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In 1868, the young Wilhelm Bode met Théophile Thoré, the famed French author and rediscoverer of the Dutch master Johannes Vermeer. The meeting seems to have served as a turning point for Bode. At the time, in the late 1860s, Vermeer’s scarce paintings were scattered across Europe and a fair number had yet to come to light. As the master’s reputation grew during the late decades of the nineteenth century, his works became ever more desirable. Museums and private collectors on both sides of the Atlantic eagerly competed for Vermeer’s paintings and prices rose significantly.

This paper explores the essential part Bode played for more than half a century, from the late 1860s through the 1920s, as a taste- and market maker for the art of Vermeer, in Germany but also elsewhere in Europe and in the United States. It examines Bode’s roles – at various points in time and in various countries – not only as a highly influential scholar, but also as an advisor to a wide circle of collecting protégés, a strategic museum man, and a major buyer in a competitive and ever-changing market.

In: Wilhelm Bode and the Art Market
Art Collectors and Their Residences, Then and Now
This volume explores twelve house museums, created over more than two centuries, and founded across the globe. What motivates collectors to establish independent house museums instead of donating their collections to preexisting institutions? How have collectors’ original intentions manifested themselves in their museums? Have founder mandates aided the survival or caused the demise of their institutions? How have house museums’ collections or buildings evolved over time? Must museums reinterpret their collections to remain relevant to contemporary and diverse audiences? In seeking to answer these questions, the volume’s authors share the unique stories behind the creation and evolution of these fascinating institutions, and the intriguing stories of the exceptional individuals who founded them.

Contributors: Aistė Bimbirytė, Eliza Butler, Chih-En Chen, Enrico Colle, Allegra Davis, Marissa Hershon, Mia Laufer, Ulrike Müller, Nadine Nour el Din, Inge Reist, Anne Nellis Richter, and Georgina S. Walker.