Landscape with Figures: A History of Art Dealing in the United States

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Overview

How did the United States become not only the leading contemporary art scene in the world, but also the leading market for art? The answer has to do not only with the talents of American artists or even the size of the American economy, but also—and especially—the skills and entrepreneurship of American art dealers. Their story has not been told...until now.
Landscape with Figures is the first history of art dealing in the United States, following the profession from eighteenth-century portrait and picture salesmen in the colonies to the high-profile, jet-set gallery owners of today. Providing anecdotal and carefully researched biographies of the prominent dealers from more than two centuries of trade, author Malcolm Goldstein shows how magnanimous personalities and social networking helped to shape the way Americans have bought and valued art. These dealers range from Michael Paff, whose enthusiasm often overshadowed his expertise but nonetheless helped him sell faux Old Master paintings to major collectors in the early nineteenth century; to the imperious Joseph Duveen, dealer to magnates like Henry Clay Frick; to visionary Leo Castelli, who helped to usher in a revolution in modern art during the 1960s by showing such avant-garde artists as Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol. Goldstein also shows that the American art trade, while male-dominated, has been galvanized by female dealers, including the inimitable Edith Gregor Halpert, Peggy Guggenheim, and Mary Boone. Their fascinating stories unfold in the context of world art history, the rise of major art institutions like the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum, and the growing zeal of art collectors who would eventually pay millions for individual works of art.
Unprecedented and critical to understanding today's art world, Landscape with Figures is a must for artists, art history students, and art lovers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An informative yet entertaining overview...introducing a motley but fascinating array of characters."—Times Literary Supplement

"A well researched and captivating book... A more-than-adequate overview of 200 years of art dealing in America."—Library Journal

Library Journal
In the ongoing blizzard of books about the American art world, it is curious to note that there has not been a recent work on those key figures, the art dealers. Though a number of memoirs or biographies of individual dealers have been published, a comprehensive overview of the profession has not existed until now. Goldstein (emeritus, English, CUNY) has filled this large gap with a well-researched and captivating book. Despite his modest claims, the author provides a more-than-adequate overview of 200 years of art dealing in America. Working with scanty documentary evidence, he reconstructs the vague world of 19th-century dealers. Most readers will be more familiar with the icons of 20th-century art dealing--e.g., Edith Gregor Halpert, Sidney Janis, Peggy Guggenheim, Samuel Kootz, Mary Boone, Leo Castelli, and Betty Parsons--whom Goldstein introduces on a whirlwind but thorough tour. Arguably, these are the people most responsible for transforming New York into the center of the world art trade. Recommended for larger general as well as art collections.--Martin R. Kalfatovic, Smithsonian Inst. Libs., Washington, DC Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
E.V. Thaw
…diligent…
The New Republic
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195136739
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/1/1900
  • Pages: 384
  • Lexile: 1480L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Malcolm Goldstein is Professor Emeritus of English, the City University of New York.

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