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Old Masters, New World

In: Historical Events

Submitted By sararenee
Words 579
Pages 3
In the Gilded Age, newly wealthy Americans began to compete for Europe’s extraordinary Old Master pictures, causing a major migration of art across the world. Old Masters, New World is a look at the cutthroat competition, financial aspect, intrigue, and double-dealing often involved in these paintings. It is also about the power of the amazing paintings that drove these collectors such as financier J. Pierpont Morgan, sugar king H. O. Havemeyer, Boston aesthete Isabella Stewart Gardner, and industrialist Henry Clay Frick. It is a great book about the arrival of the artwork of the Old Masters such as Raphael, Michelangelo, and El Greco in the United States. On one hand, it was definitely about the acquisition of Old Masters paintings from Europe by Americans. However, this book was not about artwork at all; instead, it was much more about the people who bought the art. The movement began when these extremely wealthy people bought very expensive and exquisite paintings. They bought these works of art for people to admire their wealth and taste. Old Masters New World is about the Americans of the late 19th century who found themselves interested in bringing the art of the Old Masters across the ocean. Saltzman does her best to give each of these people a voice and personality, to bring them to life for the reader. You will get to know each of these people and their histories.

While there is definitely a discussion of art, the book is much more about the world of art dealing and buying than the paintings themselves. It shows how backstabbing these dealers can be. People who bought these painting were cheated, and the competition for these works of art was outstanding. This book shows how important it was for these philanthropists to show their wealth and taste in art.
The book is very well written. It is not so organized because it goes from the past to the present in one paragraph. Cynthia Saltzman knows a lot about this class of people. She knew how they began and how their life ended. She may have written the book to show how people longed to buy these paintings, but more so on how friends competed against each other to acquire them. This book gives you a first-hand look on these people’s lives. It shows you birth, death, and how these people built their way to the top.

It gives you the realization of how much these paintings really cost. Even back in the day of this art movement, these paintings were millions and millions of dollars. The author writes so well that you can imagine how beautiful these paintings were. If you have a love for art you can understand why they paid so much for these paintings. Also as you read on she gives you a beautiful description of the mansions the people lived in. They were covered from wall to wall in works of art.

Some of the buyers did a lot of good for they’re cities. They built libraries so people could enjoy learning and reading. They put these beautiful paintings in museums so everyone could enjoy them. Even though they were very wealthy, they didn’t seem snooty. They just wanted nice things, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you are interested in the art dealing world, you will likely love this book. "Old Masters, New World" by Cynthia Saltzman
Sara C.

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