Buying Baroque: Italian Seventeenth-Century Paintings Come to America

Buying Baroque: Italian Seventeenth-Century Paintings Come to America

by Edgar Peters Bowron

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Although Americans have shown interest in Italian Baroque art since the eighteenth century—Thomas Jefferson bought copies of works by Salvator Rosa and Guido Reni for his art gallery at Monticello, and the seventeenth-century Bolognese school was admired by painters Benjamin West and John Singleton Copley—a widespread appetite for it only took hold in the early to mid-twentieth century. Buying Baroque tells this history through the personalities involved and the culture of collecting in the United States.

The distinguished contributors to this volume examine the dealers, auction houses, and commercial galleries that provided access to Baroque paintings, as well as the collectors, curators, and museum directors who acquired and shaped American perceptions about these works, including Charles Eliot Norton, John W. Ringling, A. Everett Austin Jr., and Samuel H. Kress. These essays explore aesthetic trends and influences to show why Americans developed an increasingly sophisticated taste for Baroque art between the late eighteenth century and the 1920s, and they trace the fervent peak of interest during the 1950s and 1960s.

A wide-ranging, in-depth look at the collecting of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Italian paintings in America, this volume sheds new light on the cultural conditions that led collectors to value Baroque art and the significant effects of their efforts on America’s greatest museums and galleries.

In addition to the editor, contributors include Andrea Bayer, Virginia Brilliant, Andria Derstine, Marco Grassi, Ian Kennedy, J. Patrice Marandel, Pablo Pérez d’Ors, Richard E. Spear, and Eric M. Zafran.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780271079448
Publisher: Penn State University Press
Publication date: 03/28/2017
Series: Frick Collection Studies in the History of Art Collecting in America , #3
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 204
File size: 22 MB
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About the Author

Edgar Peters Bowron served as the Audrey Jones Beck Curator of European Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, from 1996 through 2014. Previously, he was senior curator of paintings at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., director of the Harvard University Art Museums, and director of the North Carolina Museum of Art. Now retired, he most recently published Pompeo Batoni: A Complete Catalogue of His Paintings.

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations



Introduction: The Critical Fortunes of Italian Baroque Painting in America

Edgar Peters Bowron

1 Italian Baroque Paintings at the Ringling Museum: The Legacy of John Ringling and Chick Austin

Virginia Brilliant

2 The Atheneum to the Fore: Hartford and the Italian Baroque

Eric Zafran

3 The American View of the “Forgotten Century” of Italian Painting: Reminiscences of an Art Dealer and Curator

Marco Grassi

4 An Invisible Web: Art Historians Behind the Collecting of Italian Baroque Art Richard Spear

5 Baroque in the Caribbean: Luis A. Ferré and the Museo de Arte de Ponce

Pablo Pérez d’Ors

6 Dealing and Scholarship: The Heim Gallery, London, 1966–1995

J. Patrice Marandel

7 The Detroit Institute of Arts and Italian Baroque Painting

Andria Derstine

8 The Bob Jones University Collection of Italian Baroque Paintings

Ian Kennedy

9 Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., and His Collection of Italian Baroque Paintings

Eric Zafran

10 Better Late than Never: Collecting Baroque Painting at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Andrea Bayer


List of Contributors

List of Artists


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