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Great Collectors of Our Time: Art Collecting Since 1945 Hardcover – 1 Nov 2007

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Scala Publishers Ltd; 1st Edition edition (1 Nov 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857595149
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857595147
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 3.7 x 26.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 721,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

James Stourton is Chairman of Sotheby's UK. He read History of Art at Cambridge and joined Sotheby's in 1979. He is the author of Great Smaller Museums of Europe and frequently writes on the history of collecting. He has written on the subject for Apollo, The Art Newspaper, Matrix, The Independent and The Spectator and regularly lectures to the National Art Collections Fund, Sotheby's Institute of Education and Cambridge University faculty of Art History.

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Serghiou Const on 1 Mar 2008
Format: Hardcover
The author is eminently qualified to write this book: James Stourton is an art connoisseur and in his capacity as chairman of Sotheby's British arm had the opportunity to meet affluent collectors, view their collections and obtain an insight into their motives, knowledge and judgments.

A pertinent question is who collects? Kenneth Clark, a distinguished 20th century art historian, thought it was like asking why people fall in love: the reasons are various. The book, surveying over 100 eminent collectors in Europe, North America and the Far East validates his judgment. There are as many different kinds of collectors as there are collections - from the very rich to the only moderately rich - from banker to coutourier, from civil servant to tycoon, they are a group of fascinating diversity with a wide array of tastes. But the author concedes that great wealth is unquestionably an assistance in collecting. And most of the book is about those who either started off very rich or made a fortune and spent much of it in art: people like the Rothschilds, Gettys, Thyssens, Rockefellers, Mellons, Sainsburys, J. Paul Getty, Peggy Guggenheim, Charles Saatchi, and a few famous collectors in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan.

Until 1945, Paris was the cultural capital of the world, but its culture was being increasingly challenged by America. Along with the geographical shift there was also a shift in the works of art being collected with a growing acceptance of America's own art and a relative decline in the domination of three European schools of art, Italian Renaissance, English 18th century and French 19th century Impressionism.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. A. Harding on 14 July 2012
Format: Hardcover
James Stourton is something of a phenomenon in the art world. In addition to being Chairman of Sothebys UK..he has somehow found the time and energy to write this terrific book. It's a comprehensive study of the major collectors in the late 20th Century..not only the big names with the almost unlimited bank balances like Getty, Saatchi, Rockefellers,Khalili, Rothschilds, Guggenheim,Edward T. Chow..etc..and all those big hitters,and what made them tic in collecting..But James had a soft spot for the small collector who had much more passion than funds.their stories on how thy made in although they short of cash, with alot more dash than cash ,remarkably they too built up some exceptional collections. The Asian collectors are there well as some very secret collectors. James Stourtontell some marvellous inside stories of the chase, for example A certain Asian collector, going out in disguise to acquire some barging in cat street , HK.

I loved the illustrations,very well chosen , many not seen before..

This book could easily have become a repetive account of big money chasing big art. Yet it is transformed into something else altogether, a hugely entertaining read. Buy it or borrow it you will enjoy it, if you love art.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
An insider's look at private collections 3 May 2008
By Reich Claude - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Written by a senior staff member of Sotheby's, this book offers an interesting overlook on the collections and personalities of some of the most important art collectors of our time. The text itself is a collection of short pieces on each collector, describing the building and the highlights of their collection (which can be African art, Islamic art, modern paintings, rare books, old masters, contemporary art, etc). You will not find any real scoop here, since, but for a few exceptions, most of the people and collections described are already well-known , but it is still a book that is pleasant to read and full of good-quality illustrations of seldom reproduced works.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A Fine Art 17 April 2008
By Christian Schlect - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Will be enjoyed by those interested in the most significant collectors of great art since the end of World War II and the role each played in preserving various treasures of the world's culture.

By its nature this is a quick survey work, with short articles on each collector, along with nice photographs of important pieces within their separate collections. Each individual survey spans the time from when and how the collector started; to the collection's ultimate breadth and setting; to how it was eventually dispersed (usually to a museum or two) at death or other final point--unless the collector is still alive and still in possession.

My favorite collector in the book: The Canadian embassy worker in the Soviet Union, Mr. George Costakis.

For those really interested, you can find more detailed books on a number of these collectors, such as "Memories of a Collector" by Giusppe Panza.

James Stourton is a highly informed and interesting art expert, although certainly given to focusing on the positive about each of his selected collectors and their collections.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A treasure! 27 April 2008
By Pedro Fernandes - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a truly magnificent book, very well written, very complete. The text is scholarly and straight forward, with many answered questions about this club of great collectors. While the events of theirs lifes are vividly told, the text also explains and illuminates each personality through interesting analyses. The author tends to be factual and does not speculate much. If you want to be as much entertained as educated on this great collectors buy this fantastic book. This is no ordinary art book. You will treasure it and be proud to show it to friends. Simply 5 stars!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
fascinating overview of modern art and book collectiors 26 Oct 2009
By Ivor E. Zetler - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is said that collecting is an incurable disease, if rarely fatal. Collectors are usually eccentric characters; one of my friends has a house filled with around 40 old pianos and harpsichords as well as 3 pipe organs! This engaging book profiles many of the significant art/decorative art/book collectors active in the second half of the last century.

James Stourton gives brief overviews of the collectors; where possible he has met the people under discussion. His pen portraits are filled with interesting facts about their collecting habits and eccentricities. Some of the personalites are renowned eg Robert Lehman, Pierre Rosenberg and Peter Ludwig. Others will be unfamiliar to the general reader. Art and books are the main items accumulated.

I have found this easy to read volume endlessly fascinating and have learned a lot from Stourton's writing. I even based a visit to Switzerland on the collectors mentioned in that section. The well reproduced photographs are an additional bonus.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Great Collectors of our Time 11 May 2008
By Richard H. Cady - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent, if expensive, volume. The first survey of collectors and collecting since the early 60's. Well illustrated. Mostly on art collecting.
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