Montias, (John) Michael [Jean-Michel]
- Gary Schwartz
(b Paris, Oct 3, 1928; d Branford, CT, July 26, 2005).
French art historian and economist, active in the USA. Montias was a specialist in Eastern European command economies who in mid-career changed fields and became a historian of Dutch painting. His interest in the subject was threefold. Before he began writing on Dutch art, he collected it, with the advice of a leading specialist in the field, Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann, a fellow professor at Yale University. This led him to pursue knowledge concerning the minor masters he could afford, which brought him closer to the basics of the Dutch art world. It was an approach diametrically opposed to how most students learn about this material, which is from the iconic masterworks down. His second focus of interest was economic. Three-quarters of a century after the appearance of the last, largely anecdotal survey of the economics of Dutch art, by Hanns Floerke, Montias applied the techniques of neo-classical economics to the field in a way that was accessible to art historians. Entirely on his own, he opened up new perspectives that inspired art historians, economists, and economic historians alike to revisit the subject of Dutch art. Thirdly, Montias was entranced by the ...