A Model for America. James Jackson Jarves's Collection of "Old Masters", 1852-1871.

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A Model for America. James Jackson Jarves's Collection of "Old Masters", 1852-1871.

Type: Research master thesis
Title: A Model for America. James Jackson Jarves's Collection of "Old Masters", 1852-1871.
Author: Huits, Lieske
Issue Date: 2018-06-29
Keywords: James Jackson Jarves
American art collectors
nineteenth century
Art history
Reception history
art collecting
Museum studies
Abstract: The Jarves Collection, the first collection of early Italian art in the United States, was created by James Jackson Jarves (1818-1888) in Florence in the 1850s, and brought to the USA in 1860 hoping to create a “Free Gallery of Art.” Jarves presents medieval and Renaissance Florence as a democratic and religious model for the United States to emulate. The collection thus performed an educational function, literally carrying civilization – in the form of early Italian paintings – to the United States. Considering Jarves’s role within the history of American collecting and reception of Italian art, publications have focused on placing Jarves within the American history of collecting, while giving little thought to underlying structures in Jarves’s motivations and actions in assembling and promoting his collection. As Jarves presents history as a didactic and emancipatory model for the United States, this thesis asks what his stake was in presenting early Italian art as the model of civilization. Limited to the period from the early 1850s, when Jarves starts collecting, until 1871, when the collection was sold to Yale University, this thesis focuses on Jarves’s motivations, placed within contemporary trends. It is split into three parts: the first looks at the underlying structures that influenced the make-up of the collection; the second looks at Jarves's ideas as expressed through his writings, and at their connection to his collection. The final part looks at the Jarves's main aim for his collection: the creation of a national gallery of art for the education of the American public.
Supervisor: Grasman, Edward
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities
Department: Arts and Culture (Research master)
Specialisation: Early Modern and Medieval Art
ECTS Credits: 25
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/63542

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