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, 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143115311
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/28/2009
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 763,673
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Introduction 1

Part 1 The Collectors

I "American Citizen ... Patron of Art" Henry Gurdon Marquand and van Dyck's Portrait of James Stuart 11

II "C'est Mon Plaisir" Isabella Stewart Gardner, Bernard Berenson, Otto Gutekunst, and Titian's Europa 45

III "Mr. Morgan Still Seems to Be Going on His Devouring Way" J. Pierpont Morgan, Raphael's Colonna Madonna, Gainsborough's Georgiana, Reynolds's Lady Elizabeth Delmé, and Lawrence's Elizabeth Farren 93

IV "Greco's Merit Is That He Was Two Centuries Ahead of His Time" Mary Cassatt, Harry and Louisine Havemeyer, Spain, and El Greco 109

V "A Picture for a Big Price" Henry Clay Frick, Charles Carstairs, Otto Gutekunst, and the Ilchester Rembrandt 145

Part 2 The Painting Boom

VI "Octopus and Wrecker Duveen" Joseph Duveen Enters the Old Master Market 199

VII "Highest Prizes of the Game of Civilization" Holbein's Christina of Denmark, Rembrandt's Polish Rider, Valázquez's Philip

IV Three Vermeers, and Record Prices 213

VIII "Thanks Not in [the] Market at Present" Bellini's St. Francis and Falling Prices 231

Part 3 The Great War and the Picture Market

IX "If This War Goes On, Many Things Will Be for Sale" Old Master Spoils 241

X The Feast of the Gods Bellini and Titian's Masterpiece Comes on the Market 253

Epilogue 261

Acknowledgments 267

Notes 271

Bibliography 309

Index 325

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

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