New Book | Revolutionary Paris and the Market for Netherlandish Art

Posted in books by Editor on December 8, 2017

From Brill:

Darius Spieth, with a foreword by Marc Fumaroli, Revolutionary Paris and the Market for Netherlandish Art (Leiden: Brill, 2017), 514 pages, ISBN: 978 90043 36988, €116 / $134.

Seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish paintings were aesthetic, intellectual, and economic touchstones in the Parisian art world of the Revolutionary era, but their importance within this framework, while frequently acknowledged, has never attracted much subsequent attention. Darius Spieth’s Revolutionary Paris and the Market for Netherlandish Art reveals the dominance of ‘Golden Age’ pictures in the artistic discourse and sales transactions before, during, and after the French Revolution. A broadly based statistical investigation, undertaken as part of this study, shows that the upheaval reduced prices for Netherlandish paintings by about 55% compared to the Old Regime and that it took until after the July Revolution of 1830 for art prices to return where they stood before 1789.

Darius A. Spieth, PhD University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is Professor of Art History at Louisiana State University. He is the editor of the Grove Guide to Art Markets and Collecting (forthcoming), and author of Napoleon’s Sorcerers: The Sophisians (2007).


Foreword by Marc Fumaroli
List of Illustrations
A Note on Currencies

1 From Eyesores to Blue Chip Art
Origins of the Parisian Marketplace for Netherlandish Painting
Art Publications and the Dissemination of Information
France as International Tastemaker for Golden Age Art After 1740
Royal Collections and Northern Masters, 1777–1792
The Twilight of the Auction Business, 1775–1825
The Fate of Golden Age Art Under Terror and Inflation
The Louvre and the ‘Artistic Conquests’ in Belgium and the Netherlands
The Post-Revolutionary Market for Netherlandish Art
The Expanding Mass Market for Copies and the Rise of the Bourgeoisie
Golden Age Art and Popular Culture
Netherlandish versus Italian Art
The Parisian Apartment: A Bourgeois Space for Art

2  On the Art of Surviving the Revolution: Jean-Baptiste Pierre Lebrun
Art Dealer to the Ancien Régime’s Elite, 1776–1789
Painful Adjustments, 1789–1795
Co-Conspirator of Jacques-Louis David, 1792–1794
From The Ministry of Finance to the Louvre, 1794–1799
A Long Good-Bye from the Louvre, 1799–1803
A Difficult Comeback as Dealer-Expert, 1801–1804
Deceptions of the Napoleonic Age, 1807–1813

3  A Long Good Bye to the Palais Royal: The Northern Pictures in the Orléans Collection
The Art Collections in the Palais Royal until 1780
Inside the Art Deal of the Century
The Netherlandish Pictures of the Palais Royal Collection
A Look Inside the Galeries De Bois

4  Liberty’s Toll on Beauty’s Price
Myths and Realities of the Parisian Auction Market in the 1790s
Turnover of the Parisian Art Auction Market and its Economic Context, ca. 1775–1850
The Evolution of Prices for Netherlandish Art in Revolutionary Paris
Bidding Wars: The Picture Trade with Great Britain
The ‘Guilty Industry’ and Netherlandish Art

5  Netherlandish Art in France: A History of Taste and Money across Three Centuries
Poussinists versus Rubenists
The Marquis D’argens and Academic Prejudices Against Northern Art
The Re-Evaluation of Netherlandish Aesthetics from David to Thoré
The Politicization of Nehterlandish Art in the Nineteenth Century
Class, Taste, and the First Art Price Rankings

Photograph Credits

Frick Acquires Gérard’s Portrait of Prince Camillo Borghese

Posted in museums by Editor on December 8, 2017

Press release (5 December 2017) from The Frick Collection:

François-Pascal-Simon Gérard, Camillo Borghese, ca. 1810, oil on canvas, 84 x 55 (New York: The Frick Collection).

The Frick Collection announces its most important painting purchase since 1991 with the acquisition of François-Pascal-Simon Gérard’s full-length portrait of Prince Camillo Borghese, a notable art patron and the brother-in-law of Napoleon Bonaparte. Gérard (1770–1837) was one of the most significant French artists of the first half of the nineteenth century, and this stunning canvas will coalesce seamlessly with the museum’s holdings, which until now have not included his work. Chronologically, the painting sits between the museum’s French masterpieces by Boucher and Fragonard and later works by Ingres, Renoir, Monet, and Manet, while joining contemporaneous portraits by Chinard and David. It will, likewise, find good company in major works of portraiture by Bronzino, Rembrandt, Titian, Holbein, Van Dyck, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Romney, and Hogarth, Goya, and Whistler. Following conservation and technical study this winter and spring at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Prince Camillo Borghese will go on view at the Frick later in 2018.

Comments Chairman of the Board of Trustees Elizabeth Eveillard, “The Frick’s holdings, as a group, have been compared to a necklace assembled one precious pearl at a time. The sentiment reflects the modest scale of the collection born of its founder’s individual taste, balanced by the absolute requirement of quality. Just as Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919) made a series of unrushed choices, the growth of the collection in nearly one hundred years since his passing has been steady but measured, including sculpture and decorative arts, always meeting the criteria of high quality. With this striking painting, coming to the Frick with an unbroken provenance from the Borghese family, still on its original, unlined canvas, and in its original frame, the Frick has found a rare masterpiece to harmonize with its esteemed holdings.” Adds Director Ian Wardropper, “The last opportunity the Frick had to purchase a major French School painting was nearly thirty years ago, with the acquisition of Watteau’s Portal of Valenciennes. Today, it is deeply rewarding to have the rare opportunity to bring to the museum such an important work as this one, a historic portrait we feel would have compelled Henry Clay Frick. While the portrait has been shown in Rome, it has never been seen publicly in America. We look forward to sharing it in the atmospheric setting of the former Frick residence and among equally well chosen works.”

About the Artist, Portraitist to the Bonaparte Family

Gérard studied with the painter Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825), becoming one of his most talented pupils. At the time of the French Revolution, Gérard produced a number of historic paintings, including his celebrated Belisarius and Cupid and Psyche. In 1796, he painted a portrait of his friend the miniaturist Jean-Baptiste Isabey (1767–1855) and his daughter (all three works can be seen at the Musée du Louvre, Paris). The latter work marked Gérard’s public success as portraitist, and it soon became the primary genre in which he worked. With the advent of Napoleon, the artist found enormous favor with the emperor and his immediate family. Made a Baron of the Empire in 1809, Gérard exhibited a vast number of portraits at the various Paris Salon exhibitions almost every year during the first quarter of the nineteenth century. Even after the fall of Napoleon, in 1815, Gérard’s stellar career continued under the Bourbon Restoration in France.

Gérard’s role as portraitist to the Bonaparte family was the apex of his career. From the early 1800s until the fall of the empire in 1815, he portrayed most members of the imperial family, works that are today highlights of major collections internationally. These include Napoleon in coronation robes (Château de Versailles), his mother, Letizia Ramolino (Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh), and the Empress Josephine (Hermitage, Saint Petersburg). Napoleon’s brothers Joseph and Louis, brother-in-law Joachim Murat, sisters Elisa and Caroline, and sister-in-law Hortense de Beauharnais also sat at different times for him. The Metropolitan Museum of Art owns large portraits by Gérard of Madame Talleyrand and her celebrated husband, politician Charles Maurice de Talleyrand Périgord.

The Borghese Family: Aristocratic Collectors and Patrons of the Arts

Camillo Borghese was born to one of the most important families of the Roman aristocracy. The family acquired substantial works of fine and decorative arts, patronizing sculptor Giovan Lorenzo Bernini in the seventeenth century and figures such as the silversmith and decorator Luigi Valadier in the eighteenth century. They were also interested in antiquities, and today their collection remains the foundation of the Greek and Roman holdings of the Musée du Louvre. Also a patron of the arts, Prince Borghese is most famously remembered for commissioning from Antonio Canova a full-length sculpture of his wife in the nude, as Victorious Venus. One of the best-known and beloved sculptures in Rome from the moment it was carved, this marble statue of Paolina Borghese is today one of the glories of Villa Borghese.

The family was known for its Napoleonic sympathies, and Camillo moved to Paris in 1796. In 1803 he married Napoleon’s favorite sister, Paolina Bonaparte (1780–1825). It was a tempestuous marriage. At first, the couple lived in gilded splendor between Paris and Rome, where they refurbished the apartments of Camillo’s parents in the Palazzo Borghese; however, they soon became estranged and each took lovers. Paolina was still officially at her husband’s side when, in February 1808, Napoleon effectively put him in charge of Piedmont, Liguria, Parma, and Piacenza. Camillo and Paolina moved from Paris to Turin in April of that year and lived between the Piedmontese capital, Paris, and Rome until April 1814. In 1808, when Camillo and Paolina moved to Turin, they shipped most of the paintings, sculptures, silver, and porcelain from the Palazzo Borghese in Rome to their new residence. In 1814, they returned to Rome, and an inventory drafted on April 25, 1814—lists a portrait of the prince, likely this one, which has become the official and most famous image of him, and is understood from the iconography in the work to have been painted around 1810 in Paris.

Call for Essays | American Art and Economics

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on December 8, 2017

Special Issue of American Art: Economics, Money, and the Art Market
Edited by John Ott and Robin Veder

Proposals due by 1 February 2018; final MSS will be due 1 September 2018

American Art, the peer-reviewed journal co-published by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the University of Chicago Press, invites historians of American art to answer the question, “What do we talk about when we talk about economics, money, and the art market?” In the spirit of the October Visual Culture questionnaire, replies may address any or all of the following questions and should take the form of brief position papers rather than intensive case studies. In the historiography of American art history, what shifts have we seen in ways of thinking about artistic production, the art market, and the visual cultures of economics? When we study financial systems, institutions, instruments, and objects, do we examine them in relation to economic power and social class, or in relation to other social phenomena, and why? To what extent have economic forces such as the art market and institutional funding shaped the field of American art, whether in terms of the objects and inquiries we pursue and neglect, or with regard to the vocabulary we use and avoid?

For consideration, submit abstracts of 250–500 words by February 1, 2018. The organizers, John Ott, professor of art history at James Madison University, and Robin Veder, executive editor of American Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, will review submissions and encourage selected authors to submit full manuscripts for further consideration. These should be 1,500–2,500 words including endnotes, with 1–4 images, and will be due by September 1, 2018. The journal will evaluate the manuscripts and select some for publication in a 2019 issue of American Art. Accepted authors will workshop the manuscripts together before final revision. Submit abstracts to americanartjournal@si.edu. For other inquiries, contact John Ott at ottjw@jmu.edu.

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