Is there a difference between grabbing “the loot” as part of an imperial expedition and buying it in great quantities as the Americans did? The subtitle of Cynthia Saltzman’s Old Masters, New World (Viking, $27.95) is America’s Raid on Europe’s Great Pictures. Saltzman describes how the nouveau riche Americans (and they were very rich, many from extractive industries in the U.S.) sought out paintings in England, France, and Italy to add to their collections. “The legacy of America’s Gilded Age buying binge stretches across the country…but the beauty of the museum galleries reveals little of the rough and tumble involved in the …pursuit of pictures.” Henry Clay Frick, of course, Mrs. Gardner of Boston, the Havemeyers, whose collection adorns the Metropolitan, and J. Pierpont Morgan, with even more money, were bidding up the prices of the old masters and carting them off to the New World. This sparkling book is a must for all American museum-lovers.
Politics and Prose Bookstore 202-364-1919 Hours and Locations