The United States possesses extraordinary holdings of seventeenth-century Flemish paintings. In this pioneering and richly illustrated volume, twelve scholars and museum curators reveal the origins of these collections by examining the American approach to and interest in the collecting of Flemish art over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Chronicling in lively detail the roles played by individuals in forming private and public collections, the essays in this volume illuminate how and why collectors and museums in the United States embraced the Flemish masters with such enthusiasm. They trace how the taste for specific genres and the appreciation for certain artists, in particular Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck, changed over the years, and they explore the historical and cultural motivations behind these trends. In doing so, they consider the effect of the great bequests of Flemish paintings to American museums and examine the private collections of the main tastemakers for Flemish painting, including the Baltimore merchant Robert Gilmor; John Graver Johnson, the leading corporate lawyer of the Gilded Age; and the California oil magnate J. Paul Getty. Gorgeously illustrated with almost one hundred representative pieces, this important contribution to the scholarship on American collecting of Flemish art will interest art lovers and stimulate further research in the fields of art history and museum history.
In addition to the editor, the contributors include Ronni Baer, Adam Eaker, Lance Humphries, George S. Keyes, Margaret R. Laster, Alexandra Libby, Louisa Wood Ruby, Dennis P. Weller, Arthur K. Wheelock, Marjorie Wieseman, and Anne T. Woollett.