs can be understood from many perspectives, but fundamental is the recognition that these complex festivals of modernity were, at the core, built environments and cultural landscapes of dazzling complexity that served as laboratories for architects, designers, and urban planners (see also Exhibition architecture).

The first bona fide world’s fair held in the USA took place in Philadelphia in ...

Article

Lillian B. Miller

(b Nassau, May 20, 1846; d Brookline, MA, Sept 22, 1926).

American engineer, patron and collector. He was educated in Providence, RI, in Paris and at the Phillips Academy in Andover, MA. He studied engineering and in 1873 became superintendent of the western division of the Boston waterworks, where he was instrumental in bringing about the sanitation of the water supply.

FitzGerald had studied sculpture in Paris as a young boy, and his love of art manifested itself in the creation of a collection of contemporary works by American, Dutch, Norwegian, Spanish, and in particular, French artists. He was an early friend of Claude Monet and owned numerous works by him, including Mme Monet and Child (1875), Fishing Boats at Etretat, Hills of Vétheuil on the Seine (1880) and Sunset on the Seine: Winter Effect (1880). Other Impressionist artists whose works appeared in his collection included Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro and Alfred Sisley. FitzGerald was an admirer and friend of the American painter ...

Article

Kathryn Bonomi

(b Kingston, NY, Feb 25, 1856; d New York, Sept 25, 1919).

American manufacturer and collector. Born into poverty, he left school at the age of 14 to work, first in a cement factory and then as a clerk in a store. Soon afterwards, Frank J. Hecker, manager of the Kingston & Syracuse Railroad, noticed the young man’s business acumen and made him paymaster of the railroad. In 1880 the two men became partners and opened the first railway carriage factory in the Midwest, the Peninsular Car Works. However, by the age of 44, Freer was compelled to retire because of his frail constitution; already a wealthy man, he was on his way to becoming a major collector. He initially collected art to embellish his home in Detroit, MI, built by Wilson Eyre in 1890 and decorated by the American painters Dwight W. Tryon, Thomas Wilmer Dewing and Abbot Handerson Thayer in exchange for advice on investments. Freer valued the moral character of these artists’ work and shared their vision of pure and noble womanhood found in such paintings as Thayer’s ...

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

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

Gary A. Reynolds

(b Hingham, MA, Jan 22, 1856; d Le Bréau, Dammarie-les-Lys, nr Fontainebleau, July 13, 1937).

American painter and collector, active in France. Gay lived all his adult life in and around Paris. He sailed for France in 1876, after a successful exhibition and sale of his still-life paintings at the Williams and Everett Gallery, Boston, MA, which provided funds for his study abroad. Soon after arriving in Paris, Gay entered the atelier of Léon Bonnat, where he remained for about three years. At Bonnat’s suggestion, Gay made a trip to Spain in 1879 to study the work of Velázquez. These influences combined to form a style of painterly realism that emphasized fluid brushwork and a high-keyed tonal palette. Gay made his professional début in France in the Salon of 1879 with the Fencing Lesson (New York, priv. col.), an 18th-century costume piece in the manner of Mariano Fortuny y Marsal. The painting received favourable attention from French and American critics, encouraging Gay to continue this subject-matter for several years. During the late 1880s his summer trips to Brittany and Barbizon inspired a series of paintings of French peasants. One of the most successful of these, ...

Article

Diane Tepfer, Mary L. Levkoff and Laura E. Leaper

revised by Carolyn H. Miner

(b San Francisco, April 29, 1863; d Beverly Hills, Aug 14, 1951).

American newspaper tycoon, media mogul, politician, and collector. Hearst was not only one of the most influential and controversial forces in the history of journalism, but also one of the most remarkable art collectors in American history. Hearst was educated in art and antiquities in Europe by his mother, the philanthropist and architectural patron Phoebe Apperson Hearst (1842–1919); after Harvard he transformed a floundering San Francisco newspaper into a sensationally successful media empire and acquired wealth and political influence, becoming the subject of the renowned film Citizen Kane (1939) by Orson Welles, and Aldous Huxley’s novel, After Many a Summer Dies the Swan (1939).

The sole heir to a colossal fortune that stemmed from the Gold Rush of 1849, Hearst was the son of a brilliant miner, Senator George Hearst (1820–1891), and Phoebe Apperson Hearst, a renowned philanthropist whose collections, travels, and support of archeological expeditions inspired her child to build an empire in publishing from a single newspaper. Hearst promoted the development of the newsreel, revolutionized the technology of news media, and transformed the graphic design of newspapers. He also became a conspicuous movie producer. Through his art director, the Viennese designer Joseph Urban (...

Article

Jacqueline Colliss Harvey

(b New York, March 10, 1839; d London, Sept 22, 1909).

American collector. He was the grandson of Robert Hoe, the manufacturer of printing machines and presses, who had made a fortune after emigrating to America. Hoe entered the family firm in 1856 and became its director in 1886. His thorough understanding of the printing business was allied to a love of books and an expert knowledge of the history of printing, on which he wrote and published various works.

Hoe’s collection included illuminated manuscripts, among them a 13th-century Book of Hours, and a large number of early printed books, including a first edition of the Works of Ben Jonson (1616) and of the Comedies and Tragedies of Francis Beaumont (1647) and a folio first edition of the works of John Donne, which had belonged to Samuel Johnson. He was also a collector of fine bindings and owned a Procopius of 1509 from the library of Thomas Maioli, 11 examples of bindings from the library of ...