For Collectors of the Fine and Decorative Arts

Features From Previous Issues

Essay: The Winnerless Game

Among the few items remaining in Marcel Duchamp’s studio after he quit painting in 1914 was an unmounted coat rack that tripped him up whenever he passed. Rather than nailing it to the wall where it belonged, one day he fixed it to the floor and, declaring it a readymade, dubbed it Trébuchet. Continue reading

Talking Pictures: Curatorial Logic

On June 27 the Cleveland Museum of Art officially opened its much-anticipated East Wing, the second of four stages in an ongoing $350 million expansion and renovation project, designed and supervised by the New York-based Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly. Continue reading

Collecting: Textiles That Talk

“If you’re a modern art collector, you can squint your eyes and say, ‘Jasper Johns,’” says John Monsky. He’s referring to the array of antique American flags that festoon the walls of his Manhattan apartment. And it’s true: Flags make a strong graphic statement and have great Pop art appeal. But Monsky, who is general counsel at an investment firm and an avid history buff, is most excited by the stories woven into these pieces of cloth. Continue reading

Collecting: Land of Enchantment

On Sept. 4, 1898, two young artists, Bert Geer Phillips and Ernest L. Blumenschein, were driving a horse and wagon from Denver to Mexico, in search of scenery to paint. They lost a wheel not far south of the Colorado border into New Mexico, and flipped a coin to see who would have to walk to the nearest town and replace it. Continue reading

Traveling Collector: Hungarian Rhapsody

Many cities around the world have had the dubious fortune of living through “interesting times,” as the old saying goes. But what makes Budapest unique is that its tumultuous past is still writ large across the city’s face. Forged in 1873 from Buda and Pest, two separate towns that faced each other across a bend in the Danube, practically every vista in this beautiful metropolis seems to offer a lesson in cultural history. Continue reading

Books: Venetian Finds

Perhaps it is just coincidence. Or maybe deeper forces are at work to cause two novels built around paintings by Giovanni and Gentile Bellini to be published at the same time—and by the same publisher. It’s not entirely baffling, though; if one were writing a novel about the fate of an Old Master painting, one would do well to pick a Venetian one. Continue reading

Traveling Collector: Pleasures of Parma

Parma—the name alone conjures a feast for the senses. Great wheels of pungent Parmigiano Reggiano and haunches of glistening pink prosciutto are universally known by the city’s name. But there’s a lot more to Parma than cheese and ham. Historic art treasures and a lively contemporary scene make this charming small city (population 170,000) in Italy’s Emilia Romagna region a pleasure for the eye and mind as well as the palate. Continue reading

Books: Photos Trouvés

There might appear to be a great, even unbridgeable, distance between the perfectly composed, austerely graceful black-and-white photographs of Walker Evans and the colorized postcard views that were printed by the millions and mailed all over America in the early decades of the 20th century. But Evans, who began amassing postcards as a 12-year-old boy and kept at it his whole life, didn’t see it that way. Continue reading

Film: Pursuit of Happiness

A New York Times headline dubbed them the “In Couple,” and they are among theGreat Collectors of Our Time, according to the recently published survey of postwar collecting by James Stourton, chairman of Sotheby’s U.K. But Herbert and Dorothy Vogel, who in 1992 became major benefactors of the National Gallery of Art, are neither hotshot jet-setters nor old-money socialites. Continue reading

From the Editor: Instant Art

“Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome away,” sang Paul Simon back in 1973. Thirty-six years later, in the midst of a digital revolution, Kodachrome is still with us—barely—but lovers of Polaroid are crooning a similar tune. The iconic instant film went out of production in 2008, and remaining supplies are dwindling fast. Continue reading