Exhibition Past

The years between 1880 and the outbreak of the Second World War were a golden age of international art dealing when, as a result of the break-up of the great collections of the European aristocracy and the rise of a new plutocracy with unprecedented buying power and a great appetite for art, extraordinary masterpieces came on to the art market in a way not seen since the Napoleonic era. 

Many of these found their way across the Atlantic into the hands of collectors such as Isabella Stewart Gardner, Henry Clay Frick, Andrew Mellon, and Arabella and Henry Huntington, whose collections were turned into private museums, or, in the case of Andrew Mellon, P.A.B Widener and Samuel Kress, laid the foundations of the great US public museums, passing through the hands of networks of dealers, decorators, advisers and other intermediaries.

Colnaghi’s two-day symposium in the gallery at 26 Bury Street examined this extraordinary chapter in the history of the art market. Talks drew upon the expertise of some of the most distinguished scholars in the field from the Getty Research Institute, the Warburg Institute, the Sorbonne and other leading academic institutions. Themes and topics explored included the development of transatlantic art-dealing partnerships such as Knoedler and Colnaghi and the ways in which their businesses were financed through joint accounts; the role played by antique dealers Charles Duveen, Edouard Jonas and Jacques Seligmann, the architect Richard Morris Hunt and the furniture-making firm of Alfred Beurdeleys in supplying the furnishings for the plutocratic mansions of the Gilded Age; J. Pierpont Morgan as a collector of Italian gold-ground paintings; the taste for malachite in the Gilded Age; the career of William P. Moore as a dealer in Asian art and the influence on the contemporary silver produced by Tiffany’s; Kenneth Clark’s role as an adviser to Calouste Gulbenkian; Buenos Aires in the Gilded Age; and dealing in and collecting ‘classic’ modern French art in the interwar period.


Tickets were obtained through a donation to the Colnaghi Foundation. Drinks and light refreshments were provided. Online attendees were emailed a watch link, ahead of the conference.

To request a timeline of talks, tickets, or for more information, please email: shortcourse@colnaghifoundation.org


09:00-09:30 Registration

09:30-9:40 Welcome

09:40-09:50 Introduction to the Symposium (Professor Jeremy Howard, Head of Academic Projects, Colnaghi)

AM | The Gilded Age Art Market-Early Years

09:50-10:20 Dr Barbara Bryant (Independent Art Historian), “An Ambitious Dealer”: Stephen Gooden at 57 Pall Mall in the 1890s

10:25-10:55 Dr Elisa Camporeale (Istituto Lorenzo de’Medici), ‘Against the Mainstream’: Morgan’s Primitives

10:55-11:15 Coffee

‘Gilded Interiors’: antique dealers, decorators, and architects in the Gilded Age

11:15-11:45 Adriana Turpin (IESA), Charles Duveen and the Furnishing of Coe Hall, Oyster Bay

11:50-12:20 Sam Watters (independent author and columnist), Richard Morris Hunt: Gilding the American Interior - The furnishing and supply of works of art for William K Vanderbilt House

12:25-1:00 Discussion

PM |Transatlantic partnerships and American Collecting

2:15 – 2:45 Dr Camille Mesdagh, Alfred Beurdeley - The Transatlantic expansion of a Parisian furniture maker and dealership in the 1890s

2:50-3:20 Dr Barbara Lasic (Sothebys Institute), A transatlantic hybrid: Edouard Jonas (1883-1961), Art Dealer and Curator

3:25-3:55 Dr Rebecca Tilles, An Exceptional Transatlantic Partnership - Seligmann and Co and George and Florence Blumenthal

4:00-4:20 Tea Break

4:25-4:55 Dr Anne Helmreich (Associate Director, Getty Foundation) and Dr Sandra van Ginhoven (Head, Project for the Study of Collecting and Provenance, Getty Research Institute), Unsettled Accounts: Joint ownership in the transatlantic art trade during the Gilded Age

5:00-5:45 Closing Discussion



09:00-09.30 Coffee and Registration

09:30-9:40 Welcome

09:40-09:50 Introduction to the second day of the conference (Professor Jeremy Howard, Head of Academic Projects, Colnaghi)

AM The Later Gilded Age

09:50-10:20 Dr Louise Arizzoli, A Gilded Age Collector: James Hazen Hyde (1876-1959) and the European Art Market (Paris, London, Rome)

10:25-10:55 Moira Ferguson (Tiffany Archives), William P. Moore, Tiffany’s and the New York Art Market

10:55-11:20 Coffee

Wider shores: The Gilded Age in Russia and Latin America

11:25-11:55 Dr Ludmilla Budrina, Demidoff malachites after the Demidoff era: Dealers, collectors, and the taste for malachites, in the Gilded Age art market

12-12:30 Florencia Rodríguez Giavarini (Universidad del Salvador, Buenos Aires), Buenos Aires in the Gilded Age. A Modern Metropolis Clings to Remnants of the Past

Adriana Turpin will compere questions for the morning session

12:30-13:00 Discussion

PM Young Scholars Research Forum

2:00-3:00 Three current PhD students present short papers (15-20 minutes each) based on their research

Paper 1: Sarah Coviello (PhD Candidate, Warburg Institute), The Art Market in the Gilded Age between London and Paris: Kenneth Clark as an Art Adviser to Calouste Gulbenkian

Paper 2: Susana Garcia (PhD candidate, Pantheon-Sorbonne), Collecting art from the Ancient Americas. Dealers and collectors between Paris, London and the United States at the turn of the 20th century 

Paper 3: Flaminia Ferito, (PhD Candidate, PhD Student in Analysis and Management of Cultural Heritage, IMT – School for Advanced Studies Lucca), The dispersal of cultural property from the suppressed monasteries and convents in and near Rome: the case of the ciborium from the Church of Santo Stefano, Rome and its acquisition by the Metropolitan Museum, New York in 1909

The Later Gilded Age and Beyond

3:05-3:35 Dr Elizabeth Pergam, William F Davidson and the Westward Expansion of M. Knoedler & Co

3:40-4:10 Professor Robert Jensen (University of Kentucky), Beyond the Gilded Age: The Market for 'classic French modern' art during the Interwar Period