Journal Article

Collecting then and now

Frank Herrmann

in Journal of the History of Collections

Volume 21, issue 2, pages 263-269
Published in print November 2009 | ISSN: 0954-6650
Published online March 2009 | e-ISSN: 1477-8564 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhp010
Collecting then and now

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This paper sets out to show the generosity of spirit, particularly from the second half of the nineteenth century onwards, with which collectors in England enriched the country's museums. This was by piecemeal donations, as well as by the endowment of newly founded establishments, housing entire collections. As far as one can judge today, it was much more often a case of philanthropy than self-gratification. With a few major exceptions, it continued on a much reduced scale in recent times. The mood has changed among some giants of collecting, often those with exceptional commercial talents, for whom self-glorifying philanthropy—and tax advantages—are often the order of the day. This has been particularly true in America, where an extraordinary shift to collecting ‘contemporary’ art has until very recently dominated the scene. Self-glorification was certainly part of that pattern.

Journal Article.  4812 words. 

Subjects: Exhibition Catalogues and Specific Collections ; History of Art ; Social and Cultural History

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