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Seminar in the History of Collecting: The lost George J. Gould Collection and the beginning of Duveen taste in America
George J. and Edith Gould were major collectors in Gilded Age America. They were among the very first Americans to live with Old Master paintings and French eighteenth-century furniture, sculpture, porcelain, and vertu, in interiors specifically created to display these collections.

George’s early purchases, mostly from Agnew’s, included works by Constable,
Romney, and Gerard Dou. By 1900 the collection boasted Rembrandt, Hals, and Van Dyck, Reynolds’ 'Strawberry Girl' and a Hobbema from the Demidoff Collection; in 1904 ten works were chosen to enhance the loan exhibit at the St. Louis World’s Fair.

Complementing these works was furniture by Jacob and Cressent, Sèvres vases, gold boxes and miniatures, mostly supplied by Henry Duveen. From 1907 a new townhouse in New York was planned: architecture by Horace Trumbauer, interiors by Carlhian, contents largely by and the whole overseen by Henry and Joseph Duveen.

Period photos and early inventories allow a reconstruction of the interior, with its full-length English portraits, Sèvres-mounted and Riesener furniture, rose du Barry Gobelins and matching Sèvres, sculptures by Foucou, Boizot and Pajou, and Clouet portraits.

After the deaths of Edith in 1921 and George in 1923, Duveen purchased the bulk of the collection. Much was resold to his major clients of the 1920s and 30s, particularly Eleanor Elkins Rice, Henry E. Huntington, and Anna Dodge. Today the artworks are scattered, and the importance of this seminal collection - for the House of Duveen and for elite American taste - has been almost completely forgotten.

Mar 28, 2022 05:30 PM in London

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