Making Modernism: Picasso and the Creation of the Market for Twentieth-century Art

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University of California Press, 1996 - Art - 313 pages
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Picasso's stature as the foremost artist of this century is inseparable from his profound engagement with the art market. In making modernism, Michael C. Fitzgerald illustrates how Picasso enhanced his reputation in the art world - and in so doing transformed that world - by adroitly orchestrating the commercial presentation of his work. Drawing on previously unpublished correspondence between Picasso and his dealers and museum curators. Fitzgerald follows the artist from his search for a gallery in Paris through his acceptance by the renowned dealers Paul Rosenberg and Georges Wildenstein to the acclaimed 1939 retrospective of his work at the museum of modern art in New York. As a leader of the avant-garde, Picasso was a model for other artists, and Fitzgerald's analysis of his commercial strategies reveals the modern-art market to be no mere site of exchange but the dynamo of the art world, where critics, collectors, and curators join with artists and dealers to confer artistic standing. Rich in anecdote and observation, Making Modernism is a groundbreaking book, one that changes our view of the artist's studio, the dealer's gallery, and the world's great museums - indeed, our view of art itself.

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MAKING MODERNISM: Picasso and the Creation of the Market for Twentieth-Century Art

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``Selling Modernism'' would be a better title for this narrow- focus art-historical study of Picasso's business relations with his art dealers. FitzGerald (Fine Art/Trinity College, Hartford, Conn ... Read full review

Making modernism: Picasso and the creation of the market for twentieth century art

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The art marketplace has always been the domain of the dealer-private or auction house-and, for good or ill, it has increasingly become the sphere of influence of critics, collectors, and curators. In ... Read full review

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Page 20 - This pattern of things continued into the last years of the nineteenth century and the first years of the twentieth...
Page 4 - ... Picasso at four times the amount the poor artist had hoped it would fetch. As for himself, Picasso, from the time he began to take in appreciable sums until his death, lived like an Okie, albeit one who never had to worry about where his next meal or his next pair of trousers was coming from. "I should like to live like a poor man with a lot of money," he had said in the days when he was desperately poor and burning some of his canvases for heat.
Page 9 - ... tell you again that I shall always consider that you are something other than a simple dealer in Corots, that through my mediation, you have your part in the actual production of some canvases, which even in the cataclysm will retain their quietude.
Page 57 - At Leonce Rosenberg's, rue de la Baume. A quiet little house harbors the revelation. An unobtrusive plate on the door: L'EFFORT MODERNE. I rang the bell and was let into a low-pitched entrance way, tiled very simply in black and white. I was shown upstairs to a large, long room forming a gallery. Here he has displayed cubes of canvases, canvases in cubes, marble cubes, cubic marbles, cubes of color, cubic colorings, incomprehensible cubes and the incomprehensible divided cubically.
Page 12 - Le Pin Perdu," Huismes, France NOTE: This biography supersedes the article that appeared in Current Biography in 1942. During 1961 the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago...
Page 295 - Pablo Picasso's Monument to Guillaume Apollinaire: Surrealism and Monumental Sculpture in France 1918-1959, Ann Arbor 1988; Christa Lichtenstern, Pablo Picasso Denkmalfiir Apollinaire Ennnurfzur Humanisierung des Raumes, Frankfurt 1988.
Page 59 - Picasso should have chosen to paint a commedia-dell'arte figure at a time of deep personal and general social distress might seem merely a confirmation of the customary hermeticism of his imagery. But a hostile spirit that may well reflect the tenor of the times has slipped into this Harlequin. The decorative character of the red, green and tan costume is neutralized by the rigid rectilinearity of the configuration and the somber blacks of the background and figure, which permit chillingly stark...
Page 74 - He was burglarized this summer. A friend ran into him at Leonce Rosenberg's, where some of his imitators were being exhibited. The dealer said to him: 'You've been robbed.
Page 291 - A large number are now in the collection of the National Gallery of Art. Washington. DC; I am grateful to Nancy Anderson for information about the collection.
Page 29 - Thus, even in the desperate poverty he suffered at the beginning of his career, Picasso's actions reveal his understanding of the relationship between commercial success and critical commendation. His work, particularly the portraits, reflected this worldly approach for many years to come. So when his work began to command thousands of francs and receive public validation at events such as the auction of La Peau de 1'Ours, Picasso may have viewed his success as at least in part the result of diligent...

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About the author (1996)

Michael C. FitzGerald is Associate Professor of Fine Arts at Trinity College. He was a principal in the department of Impressionist Painting at Christie's New York art auction house and earned an MBA at Columbia upon completing his Ph.D. in art history. He has written for Art in America, Vogue, Apollo, Art and Auction, and ARTnews.

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