Exhibiting contradiction: essays on the art museum in the by By (author) Alan Wallach

By By (author) Alan Wallach

A number one student of paintings, paintings background, and American reports considers the best way paintings museums have depicted American society and the yank previous. In heavily centred and infrequently arguable essays, Alan Wallach explores the opposing ideologies that drove the improvement of the yank paintings museum within the nineteenth century and the tensions and contradictions attribute of modern museum historical past. forty illustrations.

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When in 1848 the United States securities market declined, Corcoran successfully sold United States bonds in London and Paris. This was risky business, causing Corcoran's more conservative partner to withdraw from the firm, but in the end it brought Corcoran a bonanza. At this point Corcoran could have retired, but he stayed on until Franklin Pierce's reform-minded Treasury secretary, James Guthrie, removed the federal deposits from the firm, thus depriving it of its favored position as the nation's leading ''pet'' bank.

4 Why was this the case? By the time Rathbun wrote, the idea of a national gallery and art collection had, in one form or another, been mooted for more than a century. In 1806 Jefferson had campaigned for a national university which, as he envisioned it, would incorporate Charles Willson Peale's Philadelphia Museum. 5 Peale conceived of his museum as part scientific institute, part patriotic shrine, but his concept was not limiting; in 1789 he exhibited a collection of Italian paintings. Later American museums, conceived along similar Enlightenment lines, often also combined natural history displays with exhibitions of works of art.

Before the Civil War, notions of high art abounded: for example aristocratic connoisseur-collectors like Philip Hone of New York and Robert Gilmor of Baltimore upheld a set of aesthetic criteria derived from British writings on aesthetics and from the study of European collections. (Gilmor, in a famous series of letters, disputed aesthetic theory with the artist Thomas Cole; elsewhere in his correspondence we find him complaining that Luman Reed, the nouveau-riche New York collector who, in the early 1830s, commissioned work from Cole, Asher B.

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