Call for Papers for a Symposium: "The American Artist as Collector, from the Enlightenment to the Post-War Era" March 6–7, 2009

painting of man dressed in black revealing his own museum collection behind curtain

The Center for the History of Collecting in America at The Frick Collection and Art Reference Library is seeking proposals for papers to be presented at a symposium on "The American Artist as Collector, from the Enlightenment to the Post-War Era," scheduled for March 6 and 7, 2009. The purpose of this symposium is twofold: to examine the collecting tastes of specific artists who amassed collections of note, and to explore the impact of artist-advisers on the acquisition patterns of other collectors. 

Papers should address the historical context of artists as collectors, while exploring the special contributions made by American painters, sculptors, and architects to the history of collecting. The symposium will examine two broad categories: the artist-collectors, e.g., Benjamin West, Charles Willson Peale, Frederic Church, William Merritt Chase, Stanford White, and Alfred Stieglitz; and the artist-advisers to individual collectors, e.g., Mary Cassatt (Henry O. and Louisine Havemeyer), Joseph Woodwell (Henry Clay Frick), and George Henry Boughton and Julian Alden Weir (Henry G. Marquand).

It is expected that the papers will weave together new material on the motivations for collecting and the cast of mind of individual artists, as they will also offer new scholarly insights into the role artists played as collecting consultants. Papers will be 40 minutes in length. The Center intends to publish the proceedings.

The symposium will take place over two days at The Frick Collection. Speakers will receive a modest honorarium and will be reimbursed for their travel and hotel expenses.

The Center for the History of Collecting in America has hosted three exceptionally successful symposia to date, and a fourth, "Collecting Spanish Art: Spain's Golden Age and America's Gilded Age," will take place in November 2008. Thus, the symposium on "The American Artist as Collector" will join the distinguished roster of events, which, combined with other programs sponsored by the Center, are reinforcing the history of collecting as a significant area of intellectual inquiry that crosses many disciplinary boundaries.

Please send the title of your paper, an abstract of 600 words, and your curriculum vitae not later than November 1, 2008, to:

Inge Reist
Director of the Center for the History of Collecting in America
Frick Art Reference Library
10 East 71st Street
New York, NY 10021

Or e-mail to, with the subject heading "Artist as Collector symposium."

Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827), The Artist in His Museum, 1822, oil on canvas, 103 3/4 x 79 7/8 inches, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Gift of Mrs. Sarah Harrison (The Joseph Harrison, Jr. Collection), 1878.1.2