This paper explores the dispersal of the collection of decorative arts of the dealer and collector Frédéric Spitzer and its success among German collections and museums. It outlines a vivid depiction of the 19th century art collecting practices, offering clues to the role played by the dispersal of artworks and artefacts in shaping canons of taste and value together with museums’ authorities. Experts from all over Europe could not miss the opportunity to get their hands on some of Spitzer’s celebrated treasures being put on sale in 1893. The sale was soon heralded as the “Sale of the Century”. Making an acquisition from the Spitzer collection was regarded as invaluable investment. Although in 1893 a few critical voices arose out of the general acclaim much of the contemporary accounts were uncritical, building up the “myth” of the Spitzer collection as an unparalleled collection of decorative arts. Sitting alongside the collector George Salting, Wilhelm von Bode attended the auction on behalf of the German museums, with the goal of making his country a leader in the international world of museums. Bode was ideal for this role as he had known Spitzer since 1870s. He also enjoyed Spitzer’s personal trust within his broader circle of scholars. Events related to the Spitzer’s sale witness how German curators were able and buy key artworks for their museums, applying a kind of combination of private and public funds. The role of private collectors in the sale is tough to fully understand given fluid borders between private and public interests.

Art for Sale and Display: German Acquisitions from the Spitzer Collection “Sale of the Century”

Cordera
2020

Abstract

This paper explores the dispersal of the collection of decorative arts of the dealer and collector Frédéric Spitzer and its success among German collections and museums. It outlines a vivid depiction of the 19th century art collecting practices, offering clues to the role played by the dispersal of artworks and artefacts in shaping canons of taste and value together with museums’ authorities. Experts from all over Europe could not miss the opportunity to get their hands on some of Spitzer’s celebrated treasures being put on sale in 1893. The sale was soon heralded as the “Sale of the Century”. Making an acquisition from the Spitzer collection was regarded as invaluable investment. Although in 1893 a few critical voices arose out of the general acclaim much of the contemporary accounts were uncritical, building up the “myth” of the Spitzer collection as an unparalleled collection of decorative arts. Sitting alongside the collector George Salting, Wilhelm von Bode attended the auction on behalf of the German museums, with the goal of making his country a leader in the international world of museums. Bode was ideal for this role as he had known Spitzer since 1870s. He also enjoyed Spitzer’s personal trust within his broader circle of scholars. Events related to the Spitzer’s sale witness how German curators were able and buy key artworks for their museums, applying a kind of combination of private and public funds. The role of private collectors in the sale is tough to fully understand given fluid borders between private and public interests.
Florence, Berlin and Beyond: Late Nineteenth-Century Art Markets and Their Social Networks
978-90-04-41990-2
19th century Collectors, 19th century Collections, Frédéric Spitzer, Sale of the Century, Decorative Arts, German Museums, Wilhelm Bode
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/1145026
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