young woman, seen from behind, wearing brilliant gold dress, playing a lute

Buying Baroque: Italian Seventeenth-Century Paintings Come to America

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.

Edited by Edgar Peters Bowron

Publisher: The Center for the History of Collecting with Penn State University Press, 2017

Hardcover, 8 × 10 in., 200 pages, 43 color illustrations, 15 black-and-white illustrations
Price: 
$69.95
Member Price: 
$62.96