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Colleague Collectors:

The Collecting Patterns of American Artists in


Nineteenth-Century New York City

Diana Greenwald, University of Oxford


Frick Collection, April 4th 2017
Outline of Todays Presentation
Artist-Collectors: Genius Inspired by Objects

Economic History: Using Data and Econometrics to Trace Historical


Causation

Are there theoretical questions in art history that we can answer empirically?

What do the data say?

Jasper Francis Cropsey, Colleague-Collector

A New Resource: Auction Catalogues of


Artists Collections at the Frick Art Reference Library

The Century Association, A Nexus for Mutual Support

Conclusion: Colleague-Collectors and Data-Driven Art History


Artist-Collectors:
Genius Inspired by Objects
Apic, Spanish Painter Pablo Picasso during
summer 1908 in his workshop in
Montmartre, Paris, Getty Images
Pablo Picasso, Les Desmoiselles dAvignon, oil on canvas, 1907, MoMA
Economic History:
Using Data and Econometrics to Locate
Historical Causation
From Alesina et. al., On the Origins of Gender Roles: Women and the Plow,
Quarterly Journal of Economics 128.2 (May 2013)
Are there theoretical questions in art history
that we can answer empirically?
In a sense, one can say that the
capacity to see (voir) is a function of
the knowledge (savoir)A work of
art has meaning and interest only for
someone who possesses the cultural
competence, that is the code into
which it is encodedA beholder
Can one define class-
who lacks the specific code feels lost delineated tastes for art?
in a chaos of sounds and rhythms,
colors and lines, without rhyme or
reason.

Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction: A Social


Critique of the Judgment of Taste
Was there a kind of person who was more likely to own this painting exhibited in 1865

Canaletto, Venice: The Molo from the Bacino di S. Marco, c.1724, Denver
Art Museum (possibly displayed at the San Francisco Mechanics
Institute in 1865)
..or this one?

Winslow Homer, The Bright Side, 1865, de Young, Fine Arts


Museums of San Francisco (displayed at the National Academy
of Design, listed in the collection of Wm. H. Hamilton)
The existing literature says...yes!
We can detect class-delineated tastes for art.
Furthermore, these tastes are cultivated to achieve
certain social aims and assert an art owners elite
status in the society to which he or she belongs
But what do the data say?
Historical American Art Exhibition Database

Information about 274,638 paintings


displayed between 1773 and 1915.

Indices covering institutions and galleries


in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, San
Francisco and 72 other communities.

Indices list artist information, title, display


year, and sometimes collector.

Page 33 from Mary Bartlett Cowdrey,


National Academy of Design Exhibition
Record, 1825-1860, Volume 1 (1943).
Statistically Testing the Relationship between
Socioeconomic Backgrounds and Art Acquisitions

Compiled basic biographical information about 285 major


collectors across the country whose holdings were shown between
1830 to 1880.

Regressed content of holdings on place of birth, place of


residence, occupation, source of wealth (inherited v. self-made),
etc.

The strongest systematic effectone of the only systematic


effectswas that collectors who were also artists were far more
likely to own contemporary American art.
Jasper Francis Cropsey,
Colleague-Collector
Jasper Francis Cropsey, Indian Summer, Hudson River, 1861, oil on canvas, 24.5 x 41.5 in., Joslyn
Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska
Silo Art Galleries, Catalogue of the Collection of Oil Paintings and Water Colors
belonging to Jasper F. Cropsey (1906)
Composition of Cropseys Holdings Sold at Auction in 1906,
by Nationality and Era of Artist

33% 36%

12%
19%
A New Resource:
Auction Catalogues of
Artists Collections at the Frick
George W. Keeler Art Galleries, New York, Daniel Huntington Collection,
Lugt # 75431, FARL Call Number: JANUARY 27-8, 1916
American Art Galleries, New York, The Private Collection of William Merritt Chase,
N.A., Lugt # 70918, FARL Call Number: MARCH 7-8 1912
American Art Galleries, New York, Catalogue of the Art Property and Other Objects of
John La Farge, N.A, Lugt # 69661, Downloaded from archives.org
The Century Association:
A Nexus for Mutual Support
Stanford White, The Century Association, 7 West 43rd Street, 1891
(Photograph from Museum of the City of New York, 1977)
Intra-professional sponsorship among members of the Century Association elected before
1920 (Source: Century Association Archives)
Conclusion:
Colleague-Collectors and
Data-Driven Art History
Nadar, French, Theodore Rousseau, salted paper Nadar, French, Portrait of Jean-Francois Millet,
print, 1855 59, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los albumen print, 1854 60 , Muse dOrsay,
Angeles Paris
Jean-Francois Millet, A Peasant Grafting a Tree, oil on canvas, 1855, Neue Pinakothek, Munich