very much in the vanguard of new industrial developments and a modern organization of industry
and labor; in the social sense, Isabella Stewart
Gardner was very much in the avant-garde of feminine behavior. And in the artistic sense, the paintings all three collected represented a modernist
sensibility in their colors, compositions, stylistic
treatment, and organization of elements. By reaching far back into the past, as Henry James advised
Americans to do, and by "'pick[ing] and
choos[ing] and assimilat[ing] and in short (aesthetically and culturally) claim[ing] our property
wherever we find it,'" collectors of Botticelli and
early Renaissance art encouraged a daring and
radical taste. In doing so, they added strength to
the Modern movement.
For permission to consult and quote from the Bernard Berenson Archive at Villa I Tatti, The Harvard
University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence, Italy, I am grateful to Dr. Cecil Anrep and Erich Linder, literary executors of the Berenson estate.
I am also grateful to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for permission to examine the Gardner correspondence in microfilm at the Archives of American
Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. The Pierpont Morgan Library in New York City, the Philadelphia Museum of Art (J. G. Johnson Papers), the Vose Galleries of Boston, the Houghton Library at Harvard University, and the American Academy in Rome
have also provided me with welcome assistance during
the course of my research. I am particularly grateful to
the Smithsonian Institution's Fluid Research Fund for
a grant enabling me to continue my researches in Europe.
E. Wharton, In Old New York, New York, 1924, 1-74.
For the popularity of Raphael, see
D. A. Brown, Raphael in America, Washington, D.C, 1983.
Among the numerous studies of the British PreRaphaelites that may be consulted, see T. Hilton, The
Pre-Raphaelites, New York and London, 1970; and The
Tate Gallery, The Pre-Raphaelites, London, 1984. For
the Pre-Raphaelite ideal of womanly beauty, see G. Pollock
D. Cherry, "Woman as Sign in Pre-Raphaelite Literature: The Representation of Elizabeth Siddall," in
G. Pollock, Vision and Difference: Femininity,
Feminism, and Histories of Art, London and New York, 1988, 91-114.
See F. Spalding, Magnificent Dreams: Burne-Jones
and the Late Victorians, Oxford, 1978, for brief discussion and illustrations of the many late-Victorian British artists who shared the PRB emphasis on aesthetics
and the early Renaissance feminine image.
Hilton (as in n. 3), 126-28.
A. Vallance, "The Invention of Aubrey Beardsley," Magazine of Art, 1898, 367.
When paintings by the British Pre-Raphaelites
were first exhibited in Boston at the Athenaeum Gallery in 1858, they were characterized as "barbarous
and ugly," and their "harsh and discordant" colors
were considered "peculiar to the English ideal of excellence. . . ." Later, some Boston collectors, such as Martin Brimmer, under the influence of Ruskin and Charles Eliot Norton, acquired PRB paintings, and
Mrs. Gardner owned a small piece by Rossetti. Generally speaking, however, the French Barbizon painters
dominated American collections at this time. One of
the foremost collectors of British mid-nineteenth-century art was Frederick Layton whose Layton Gallery
became the core of the Milwaukee Museum of Art. His
collection, however, consisted of paintings by the less
radical British painters working in a conventional
mode of landscape and rural genre in the 1830s and
'40s. See Dwight Journal of Music, May 8, 1856, 46; P. Hoyle
, "A Climate for Art," in The History of the Boston
Athenaeum Gallery, 1827-1873, Boston, 1980, 17; L. B. Miller
, "The Milwaukee Art Museum's Founding
Father: Frederick Layton (1827-1919) and His Collection,"
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: The Italian Presence in American Art, 1860-1920.
Contributors: Irma B. Jaffe - Editor.
Publisher: Fordham University Press.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 1992.
Page number: 19.
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