A Market for Merchant Princes: Collecting Italian Renaissance Paintings in America

A Market for Merchant Princes: Collecting Italian Renaissance Paintings in America


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A Market for Merchant Princes: Collecting Italian Renaissance Paintings in America by Inge Reist

Not unlike their European forebears, Americans have historically held Italian Renaissance paintings in the highest possible regard, never allowing works by or derived from Raphael, Leonardo, or Titian to fall from favor. The ten essays in A Market for Merchant Princes trace the progression of American collectors’ taste for Italian Renaissance masterpieces from the antebellum era, through the Gilded Age, to the later twentieth century.

By focusing variously on issues of supply and demand, reliance on advisers, the role of travel, and the civic-mindedness of American collectors from the antebellum years through the post–World War II era, the authors bring alive the passions of individual collectors while chronicling the development of their increasingly sophisticated sensibilities. In almost every case, the collectors on whom these essays concentrate founded institutions that would make the art they had acquired accessible to the public, such as the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Morgan Library and Museum, the Walters Art Gallery, The Frick Collection, and the John and Mable Ringling Museum.

The contributors to the volume are Jaynie Anderson, Andrea Bayer, Edgar Peters Bowron, Virginia Brilliant, David Alan Brown, Clay M. Dean, Frederick Ilchman, Tiffany Johnston, Stanley Mazaroff, and Jennifer Tonkovich.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780271064710
Publisher: Penn State University Press
Publication date: 12/12/2014
Pages: 168
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.72(d)

About the Author

Inge Reist is Director of the Center for the History of Collecting at The Frick Collection and Frick Art Reference Library, where her first position was as an Assistant Curator and Lecturer from 1980 to 1983.

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations


Inge Reist

Introduction: Looking Backward: Americans Collect Italian Renaissance Art

David Alan Brown

Part I

The Lure of Italy: Art and the Market Before Bernard Berenson

1 James Jackson Jarves and the “Primitive” Art Market in Nineteenth-Century America

Clay M. Dean

2 “Modern Connoisseurship” and the Role It Played in Shaping American Collectors’ Taste in Italian Renaissance Art

Jaynie Anderson

3 Discovering the Renaissance: Pierpont Morgan’s Shift to Collecting Italian Old Masters

Jennifer Tonkovich

Part II

The Ubiquitous BB

4 Boston Collectors in the Wake of “Mrs. Jack”

Frederick Ilchman

5 Henry Walters and Bernard Berenson

Stanley Mazaroff

6 Mary Berenson and the Cultivation of American Collectors

Tiffany Johnston

Part III

A Taste of One’s Own: A New American Renaissance

7 Collecting North Italian Painting at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Andrea Bayer

8 Building a Renaissance Collection and Museum After the Gilded Age: The Case of John Ringling

Virginia Brilliant

9 Samuel H. Kress and His Collection of Italian Renaissance Paintings

Edgar Peters Bowron


List of Contributors



Frontispiece Frontispiece: Duccio di Buoninsegna (ca. 1255–ca. 1319), The Temptation of Christ on the Mountain, 1308–11

1 Titian (Tiziano Vecellio, ca. 1488–1576), Europa, 1559–62

2 Giorgione (1477/78–1510), The Adoration of the Shepherds, 1505–10

3 Exhibition Berenson and the Connoisseurship of Italian Painting, held at the National Gallery of Art in Washington in 1979

4 Giovanni Bellini (ca. 1430/35–1516), Saint Francis in the Desert, ca. 1475–78

5 Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864–1952), [Blowing pinwheels], 1899

6 Tebbs & Knell, Inc., the West Room of Pierpont Morgan’s Library, ca. 1914

7 The “Raphael Room” at Lynnewood Hall, the Widener estate

8 Kress apartment, decorated in Italian Renaissance style

9 Kress apartment, decorated in Italian Renaissance style

10 Larkin Goldsmith Mead (1835–1910), James Jackson Jarves (1818–1888), 1883

11 Antonio del Pollaiuolo (ca. 1432?–1498), Hercules and Deianira, ca. 1475–80

12 Magdalen Master (active ca. 1265–95), Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints Leonard and Peter, ca. 1280

13 Gentile da Fabriano (ca. 1370?–1427), Virgin and Child, ca. 1420–24

14 Unknown artist, Giovanni Morelli, ca. 1880s

15 Unknown German artist, Giovanni Morelli in His Undergraduate Lodgings at the University of Munich, ca. 1835

16 Gaetano Zançon (1771–1816), after Lorenzo Lotto (about 1480–1556/7), Portrait of the Physician Giovanni Agostino della Torre and His Son, Niccolò, 1800–15

17 Lorenzo Lotto (about 1480–1556/7), Giovanni Agostino della Torre and His Son, Niccolò, ca. 1513–16

18 Lorenzo Lotto (about 1480–1556/7), Giovanni Agostino della Torre and His Son, Niccolò, ca. 1513–16

19 “The Magnet.” Editorial cartoon by Udo Keppler from Puck, June 21, 1911

20 Scipione Vannutelli (1834–1894), The Cardinal’s Fête, n.d.

21 The Rotunda. New York, The Morgan Library and Museum

22 Morgan’s study. New York, The Morgan Library and Museum.

23 Pierpont Morgan’s study with Lippi panels

24 Early Italian Room, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

25 Piermatteo d’Amelia, ca. 1450–1503/8, Annunciation, ca. 1475

26 Filippino Lippi (1457–1504), The Holy Family with Saint John the Baptist and Saint Margaret, ca. 1495

27 Attributed to Pinturicchio (Bernardino di Betto, ca. 1452–1513), formerly attributed to Fiorenzo di Lorenzo, ca. 1445–1522, Virgin and Child with Saint Jerome, ca. 1475–80

28 The Walters Art Gallery at the time of the grand opening of the Walters’ new museum in 1909

29 Salle V in the Massarenti Gallery, Rome, about 1900, showing self-portraits attributed to Michelangelo and Raphael

30 Cartouche with bronze bust of William T. Walters

31 Sodoma (1477–1549), The Holy Family with Saint Elizabeth and the Infant Saint John the Baptist, ca. 1525–30

32 Workshop of Bernardo Daddi (ca. 1290–1348), Madonna and Child, ca. 1340

33 Mary Berenson, ca. 1910.

34 Mary Berenson Colony Club lecture handbill

35 Moretto da Brescia (Alessandro Bonvicino, ca. 1498–1554), The Entombment, 1554

36 Moretto da Brescia (Alessandro Bonvicino, ca. 1498–1554), Christ in the Wilderness, n.d.

37 Giovanni Gerolamo Savoldo (1480/85–after 1548), Saint Matthew and the Angel, ca. 1534

38 Correggio (Antonio Allegri, active by 1514–died 1534), Saints Peter, Martha, Mary Magdalen, and Leonard, n.d.

39 Titian (Tiziano Vecellio, ca. 1488–1576), Portrait of a Man, ca. 1515

40 Unknown photographer, John Ringling in Front of the Ca’ d’Zan, ca. 1930

41 John H. Phillips, Air Plane View of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 1928

42 John H. Phillips, View of the Italian Room, ca. 1927

43 Veronese (Paolo Caliari, 1528–1588), Rest on the Flight into Egypt, ca. 1570

44 Piero di Cosimo (1461–1521), The Building of a Palace, ca. 1515

45 Workshop of Titian (Tiziano Vecellio, ca. 1488–1576), Sultana Rossa, 1550s

46 Samuel H. Kress (1863–1955), in the early 1900s

47 Andrea di Bartolo (active 1389–1428), Madonna and Child [obverse], ca. 1415

48 Vincenzo Catena (ca. 1480–1531), Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist and Joseph, ca. 1525

49 Duccio di Buoninsegna (ca. 1255–ca. 1319), The Calling of the Apostles Peter and Andrew, ca. 1308–11

50 Giotto di Bondone (probably 1266–1337), The Peruzzi Altarpiece, ca. 1310–15

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