Synopses & Reviews
In 1870 a group of wealthy and culturally ambitious New Yorkers founded the Metropolitan Museum of Art in a Manhattan brownstone with a lackluster collection and not a single major work of art. Americans came late to the game of art collecting and raced to catch up. Soon, America's new industrial tycoons began to compete for Europe's extraordinary Old Master pictures, laying claim to works by Vermeer, Titian, Rembrandt, and others, and causing a major migration of art across the Atlantic. Cynthia Saltzman recounts the fierce competition to acquire some of the greatest paintings in the world and the boom in the market. At the center of this enterprise were the steel tycoon Henry Clay Frick, the banker J. Pierpont Morgan, the sugar king Harry Havemeyer and his wife Louisine, as well as the Boston aesthete Isabella Stewart Gardner, and the Metropolitan's president, Henry Marquand. Old Masters, New World is the story of beauty, aesthetics, and taste; money, trade, and power. It is a backstage look at the part played in American collecting by experts like Bernard Berenson and dealers like Colnaghi, Knoedler, and Duveen-who raced around Europe to negotiate purchases and sales of the rarest and most costly masterpieces.
" A lively, knowledgeable chronicle of a three-decade art-buying spree . . . so ably recaptured in her colorful, enjoyable narrative."
" 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
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.
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.