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Small Apartments and Big Dreams: Print Collecting in the Fin de Siècle

Théophile Alexandre Steinlen, The Street, poster for the printer Charles Verneau (1896), color lithograph on wove paper, image 234.5 x 296 cm, sheet 242 x 299 cm. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, purchased with support from the BankGiro Loterij.

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which opened in 1973, has been collecting French fin-de-siècle prints since 2000, when it purchased around 800 prints and artists’ books from Richard Feldhaus, a German private collector. The print department now holds some 1,800 works from this period …Read More

Postermania: Advertising, Domesticated

Alphonse Mucha, Gismonda (1894-1895), lithograph in five colors on two sheets, 213 x 75 cm. Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

On 1 January 1895, when Alphonse Mucha’s poster depicting Sarah Bernhardt in the title role of Gismonda appeared for the first time on the hoardings of Paris, it caused a sensation. The strange name of this mysterious artist was suddenly on everyone’s lips, and eager collectors snatched Gismonda off the walls. …Read More

An Artist Collects

Scheuchzer, Physica Sacra, Genesis, Tab. II, after designs by Johann Melchior Fussli (ca. 1731), engraving, 13 3/4 x 9 inches. Collection of the author.

I attended college in Main Line Philadelphia, not far from the former location of the Barnes Foundation, which I visited frequently. I recognized in the Barnes collection not only the magnificence of its holdings …Read More

Secrets of the Real Thing: Building a Collection as a Graduate Student

Fig. 1. Embellissements de Paris. – Percement de la butte des Moulins avec l’ouverture de l’avenue Napoléon, perpendiculaire à la façade du nouvel Opéra et aboutissant au Théâtre-Français. Vue prise de la Toiture du foyer du nouvel Opéra [Embellishments of Paris. – Piercing of the Butte des Moulins with the opening of the Napoleon Avenue, perpendicular to the façade of the new Opera and leading to the French theater. View taken from the foyer roof of the new Opera], reproduced from Le Monde Illustré, 27 March 1869.

I never intended to be a collector. As a doctoral candidate in art history working on Honoré Daumier and Haussmannization, I thought I would be able to do most of my image research with online databases …Read More

To Serve the Common Good: The Grinnell College Art Collection

Installation view: “Crossing the Line: Selections from the Grinnell College Art Collection,” Faulconer Gallery, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA, 2017.

Grinnell College, a highly ranked private institution in central Iowa, was founded by abolitionists in 1846. This foundation in civil rights continues to inform its mission: the college aims to prepare its students to “serve the common good” and work toward social justice. …Read More

A Socially Acceptable Form of Addiction

Tom Huck, Dollar Dance (2001), woodcut, 52 x 38 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Print collecting is a socially acceptable form of addiction. It can come to dominate one’s life, demanding time, travel and money. So it has been with us, since shortly after we married in 1959. As newlyweds we lived in northern New Jersey while John was in the Army, and we spent time in New York City exploring the art scene …Read More

Collecting a Life

View of the author’s collection installed in the entrance gallery of her New York apartment. From left to right: Robert Rauschenberg, Silkscreen #3 from The Seat of Authority (1979), screenprint, 30 5/8 x 23 1/8 inches; Jasper Johns, Untitled (Coca Cola) (1971), lithograph, 39 x 29 1/2 inches; Robert Motherwell, Pauillac #3 (1973), lithograph and screenprint, 35 5/8 x 18 1/4 inches; Robert Motherwell, Pauillac #4 (1973), lithograph, screenprint and collage, 35 3/8 x 18 1/4 inches. Below, in acrylic display case: Lynne Allen, Ita ta Win Bag (2003), photolithograph on 19th-century goatskin land document, linen thread, horsehair tassel, collaged square, leather hanger, approximately 6 x 4 x 3 inches. Photo: Elliott Mickleburgh.

Collectors always remember their first purchase. When I was a college senior, I bought a small oil painting, Boat in Harbor, by a sophomore named Barbara Gerson for $30. She needed spending money and I wanted to help her …Read More

Norman Ackroyd’s Collectors

Norman Ackroyd, Inishbofin Sound (2005), etching, 18 x 26.5 cm.

Like Jacques Callot and Hercules Segers, Norman Ackroyd’s primary identity is as an etcher. Copper and acid are his native media. He works in oil sometimes, in watercolor often; he has produced steel and bronze etched reliefs for buildings, recycling the beauties of the copper plate on a monumental scale …Read More