Great Women Collectors

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9780810963931: Great Women Collectors

Discusses European and American women's roles in arts patronage from 1750 to the present

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From the Publisher:

Catherine the Great of Russia acquired art voraciously. Cosmetics magnate Helena Rubenstein collected African and contemporary art, miniature furniture, and Victorian glass. Coco Chanel amassed an enormous hoard of French 18th-century furniture. This fresh and fascinating volume is the first to look at women who, from 1750 to the present, have assembled significant collections of art, ceramics, jewelry, glass, furniture, textiles, and other objects. The kinds of collections these empresses, queens, socialites, actresses, and entrepreneurs assembled often differed tangibly from those of their male counterparts. The authors show how and why-and explore the obstacles the women overcame to create such important collections, many of which can be seen today in major museums. This illustrated volume is an original contribution both to the study of collecting and to women's studies. 76 illustrations, 16 in full color, 192 pages, 8 x 1055/8 " Charlotte Gere is a London-based expert in 19th-century decorative arts, and particularly in jewelry. She has written a number of books, including Abrams' Nineteenth-Century Design. Marina Vaizey was educated at Cambridge and Harvard universities. She has been an art critic at The Sunday Times (London) for 18 years and serves as a trustee of several museums. Vaizey has curated a number of exhibitions and written many exhibition catalogues.

From the Inside Flap:

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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