At the Frick, A Focus on the Collector as Art History

By Leon Neyfakh .November 17, 2009. The New York Observer.

Inge Reist’s father was not interested in the subject of money. A medievalist in the comp lit department at Columbia, he reserved a “certain disdain for business and the stock market,” according to his daughter, and preferred instead to spend his time thinking about more meaningful things. “I think,” Ms. Reist said, “it was just the culture among academics to have this disdain for things that related to commerce.”

Ms. Reist began her career in the academy too, as an art history graduate student at Columbia. But since 1980, she has worked at the Frick Collection, the small but stunning museum that houses the collection of steel magnate Henry Clay Frick. In her current role at the Frick’s Art Reference Library, Ms. Reist heads a research center dedicated to a cause her father might have found questionable. Namely, she is the director of the Center for the History of Collecting in America—essentially a think tank that was established in 2007 in order to encourage scholars to pursue a field within art history that Ms. Reist and her colleagues feel has been largely overlooked by the academy.

The history of art collecting and patronage, according to Ms. Reist, is in many ways the history of art itself, and to study art from an aesthetic point of view without studying the material conditions under which it was paid for, displayed and preserved is to ignore something quite essential.

Read the rest of the article.



About Art Collecting and Investment

Providing news about art collectors, collections and investments. Including the how to's, the why's and the where's of art collecting. Wanda Pepin, Christina Madden and Elaine Frenett are all professional artists who keep up on the world of art, while creating amazing works of art themselves.
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