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Leslie Bussis Tait

American art dealers of Hungarian birth, active also in France. Joseph Brummer (b Zombor, Hungary (now Sombor, Serbia), 1883; d New York, 14 April 1947) trained as a sculptor, studying under Auguste Rodin (1840–1917). In 1906 he gave up his own practice to open a gallery in Paris. His brother Ernest Brummer (b Zombor, Hungary (now Sombor, Serbia), 1891; d New York, 21 Feb 1964) trained as an archaeologist, studying at the Ecole du Louvre and the Sorbonne. Before and following service in World War I, Ernest participated in several expeditions to Egypt and the Middle East, which were occasions to collect antiquities. These became the stock (along with contemporary painting and sculpture, Japanese prints, African and Pre-Columbian art, and medieval objects) for the Brummer Gallery in Paris where Ernest assisted his brothers Joseph and Imre (d 1928). By 1917 Joseph left France to establish the New York gallery; Ernest joined him shortly before the outbreak of World War II. Their broad knowledge and discernment in many fields led to the Brummers’ prominent reputation as leading art dealers....


Lisa Merrill

(b Boston, MA, July 23, 1816; d Boston, MA, Feb 16, 1876).

American actress and patron. Cushman played a significant role in the careers of numerous female visual artists. During her lifetime, Cushman was considered the greatest and most successful actress in the English-speaking world and served as a role model for many women.

When Cushman initially chose to retire from the stage and live abroad, she divided her time between London, where she had established a home, and Rome. While performing in Boston, MA, in 1852, prior to her first trip to Italy, Cushman and her then-partner, British novelist and translator Matilda Hays, made the acquaintance of young American sculptor, Harriet Hosmer. Hosmer accompanied Cushman and Hays to Italy and, for several years, resided with them in Rome. From the start, Cushman envisioned setting up a residence and salon for expatriate female artists from the USA. Just as Cushman had competed openly and aggressively with male actors and insisted upon receiving remuneration equal to theirs, she also encouraged the female artists she supported to compete openly with male sculptors for commissions. She was their fierce advocate in what Hosmer described as “rivalry in the clay” with male sculptors....


Kate Wight


(b Philadelphia, PA, Dec 7, 1847; d Moret-sur-Loing, July 1924).

American art agent and exhibition organizer. Hallowell was responsible for numerous art exhibitions in Chicago in the late 19th century, most notably portions of the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. Born in Pennsylvania to a Quaker family, at age 20 Sarah Hallowell moved to Chicago. There, as an art agent for the Inter-State Industrial Exposition, she built a reputation as an organizer of contemporary art exhibitions. Hallowell’s involvement with the Inter-State Industrial Expositions began in 1878 and over her tenure she organized several large exhibitions, which included works by artists such as James McNeill Whistler, John Singer Sargent, William Merritt Chase, and Eastman Johnson. Hallowell developed numerous ties to artists, collectors, and dealers and in 1883 sought to introduce to Midwest collectors works by Americans who had won prizes at the Paris Salon. Her final 1890 exhibition was influential in introducing the Impressionist movement in the States and displaying works by Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Alfred Sisley, Auguste Renoir, and Camille Pissarro to the Chicago audience....


Katharine A. Lochnan

(b Liverpool, 1831; d London, Jan 4, 1892).

English shipping magnate and collector. Hired as an apprentice by the Liverpool shipping firm of Bibby, Sons & Co., he rose rapidly through the ranks, buying out the firm in 1872. He became a major patron of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, buying from 1867 such works as Lady Lilith (1868; Wilmington, DE A. Mus.) and La Pia de’ Tolomei (1868–80; Lawrence, U. KS, Spencer Mus. A.). Leyland liked musical subjects and he ensured that his purchases accorded in mood and size with one another or with his existing decorative scheme. Under Rossetti’s guidance he built up an extraordinary collection of Italian Renaissance pictures, including works by Giovanni Bellini, Giorgione, Sandro Botticelli (the Casa Pucci series; Madrid, Prado) and Carlo Crivelli. He also bought such works by Edward Burne-Jones as the Wine of Circe (1863–9; priv. col., see The Pre-Raphaelites, exh. cat., London, Tate, 1984, p. 304).

Rossetti introduced Leyland to ...


Nancy E. Green

(b Ireland, 1851; d Southampton, NY, Aug 10, 1917).

Irish art dealer. Macbeth was the first to sell exclusively the work of American artists through his Macbeth Galleries. His interest in and promotion of homegrown artists would help pave the way for the transfer of the world’s art center from Paris to New York City in the early years of the 20th century.

Arriving from Ireland in 1871, Macbeth’s first job was with Frederick Keppel’s gallery, where he eventually became a partner, selling predominantly prints and watercolors. In 1892 he opened his own gallery in Manhattan, specifically to concentrate on the work of American artists stating:

“The work of American artists has never received the full share of appreciation that it deserves, and the time has come when an effort should be made to gain for it the favor of those who have hitherto purchased foreign pictures exclusively. As I shall exhibit only that which is thoroughly good and interesting, I hope to make this establishment known as the place where may be procured the very best our artists can produce.”...


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....


Tracy Fitzpatrick

Artists’ association, art school and exhibition space. The National Academy of Design (NAD; now known as the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts) was one of the earliest organizations in the USA devoted to the development of the fine arts. It was established in 1825 as an honorary association and art school with a permanent collection and an annual exhibition program. The earliest institution of its kind in the USA, it was modeled after the Royal Academy in England as an artist-run organization founded to “promote the fine arts in America through instruction and exhibition.” As the 19th century progressed the NAD developed a reputation for conservatism.

The NAD emerged as an itinerant institution with locations in sites around New York City. It opened its first permanent space, a Venetian Gothic-revival building designed by Peter B(onnett) Wight, in 1865. In 1942, it moved to its current location, a Beaux-Arts building donated by Archer Milton Huntington and Anna Hyatt Huntington, who was a member of the Academy. Its permanent homes have allowed it to house its meeting space, collection, school and exhibitions under the same roof....


Museum and school of fine arts founded in Philadelphia in 1805. The driving force in the creation of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts was Peale family, §1 who, a few years earlier, had led the formation of Philadelphia’s first art organization, the short-lived Columbianum Academy. The Pennsylvania Academy’s 71 founders, mostly lawyers and businessmen, decreed that its purpose was to provide opportunities for art instruction and to mount exhibitions in order “to promote the cultivation of the Fine Arts, in the United States of America …” Although the mission of the Academy did not change, the founders neither envisioned nor planned for the highly organized curriculum and the large permanent collection that emerged by the end of the 19th century.

The Academy opened its first building in April 1806. The initial educational approach, based on that of the English Royal Academy, relied on copying from plaster casts of antique sculpture and from paintings on display, many of which were European. While formal classes were decades away, opportunities to draw from a model were often available, and critiques from Academy artists such as ...


Saul Zalesch

The Society of American Artists (1877–1906) was the most conspicuous and historically significant of the art organizations that proliferated in New York during the last quarter of the 19th century. It saw itself, and scholars have usually portrayed it, as a liberal challenger to the National Academy of Design . In reality the Society’s birth and operation had little to do with modern conceptions of liberal versus conservative ideals for art but reflected a fundamental American/European split over the way that art progresses and how to educate popular tastes. It was inextricably linked with the interests of members of New York’s traditional cultural elite then defending their leadership against the growing influence bought by the unprecedented wealth of America’s “Robber Barons.”

Although mostly discussed by historians in monographic studies of its more famous members, the Society deserves careful study because the circumstances of its creation, operation, and eventual merger with the National Academy of Design offer richer insights into artists’ attitudes and the complexities of artistic patronage in New York than are usually found in studies of American art of that period....


Margaret F. MacDonald

(b Lowell, MA, July 11, 1834; d London, July 17, 1903).

American painter, printmaker, designer and collector, active in England and France. He developed from the Realism of Courbet and Manet to become, in the 1860s, one of the leading members of the Aesthetic Movement and an important exponent of Japonisme. From the 1860s he increasingly adopted non-specific and often musical titles for his work, which emphasized his interest in the manipulation of colour and mood for their own sake rather than for the conventional depiction of subject. He acted as an important link between the avant-garde artistic worlds of Europe, Britain and the USA and has always been acknowledged as one of the masters of etching (see Jacque, Charles(-Emile)).

From his monogram jw, Whistler evolved a butterfly signature, which he used after 1869. After his mother’s death in 1881, he added her maiden name, McNeill, and signed letters J. A. McN. Whistler. Finally he dropped ‘Abbott’ entirely.

The son of Major George Washington Whistler, a railway engineer, and his second wife, Anna Matilda McNeill, James moved with his family in ...


David Rodgers

( Fingal O’Flahertie Wills )

(b Dublin, Oct 16, 1854; d Paris, Nov 30, 1900).

Irish writer and patron . He was educated at Portora Royal School, Trinity College, Dublin, and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he established himself as a leading figure in the Aesthetic Movement . Wilde espoused the doctrine of Art for Art’s Sake, formulated by Théophile Gautier in the 1830s, and the rarefied hedonism recommended by Walter Pater, who encouraged his literary career. He also adopted the romantic socialism of William Morris, sharing his belief in the artistry of the unfettered craftsman and the importance of beauty in everyday life. He spread his aesthetic philosophy in a series of lectures given in North America in 1882 and later in England. His early writing reveals the influence of the French Decadents; in particular The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) was largely inspired by Joris-Karl Huysmans’s A rebours (Paris, 1884).

In April 1877, while still at Oxford, Wilde reviewed the opening exhibition of the Grosvenor Gallery, London, for the ...