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

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

by Cynthia Saltzman
     
 

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A spellbinding account of the rapacious pursuit of the most exquisite paintings in the world

In the Gilded Age, newly wealthy and culturally ambitious Americans began to compete for Europe's extraordinary Old Master pictures, causing a major migration of art across the Atlantic. Old Masters, New World is a backstage look at the cutthroat competition

Overview

A spellbinding account of the rapacious pursuit of the most exquisite paintings in the world

In the Gilded Age, newly wealthy and culturally ambitious Americans began to compete for Europe's extraordinary Old Master pictures, causing a major migration of art across the Atlantic. Old Masters, New World is a backstage look at the cutthroat competition, financial maneuvering, intrigue, and double-dealing often involved in these purchases, not to mention the seductive power of the ravishing paintings that drove these collectors-including financier J. Pierpont Morgan, sugar king H. O. Havemeyer, Boston aesthete Isabella Stewart Gardner, and industrialist Henry Clay Frick. Packed with stunning reproductions, this is an ideal gift book for art lovers and history buffs alike.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
" A lively, knowledgeable chronicle of a three-decade art-buying spree . . . so ably recaptured in her colorful, enjoyable narrative."
-Chicago Tribune

" Saltzman revivifies the story by showing . . . how these alpha collectors schemed and maneuvered to outsmart the dealers and each other in their feverish quest for the best Rembrandt or the rarest Raphael."
-The Philadelphia Inquirer

Publishers Weekly

In this vividly narrated and highly informative study, Saltzman (The Portrait of Dr. Gachet), a former reporter for Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, examines American collectors like Henry Clay Frick and J. Pierpont Morgan who developed America's great Old Master collections, like those at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Banker and railroad magnate Henry Marquand gave 50 Old Masters to the Met, among them Vermeer's Young Woman with a Water Pitcher. Marquand believed in the museum's capacity to educate the public, while Gardner and Morgan modeled themselves after Renaissance patrons. A Gainsborough and Raphael were among Morgan's cultural conquests in a "vast, encyclopedic collecting project." Gardner's passion for Italian Renaissance art and her complicated relationship with Renaissance specialist Bernard Berenson, who arranged for the acquisition of the most important work in her collection, Titian's Rape of Europa, is one of the book's highlights. Saltzman deftly demonstrates that the often highly competitive process and volatile acquisition of "cultural capital" by dealers and their eager employers gives fascinating and important insight into the often fraught fusion of culture and commodity that built world-class American collections. Photos. (Aug. 18)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143115311
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/28/2009
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
747,472
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
" A lively, knowledgeable chronicle of a three-decade art-buying spree . . . so ably recaptured in her colorful, enjoyable narrative."
-Chicago Tribune

" Saltzman revivifies the story by showing . . . how these alpha collectors schemed and maneuvered to outsmart the dealers and each other in their feverish quest for the best Rembrandt or the rarest Raphael."
-The Philadelphia Inquirer

Meet the Author

A former reporter for Forbes and The Wall Street Journal, Cynthia Saltzman earned degrees in art history at Harvard and Berkeley. She currently resides with her family in Brooklyn, New York.

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