ISBN 13: 9780810963931


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Book by Gere Charlotte Vaizey Marina

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Catherine the Great of Russia acquired art voraciously. Cosmetics magnate Helena Rubinstein collected African and Victorian glass. Couturier Coco Chanel amassed an enormous hoard of French eighteenth-century furniture. This fascinating book offers the first-ever look at these enterprising women -- along with Madame de Pompadour, Empress Josephine, Marjorie Merriweather Post, Gertrude Stein, Mary Cassatt and Peggy Guggenheim, among others -- and tells how they assembled significant and valuable collections of art, silver, jewelry, textiles, ceramics, photography, fossils and much more.


This is the first book to be devoted to the very few women who, from 1750 to the present, have assembled significant art collections. Although many women's dowries or private fortunes were used to fund a husband's collecting activity, a few individuals took an alternative route, resulting in collections quite distinct from those of their male counterparts. This book considers how and why these women collected, and explores the obstacles they overcame to bring together the objects. It examines closely the characteristics of their collections, many of which can be seen today, sometimes in their entirety, in public museums and galleries.

In the introduction, the authors provide a general survey of the different collecting fields that appealed to women. The chapters look in detail at over thirty great women collectors, and explores how circumstance and environment affected their activities. Rather than presenting these women individually, they are grouped together according to common themes, such as 'Royal Consorts' or Twentieth-century Creators of Museums'. Accompanying illustrations portray the women, their houses and their collections.

The resulting book provides a fascinating insight into the motivations and tastes of women collectors, and is an original contribution to women's studies.

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