Old Masters, New World: America's Raid on Europe's Great Pictures

Old Masters New World America s Raid on Europe s Great Pictures In a group of wealthy and culturally ambitious New Yorkers founded the Metropolitan Museum of Art in a Manhattan brownstone with a lackluster collection and not a single major work of art America

  • Title: Old Masters, New World: America's Raid on Europe's Great Pictures
  • Author: Cynthia Saltzman
  • ISBN: 9780670018314
  • Page: 343
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In 1870 a group of wealthy and culturally ambitious New Yorkers founded the Metropolitan Museum of Art in a Manhattan brownstone with a lackluster collection and not a single major work of art Americans came late to the game of art collecting and raced to catch up Soon, America s new industrial tycoons began to compete for Europe s extraordinary Old Master pictures, layiIn 1870 a group of wealthy and culturally ambitious New Yorkers founded the Metropolitan Museum of Art in a Manhattan brownstone with a lackluster collection and not a single major work of art Americans came late to the game of art collecting and raced to catch up Soon, America s new industrial tycoons began to compete for Europe s extraordinary Old Master pictures, laying claim to works by Vermeer, Titian, Rembrandt, and others, and causing a major migration of art across the Atlantic Cynthia Saltzman recounts the fierce competition to acquire some of the greatest paintings in the world and the boom in the market At the center of this enterprise were the steel tycoon Henry Clay Frick, the banker J Pierpont Morgan, the sugar king Harry Havemeyer and his wife Louisine, as well as the Boston aesthete Isabella Stewart Gardner, and the Metropolitan s president, Henry Marquand Old Masters, New World is the story of beauty, aesthetics, and taste money, trade, and power It is a backstage look at the part played in American collecting by experts like Bernard Berenson and dealers like Colnaghi, Knoedler, and Duveen who raced around Europe to negotiate purchases and sales of the rarest and most costly masterpieces.

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      Published :2019-03-22T21:22:17+00:00

    One thought on “Old Masters, New World: America's Raid on Europe's Great Pictures”

    1. Even though I'm the kind of gallery-goer who looks on the wall to see the painting's provenance (Widener Collection, for example), this book barely held my interest. It was so dry. Pages upon pages of dealers locating Old Masters in Europe, cabling their super wealthy clients, asking for cheques, clients negotiating, purchases consummated. There are 15 color plates and many black and white reproductions inserted into the text.Maybe the dryness created a thirst that led to this typo: "Like many E [...]

    2. The use of the word "raid" in the subtitle is sensationalism, in my opinion. What Napoleon did to European art was a raid; what Hitler did to European art was a raid. What the wealthy Americans did in the 19th century, at the height of American wealth, was purchase masterworks, often that the British had themselves acquired at the height of their own wealth. It is funny that the British seemed to think their national wealth was being plundered when so much of the art purchased from them was actu [...]

    3. This was a great read for the plane ride back to Seattle after visiting my favorite places in NYC: the Morgan, the Frick, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I'd even recently seen the Kenwood collection (from the Guinness family) in Seattle, so a huge proportion of the works discussed here are well known to me. The only paintings that I couldn't picture in my head were the ones owned by Widener and Mellon that landed in the National Gallery in Washington, D.C which I've seen but only once or tw [...]

    4. Just finished reading Cynthia Saltzman's Old Masters, New World: America's Raid on Europe's Great Pictures, 1880-World War I (New York: Viking, 2008) and began Colin & Justin's Home Heist Style Guide (a bit of fluff). Saltzman, "a former reporter for Forbes and The Wall Street Journal" has written a book that gives a brief overview of the dealer's, buyers and artists who were involved in the trade of European Old Master paintings at the turn of the 20th-Century. The stories she writes about [...]

    5. This is great! I'm two chapters into it and I know it will be a consistently used reference. The chapter on Mrs. Gardner and her connection with Berenson is especially fascinating and raises interesting points about his character and their relationship. This is a must have/read for all my Gardner friends and anyone else interested in art history and/or the Gilded Age. . Finished it! Great research, so much insight into how galleries functioned and how works of art were steered to collectors. Fas [...]

    6. This was great! I realize that it wouldn't appeal to everyone, but it gave me an insight into art dealers and collectors of art. From about 1880 through World War I, the industrial giants, including J. Pierpont Morgan (US Steel-largest conglomerate in the world), Havermeyer (sugar), Frick (coke & steel), Isabella Gardner (wife of a Boston Brahmin), and Marquand (banker) as well as others, are followed in their quest to own important works of art. The art dealers who brokered their deals are [...]

    7. A nice overview of the personalities involved in starting up America's collections of great paintings. The narrative jumps around a bit but the writing is smooth enough that it isn't jarring. Despite a broad topic like this she also did a nice job of keeping everything feeling linear.Really my only complaint is it's hard not to want books like this to have more of the paintings reproduced and to have them all be bigger, so that you can really view the detail and see everything the author talks a [...]

    8. While the voracious collecting of Old Masters (and then some - apparently there was a Grand Manner phase at one point that I highly disapprove of) by wealthy Americans during the 19th and early 20th centuries bordered on obscene, some aspects of this book are fascinating. Saltzman focuses on some of the more fantastic collectors, and hence we can watch the growth Henry Clay Frick's collection, as well as marvel at the breadth of Andrew Carnegie's behemoth bequest to the Met.Oh, and my dear Mrs. [...]

    9. In the late 19th century, two trends intersected---European aristocrats were cash-poor and had increasing tax burdens, and American industrialists had boatloads of cash and needed insta-credability and confirmation of their good taste. Magnates bought up whole collections (and sometimes the castle they were housed in, too), and exported them to the US for private viewing and in new museums. Saltzman also studies the influence these Old Masters had on the Americans going to Europe to study, as we [...]

    10. I thoroughly enjoyed Saltzman's "Portrait of Dr. Gachet" so i was excited to read her follow-up. The history behind the Gilded Age market boom in Old Masters and how so many important objects came to this country is a fascinating story. The incredibly informative work details how pioneering tycoons such as Henry Clay Frick and J. Pierpont Morgan, among others shaped the market and how dealers such as Knoedler and Duveen supplied them. It is a great read about how many of the most important paint [...]

    11. Art dealers were the driving force behind this country's first great art boom, namely, late 19th century millionares buying up old master paintings. This book tells of the art dealers and the millionares and the complex relationships between them. It is interesting to note that in the currency of those times these people were spending just as much as rich folk do today on art. Were it not for these sales the USA would be far poorer in culture today. They and their heirs built the foundations of [...]

    12. A very informative and interesting read about the art rush during the gilded age and after in America. I appreciated the intimate, if brief, look into each of the collector's personal lives and motivations. Some of the transaction details did get a bit tedious but having the prices gave an idea of just how important art was to these collectors. The writing style was smooth and there were a few humorous quips about collectors. More illustrations of pieces would have been appreciated.

    13. Although I like shopping and love art, a book about other people shopping for art has a limited appeal to me and probably most other readers. It wasn't a bad book- I just couldn't work up a fascination with the subject. On a more positive note Old Masters, New World has definitely increased my interest in visiting a few of the collections mentioned in the book- the Morgan Library, the Frick Collection and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

    14. This described about 30 years of art history in terms of how parts of the Old Masters collection of the Metropolitan Museum developed. It was so very readable. I've seen many of these paintings and it this book really brought to life the period of time when they were collected. What interesting characters!

    15. Very interesting book about how and why Americans acquired many of the old master painting of Europe. Lots of discussion of Henry Clay Frick and Isabella Stewart Gardner. This book dovetailed nicely with the book Merchants and Masterpieces I read last year about the development of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    16. A specialized book, but as an art museum junkie, I really enjoyed it. Also, from an economics & history perspective, this element of the transfer of wealth from Europe to the USA at the turn of the last century (1890-1914) was quite interesting, although the author didn't dwell on that as much, so I was doing a lot of reading between the lines. Quite well researched, and documented.

    17. This was an excellent account of how European art came to be collected by Americans in the late 19th/early 20th century. I watched a Met produced film afterwards. I plan to reread parts of this for a long time to come.

    18. Everybody that's anybody in the Art world, responsible for bringing the great works to America is here, and it makes you want to seek out each, and find out more. An enchanting historical read indeed.

    19. An interesting portrayal of the development of art appreciation in America. I especially enjoyed the atypical examination of Henry Clay Frick as an art connoisseur - who knew? (Okay, obviously, other people, but not me.)

    20. While it gets bogged down in the complexity of selling art, this is an interesting look at the impetus of American collectors to import Old Masters to the US. It makes me want to go back to the Met and the Frick to see these paintings and reflect on what they represented then and today.

    21. Great read about the turn-of-the-century American industrialists raiding the great art collections of Europe. How the Metropolitan Museum, the Frick, and the Elizabeth Stewart Gardner Museum's collections were established.

    22. This book was highly recommended by a docent at the Frick Museum in NYC. It's an interesting account of the period, but definitely aimed at the art history major rather than the general reader.

    23. Great information and insight on how early American industrialists helped build America's mighty art collection that we see and enjoy today.

    24. Enjoyable. Good background on how The Met, The Morgan Library and The Frick Collection in NYC came to be, with particular emphasis on Frick. Also much detail on The Gardner in Boston.

    25. Cool story. All these robber barons hinting after vermeers and rembrandts while strike breaking with their left hand.

    26. A picture is worth a thousand words, but it takes a novel to tell us how the pictures got to us, who made these great decisions and spent millions bringing us this art.

    27. interesting account of how the new money in the United States started collection and amassing great collections of great art.

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