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Research Biografie Instituut

The art collector: between philanthropy and self-glorification

Conference 5 & 6 June 2008

Venue: Groninger Museum

Institute of Biography in cooperation with the Groninger Museum

Whether we consider Vincent van Gogh, Jackson Pollock, the Young British Artists or any other ‘discovered’ artist, in most cases private collectors have played a pivotal role in their breakthrough. Philanthropy and the love of art appear to be the driving forces behind collecting – they are apparently the major motives for spending one’s capital on both famous and unknown artworks. However, perhaps less elevated motives are just as influential in the establishment of collections. Do collectors not desire to distinguish themselves through their collections? Are they not driven by a need to display status and taste and in the process to immortalize their name? In short, are collectors not mainly driven by self-glorification?

In addition to studying the often peculiar methods, motives and merits of collecting over time, the conference has a broader aim. By exploring the possibilities of interdisciplinary and comparative research we hope to re-energize debate and encourage academic research into the field of collecting. By emphasizing the late nineteenth and early twentieth century – the Golden Era of private collecting – the conference aims to inspire and provide examples for contemporary collecting.

The conference is supported by: the Groningen Research School for the Study of the Humanities (OGWG), ICOG/RUG, Stichting Nicolaas Muleriusfonds and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).


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Last modified:07 August 2020 08.05 a.m.
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