Art History and Its Institutions: Foundations of a Discipline

By Elizabeth Mansfield | Go to book overview

9

TRADESMEN AS SCHOLARS

Interdependencies in the study and exchange of art 1

Ivan Gaskell

In today's art world scholars and dealers seem, on the face of it, to occupy spheres that scarcely intersect. Many scholars avoid contact with dealers and auction house staff, known collectively as “the trade.” Some scholars feel ill at ease in what they perceive as the socially forbidding ambience of commercial old master galleries, preferring emulsion and denim to damask and pin stripes. Many feel far less exposed on a concrete campus than in Bond Street or the upper east side. Some give their unease a political explanation, seeing dealers and auction house specialists as commercial fetishists and the toadies of plutocrats. Be this as it may, the interests of every participant in the art world, whether abstruse theorist or rank salesman, are intimately intertwined. 2

The matter that concerns the trade most urgently is attribution, for a work that is supposed to be by a given artist, but is not, is worth infinitely less than a work that actually is by that artist. Who has the right to decide? Right has nothing to do with it, for this concerns the mechanisms of capitalism. Those who decide are those who can command confidence, irrespective of an often fugitive truth. Thus although there might well have been an oeuvre created firsthand by, for example, Rembrandt van Rijn, it remains in practice beyond our grasp, while each generation, by means of its own chosen scholarly means, defines for itself the Rembrandt oeuvre it deserves.

The structure of academic and museum scholarship, with its ostensibly disinterested stance, is the supposed guarantor of probity and the honest search for that unattainable but much-to-be-desired truth. Yet that structure of scholarship is closely allied to the dictates of the publishing industry. Together they ensure that competition among scholars for oracular status with regard to attributions to any given artist is minimal. Repetition or mere refinement of an existing catalogue raisonné will neither launch nor sustain a scholarly career. Neither would a publisher see any advantage in offering a second, third or fourth catalogue raisonné of the works of all but those artists perceived as truly great, complex, or controversial, unless it promises to render its predecessors obsolete. Therefore individual scholars who have demonstrated a particularly thorough engagement with the works of a single artist can easily become the

-146-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Art History and Its Institutions: Foundations of a Discipline
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 329

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.