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Henry Walters and Bernard Berenson: Collector and Connoisseur First Edition Edition

12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0801895128
ISBN-10: 080189512X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

A pointed account of the relationship between the famous connoisseur and the railroad magnate.

(Robert Messenger Wall Street Journal)

Surprisingly, this is the only book ever to focus on just one of Berenson’s client relationships. For this and other reasons, every collector―especially the temple-building grandees at work today―should read Mazaroff ’s compelling investigation

(Fine Art Connoisseur)

About the Author

Recognized annually in Best Lawyers in America, Stanley Mazaroff retired from the active practice of law to study art history at the Johns Hopkins University. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Walters Art Museum.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; First Edition edition (May 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080189512X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801895128
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,019,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Professor Emeritus P. Bagnolo VINE VOICE on May 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book Henry Walters and Bernard Berenson: Collector and Connoisseur is based mainly on archival documents and correspondence recently discovered at the Walters Art Museum and The Villa I Tatti, in Florence, Bernard Berenson's former home. In this book, Mazaroff focuses on the huge influx of Renaissance Art of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and two of the men who were leaders in collecting and displaying such art.

Thus Stanley Mazaroff constructed the riveting story of Walters and Berenson and in so doing, offers unusual insights into the marketplace of sales, attributions of art that is sought after and acquired by American art museums and other collectors.

The author did exhausting researched as he documented the devil in the details of the antiquities market place, which has gone on forever and continues to this day. Several years ago, it was estimated by several celebrated Arts and Antiquity consultants, that more than 50% of the art in major museums and private collections, are mistaken, or fraudulently attributed, or counterfeited. Even more recently several newly acquired pieces of art by major museums were suspected of being counterfeited or erroneously attributed after the fact.

Henry Walters and Bernard Berenson: Collector and Connoisseur is an extremely well written book, which allowed it to sail along rather smoothly. The author's aura-constructs were supported by his luminescent language, which matched the high level of formal writing styles, education, sophistication, and the view of the market place of that era running from the turn of the 19th into the early 20th Century.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Terri J. Rice TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In 1902, Henry Walters acquired a collection of over nine hundred paintings from Don Marcello Massarenti who was once influential in the Holy See. The art work ultimately ended up in Baltimore, Maryland.

Bernard Berenson, also actively involved in the art world as a connoisseur and dealer, would eventually meet Walters and become the kingpin to make or destroy Walter's reputation as the owner of the greatest gallery in America. Berenson "using his extaordinary intellect, impeccable scholarship, and entrepreneurial skills... convinced wealthy Americans to embark on a shopping spree for Italian Renaissance paintings that would last for generations." Berenson possessed the ability to make or break a collection based on his attribution of the art and his stamp of approval or lack thereof.

First meeting in 1912, Walters quickly became Berenon's most active client, but behind his back, Berenson entered into a lucrative contract with the controversial art dealer, Joseph Duveen. In this deal, Berenson agreed to offer everything of importance first to Duveen thereby restricting Walters from buying the best paintings. Isabella Stewart Gardner of the beautiful museum of the same name, caught on to Berenson's unscrupulous ways and eventually quit dealing with him.

Bernard Berenson became a very wealthy man through his suspicious dealings in art to the seeming detriment of Henry Walters. In the end however, it is Walters who has triumphed through the years renowned for its scholarship, Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland is one of the finest Italian Renaissance and Baroque collections in the United States.

This book is thorough and intriguing full of very interesting historical and art related details.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By kdea473 VINE VOICE on March 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is the second book I have read in the past couple of months about the amazing, convoluted world of art collecting, dealing, and authentication/attribution. I find the topic interesting, and this book is certainly well-researched and thorough. (The author had previously been a lawyer, but retired and studied art history. He is also evidently on the board of the Walters Art Museum, so has a personal interest in the topic.)

It focuses on art collector Henry Walters and his relationship with Bernard Berenson, a connoisseur. Walters relied on Berenson to authenticate attributions on his existing collection and facilitate and recommend new pieces for purchase. In addition to being motivated by his love of art, Berenson is also motivated by money, leading him to enter into questionable partnerships.

One of these partnerships is with Sir Joseph Duveen, who also factors heavily into the other book I read recently, The American Leonardo: A Tale of Obsession, Art and Money. Alone and in combination, these two books show how the world of art dealing is fraught with uncertainty and greed.

I think this book would be interesting to art and art history students, collectors, art lovers, and those who (like me) enjoy knowing a little more about the artwork we admire in museums.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What are you going to do when you retire? When Mazaroff retired from the practice of law, he went to Johns Hopkins to study art history, wrote and article about Henry Walters' acquisition of the Massarenti Collection of Renaissance art, which became the foundation of Baltimore's Walters Art Museum, and conducted research at I Tatti, Berenson's villa in the Tuscan hills, reading a "treasure trove" of documents illuminating the relationship between Walters and Berenson. Then he wrote this book. So much better than golf!

Henry Walters was the son of William T. Walters, banker and railway magnate, and inherited from him, in addition to wealth and business acumen, a passion for collecting art in the service of the public. Whereas the elder Walters concentrated on contemporary American and European art, his son, like many other Gilded Age millionaires, was particularly drawn to art of the Italian Renaissance.

And you couldn't be a collector of Italian Renaissance art at that time without crossing paths with Bernard Berenson. Berenson was a most intriguing character, a self-made connoisseur and art expert, whose opinion was pretty much the final word on a work of art. If he said your painting was by Titian, it was, and if he said it wasn't, well,you sheepishly put it away. If in Casablanca everyone went to Rick's, in the world of late 19th and early 20th-century art collecting, everybody went to I Tatti.

When Walters bought, basically sight unseen, the collection of Don Marcello Massarenti, he knew that the attributions were likely not all accurate. He was buying the whole to get some of its parts, and he hired Berenson to vet the collection, write a catalog, and help him acquire additional works.

The relationship between the two was fraught.
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