Old Master Paintings in America 1900–1914
Flaminia Gennari Santori
The book is an investigation of American collecting between 1900 and 1914 and of the impact of transatlantic displacements and mass media on the public's perception of old master paintings.
Rather than a consideration of single collectors or the itineraries of their acquisitions, this is an analysis of the political, cultural, and social implications of the phenomenon and how it functioned within American society and in relation to Europe. Retrieved is the New York milieu of journalists, political commentators, and "tastemasters" who constructed a journalistic genre, a means of collective identification, and an instrument of personal strategy around the arrival of old master paintings in America. These actors rapidly and effectively turned the acquisition of old masters into a national cultural act, which this text places in a larger narrative that involves issues of national identity and cultural definition.