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A. Deirdre Robson

(b London, Dec 8, 1904; d New York, Nov 25, 1979).

American publisher and collector. He trained at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League in New York before working in publishing. In 1950 he set up his own publishing company, Harry N. Abrams Inc., one of the first American companies to specialize in art books. In 1968 he founded Abbeville Books. His collecting, which began in the mid-1930s, went through three distinct phases: his first interest was in such contemporary American painters as Milton Avery and Raphael Soyer. He continued to purchase such works into the 1950s, but from the mid-1940s his collecting began to be dominated by works by major 20th-century artists; he acquired, among other works, Marc Chagall’s Clock (1948), Pablo Picasso’s Motherhood (1921) and Georges Rouault’s Miserere (1939).

Abrams’s most notable period as a collector was the 1960s, when he became known as a major collector of new American art. His interest in this area was fuelled by the ...

Article

(b Maple, Ont., May 25, 1879; d Cherkley, nr Leatherhead, June 9, 1964).

British publisher, financier, politician, collector and patron, of Canadian birth. As Minister of Information during World War I, he was responsible for the War Records Office in London, through which Wyndham Lewis, Muirhead Bone, William Orpen, Christopher Nevinson, Augustus John and six Canadian artists, J. W. Beatty (1869–1941), Maurice Cullen, C. W. Simpson (1878–1942), Fred Varley, David Milne and A. Y. Jackson, received commissions to record Canada’s military contribution to the war effort. The Canadian War Memorials were deposited at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, in 1921, and since then all but the major canvases have been transferred to the Canadian War Museum, also in Ottawa.

Beaverbrook was instrumental in developing the National Gallery of Canada’s collection of historical pictures; he was directly responsible for the gift of Benjamin West’s The Death of Wolfe by the Duke of Westminster in 1918, and the acquisition of ...

Article

Diane Tepfer

(b New York, Jan 24, 1919; d Key West, FL, May 7, 1996).

American dealer, patron, and painter. Born into a newspaper-publishing family, he responded to his upper-class establishment upbringing by seeking out ambivalence in art and life. Copley established the Copley Galleries in Los Angeles in 1948 with John Ployardt as partner and showed Magritte, Max Ernst, Roberto Matta, Man Ray, Yves Tanguy, and Joseph Cornell, as well as younger local artists. He regularly purchased a work from each show and built up his collection. Self-taught as a painter, in 1951 he closed the gallery to paint and moved to Paris, where he bought directly from the Surrealists. He returned to the USA in 1963, living and working in Roxbury, CT. He regularly exhibited at the Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York, and elsewhere in the USA and Europe. He used Magritte’s method of ‘assembling images’ in his own narrative figurative paintings. As in some Surrealist works, eroticism is the guiding force in brightly coloured and witty paintings. He compared ...

Article

Margaret Kelly

(Stevenson)

(b New York, Aug 19, 1919; d Feb 24, 1990).

American publisher and collector. In his position as Chairman and Editor-in-chief of the fortnightly American business magazine Forbes, he established one of the oldest corporate art collections in America in the 1950s when he began to acquire objets d’art created by Peter Carl Fabergé: the collection contains over 300 pieces, including 12 Imperial Easter eggs. A man of eclectic tastes, and spurred by fond childhood memories, Forbes assembled a collection of 100,000 lead soldiers and over 500 tin clockwork toy boats. The Fabergé works and selected toys are displayed at the Forbes Magazine Galleries in New York with American presidential manuscripts and related historical memorabilia that Forbes believed ‘better depict each [president] than the likenesses that abounded in their time’. Numbering over 3000 pieces, the collection is the finest of its kind in private hands.

The Forbes picture collection, predominantly conservative in flavour, features works by French 19th-century military painters, Victorian artists, Kinetic artists, American Realists and 19th- and 20th-century photographers. Forbes established the ...

Article

Judith Zilczer

(b Hoboken, NJ, Jan 1, 1864; d New York, July 13, 1946).

American photographer, editor, publisher, patron and dealer. Internationally acclaimed as a pioneer of modern photography, he produced a rich and significant body of work between 1883 and 1937 (see fig.). He championed photography as a graphic medium equal in stature to high art and fostered the growth of the cultural vanguard in New York in the early 20th century.

The first of six children born to an upper-middle-class couple of German–Jewish heritage, Stieglitz discovered the pleasure of amateur photography after 1881, when his family left New York to settle temporarily in Germany. His father, Edward Stieglitz, had retired from a successful business in the wool trade with a fortune that enabled him to educate his children abroad. In ...