Collecting: modus operandi, 1900-1950

Call for papers until 15 March 2018
19 dec 2017

In 2019 the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum and the Art Library will have been open for 50 years. Gulbenkian is well known as Mr 5%, who wanted ‘only the best’, but this conference seeks to go beyond the biographical, or the anecdote, and to consider Gulbenkian in the light of his wider context. We particularly seek papers which reflect new research into the ways in which collectors worked, their networks, and their relationship with their collection, its accessibility and its future. We welcome papers which go beyond single-case studies of individual owners, seeking instead more transversal studies into how collectors worked and how they reflected the period in which they lived. We also hope to cast new light on the collecting of non-Western materials, especially the decorative arts of the Middle East.  Researchers with specific need of the Gulbenkian archives may be awarded financial support to make this possible.

We ask prospective speakers to submit 300-word abstracts, for consideration for 20-30 minute papers to be presented at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, on 14–16 February 2019. Papers on any relevant topic within the period 1900–1950 will be considered, but we give special attention to the following themes:

  • Relationships with dealers and intermediaries, such as Duveen, Colnaghi, Wildenstein
  • The role of the inventory, of cataloguing and of scholarly research, by the private collector
  • The consideration of the collection as a private or a public resource, published or not, accessible or not
  • The relationship with the emerging role of Art History as an academic subject
  • The relationship with Museums, and contemporary museological activity
  • Political unrest, notably in the USSR and Germany, the War, and the effects on the art market
  • The changing geo-political context, notably in the Middle East
  • Current issues in the documenting of private collections

Please submit to [email protected] by March 15 2018


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