Sculpture Collections in Europe and the United States 1500-1930

Variety and Ambiguity


Volume Editors: and
Exploring the variety of forms taken by collections of sculpture, this volume presents new research by twelve internationally recognized scholars. The essays delve into the motivations of different collectors, the modes of display, and the aesthetics of viewing sculpture, bringing to light much new archival material. The book underscores the ambiguous nature of sculpture collections, variously understood as decorative components of interiors or gardens, as objects of desire in cabinets of curiosity, or as autonomous works of art in private and public collections. Emphasizing the collections and the ways in which these were viewed and described, this book addresses a significant but neglected aspect of art collecting and contributes to the literature on this branch of art and cultural history.

This book evolved from a symposium "Sculpture Collecting and Display, 1600-2000," organized by the Center for the History of Collecting, that was held at The Frick Collection on May 19 and 20, 2017. Both the book and the symposium were made possible through the generous support of the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation.

The book is published in association with The Frick Collection.

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Malcolm Baker, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Art History, University of California, Riverside. As both a curator and a university teacher, he has written widely on the history of sculpture; his most recent book is The Marble Index. Roubiliac and Sculptural Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century Britain.

Inge Jackson Reist (Ph.D., Columbia University); Founding Director (now Emerita) of the Center for the History of Collecting, The Frick Collection. Reist’s edited and authored publications focus on Italian Renaissance and Baroque Art and the History of Art Collecting.
List of Illustrations

Variety and Ambiguity: What Do We Mean by a “Sculpture Collection”?
Malcolm Baker

part 1: Sculpture in the Kunstkammer: Contexts, Formation, and Dispersal

1 Sculpture Collecting and the Kunstkammer
Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann

2 The Collecting of Small Bronze Sculptures in Late Renaissance Italy: The Canonici Collection
Jeremy Warren

3 Shifting Perceptions and Changing Frameworks: The Case of Francis van Bossuit and the Place of Small-Scale Sculpture in Ivory in the Sculpture Collection
Malcolm Baker

part 2: Garden Sculptures as Collections

4 Gentlemen Prefer Bronze: Garden Sculpture and Sculpture Gardens in Britain (1720–1860)
Julius Bryant

5 The Sculpture Gardens of Versailles, Marly, and Dresden: Magnificence and Its Limits
Betsy Rosasco

part 3: The Sculpture Gallery and Dedicated Spaces for Sculpture

6 The ‘Gallerie du S.r Girardon Sculpteur Ordinaire du Roy’
Anne-Lise Desmas

7 Porcelain as Sculpture: Medium, Materiality, and the Categories of Eighteenth-Century Collecting
Michael Yonan

8 Art and Nature: The Country House Sculpture Gallery in the Post-Napoleonic Period
Alison Yarrington

part 4: The Changing Place of Sculpture in the Public Museum

9 The Public Art Gallery as Arena for Modern Sculpture
Alex Potts

10 Displaying Deceit: Alceo Dossena’s Tomb of Maria Catharina Sabello at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Andrew McClellan and Marietta Cambareri

11 The Legacy of William Valentiner in Shaping the Display and Collecting of European Sculpture in American Museums, 1900–Present: Case Studies
Alan Phipps Darr

Beyond its obvious relevance to academic and curatorial audiences, this book will appeal to members of the general public interested in the relevance of collecting to European and American cultural history.
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