Recent and increasing interest in art market studies—the dealers, mediators, advisors, taste makers, artists, etc.—indicate that the transaction of art and decorative art is anything but linear. Taking as its point of departure two of the most active agents of the late nineteenth century, Wilhelm von Bode and Stefano Bardini, the essays in this volume also look beyond, to other art market individuals and their vast and frequently interconnected, social and professional networks. Newly told history taken from rich business, epistolary and photographic archives, these essays examine the art market, within a broader and more complex context. In doing so, they offer new areas of inquiry for mapping of works of art as they were exchanged over time and place.
Smuggling the Renaissance: The Illicit Export of Artworks Out of Italy, 1861-1909 explores the phenomenon of art spoliation in Italy following Unification (1861), when the international demand for Italian Renaissance artworks was at an all-time high but effective art protection legislation had not yet been passed.
Making use of rich archival material Joanna Smalcerz narrates the complex and often dramatic struggle between the lawmakers of the new Italian State, and international curators (e.g., Wilhelm Bode), collectors (e.g., Isabella Stewart Gardner) and dealers (e.g., Stefano Bardini) who continuously orchestrated illicit schemes to export abroad Italian masterpieces. At the heart of the intertwinement of the art trade, art scholarship and art protection policies the author exposes the socio-psychological dynamics of unlawful collecting.