The MasterBlog: My dealer, saint and sinner - The Economist.com
Subscribe to The MasterBlog in a Reader Subscribe to The MasterBlog by Email

MasterBlogs Headlines

Saturday, September 1, 2007

My dealer, saint and sinner - The Economist.com

Economist.com:


Economist.com




Art.view

My dealer, saint and sinner
Sep 1st 2007
From Economist.com


Profile: The Wildensteins, a power before Picasso


LEGEND maintains that in 1918 Picasso lashed out at his dealer, saying, “Le marchand - voilà l’ennemi!” As Picasso, a shrewd operator, knew only too well, dealers can be aggravatingly powerful. They are the saints of the art world—supporting struggling artists, shining a light on unacknowledged genius, exemplifying the highest standards of scholarship and connoisseurship; and also the sinners, accused of every possible skulduggery in pursuit of a higher price for their artists and a higher profit for themselves.

The dealer who bore the brunt of Picasso’s wrath was called Léonce Rosenberg. His silent partner at the time, in what was to become an historic deal with the artist, was Georges Wildenstein.

The Wildenstein name was already well-known in the art world. Nathan Wildenstein, an exile from Alsace, established a dealership in Paris in the late 1870s founded on his passion for French 18th-century painting—Fragonard, Boucher, Chardin, David, de la Tour and others. The son of a family of horse dealers, who had left school early, Nathan developed his eye studying masterpieces in the Louvre. Within 20 years he had a collection of French, Dutch, Italian and Spanish old masters to rival the Rothschilds' and the Gulbenkians'.

He saw that the real money in fine art was to be made not in Europe, catering to a declining aristocracy, but in America. In 1903 he and a partner opened a gallery on Fifth Avenue where they became indispensable advisors to financiers, industrialists and celebrities including Rockefeller, Mellon, Morgan, Frick, Bache, Lehman, and Edward G. Robinson.

Nathan's son, Georges, expanded the firm’s interests from old masters to impressionists and post-impressionists, nurturing the reputations of figures such as Manet, Degas, Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Pissarro, and Sisley, and establishing long-term relationships with artists such as Picasso. The holdings of impressionist art in American museums and galleries owe much to the Wildensteins’ work in shaping the taste, and sourcing the art, of several generations of philanthropic collectors.

Georges Wildenstein became an acknowledged scholar of Western art, writing many books and founding the Gazette des Beaux Arts, France’s longest-established and poshest arts journal. His son Daniel, who died in 2001, formalised the family’s scholarly interests by setting up a Wildenstein Institute in Paris in 1970. The institute runs conferences and publishes catalogues raisonnés, including the founder’s own 36-year labour of love on Monet.

For all its grandeur, Wildenstein has kept up with the times. In 1993 it teamed up with Pace, a firm specialising in post-modern and contemporary work, to launch a joint venture called Pace Wildenstein. The gallery deals in blue-chip modern artists from Picasso, Alexander Calder and Josef Albers, through Mark Rothko and Sol LeWitt and Donald Judd, to Fiona Rae, James Turrell and Keith Tyson.


Black square


The Wildensteins famously guard their privacy, but their name has made the headlines involuntarily now and again. In 1991 the family sued an author who claimed that Georges Wildenstein, though Jewish, had dealt knowingly with the Nazis in occupied Paris. In 1998 a spectacularly messy and expensive divorce made one of Daniel's sons, Alec, and his wife, Jocelyne, a mainstay of the tabloids.

Much is rumoured, but little is known for certain, about the art the Wildensteins have collected for themselves down the years. A 1973 inventory of the “vault”, or New York storeroom, was said to have included 20 Renoirs, 25 Courbets, ten Van Goghs, ten Cézannes, ten Gauguins, two Boticellis, eight Rembrandts, eight Rubens, nine El Grecos and five Tintorettos, among a total of 10,000 paintings. Not bad, if true, even for a century's work.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Commented on The MasterBlog

Tags, Categories

news United States Venezuela Finance Money Latin America Oil Current Affairs Middle East Commodities Capitalism Chavez International Relations Israel Gold Economics NT Democracy China Politics Credit Hedge Funds Banks Europe Metals Asia Palestinians Miscellaneous Stocks Dollar Mining ForEx Corruption obama Iran UK Terrorism Africa Demographics Government UN Living Bailout Military Russia Debt Tech Islam Switzerland Philosophy Judaica Science Housing PDVSA Revolution USA War petroleo Scams articles Fed Education France Canada Security Travel central_banks OPEC Castro Nuclear freedom Colombia EU Energy Mining Stocks Diplomacy bonds India drugs Anti-Semitism populism Arabs Brazil Environment Irak Saudi Arabia elections Art Cuba Food Goldman Sachs Syria Afghanistan Hamas Lebanon Silver Trade copper Anti-Israel Egypt Hizbollah Madoff Ponzi Warren Buffett press Aviation BP Euro FARC Gaza Honduras Japan Music SEC Smuggling humor socialism trading Che Guevara Freddie Mac Geneve IMF Spain Turkey currencies violence wikileaks Agriculture Bolívar ETF Restaurants Satire communism computers derivatives Al-Qaida Bubble FT Greece NY PIIGS Republicans Sarkozy Space Sports BRIC CITGO DRC Flotilla Germany Globovision Google Health Inflation Law Libya Mexico Muslim Brotherhood Nazis Pensions Peru Uranium cnbc crime cyberattack fannieMae pakistan stratfor Apollo 11 Autos BBC Bernanke CIA Chile Climate change Congo Democrats EIA Haiti Holocaust IFTTT ISIS Jordan Labor M+A New York OAS Philanthropy Shell South Africa Tufts Ukraine bitly carbon earthquake facebook racism twitter Atom BHP Beijing Business CERN CVG CapitalMarkets Congress Curaçao ECB EPA ETA Ecuador Entebbe Florida Gulf oil spill Harvard Hezbollah Human Rights ICC Kenya L'Oréal Large Hadron Collider MasterBlog Morocco Nobel Panama Paulson RIO SWF Shiites Stats Sunnis Sweden TARP Tunisia UN Watch Uganda VC Water Yen apple berksire hathaway blogs bush elderly hft iPad journalism mavi marmara nationalization psycology sex spy taxes yuan ALCASA ANC Airbus Amazon Ariel Sharon Australia Batista Bettencourt Big Bang Big Mac Bill Gates Bin Laden Blackstone Blogger Boeing COMEX Capriles Charlie Hebdo Clinton Cocoa DSK Desalination Durban EADS Ecopetrol Elkann Entrepreneur FIAT FTSE Fannie Freddie Funds GE Hayek Helicopters Higgs Boson Hitler Huntsman Ice Cream Intel Izarra KKR Keynes Khodorskovsky Krugman LBO LSE Lex Mac Malawi Maps MasterCharts MasterFeeds MasterLiving MasterMetals MasterTech Microsoft Miliband Monarchy Moon Mossad Mugabe NYSE Namibia Nestle OWS OccupyWallStreet Oman PPP Pemex Perry Philippines Post Office Private Equity Property Putin QE Rio de Janeiro Rwanda Sephardim Shimon Peres Stuxnet TMX Tennis UAV UNHRC VALE Volcker WTC WWII Wimbledon World Bank World Cup ZIRP Zapatero airlines babies citibank culture ethics foreclosures happiness history iPhone infrastructure internet jobs kissinger lahde laptops lawyers leadership lithium markets miami microfinance pharmaceuticals real estate religion startup stock exchanges strippers subprime taliban temasek ubs universities weddimg zerohedge

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

AddThis

MasterStats