Recommended for your summer reading list: Old Masters, New World: America’s Raid on Europe’s Great Pictures, by Cynthia Saltzman. It’s the pick of the season for the Rienzi and Bayou Bend History Book Club.
Rienzi, the MFAH house museum for European decorative arts, hosts a virtual discussion about Old Masters, New World on Wednesday, July 8, at 1:30 p.m. If you and your friends can’t make it, use the reading guide to delve deeper into the book on your own.
About the Book
Old Masters, New World: America’s Raid on Europe’s Great Pictures traces the transit of Europe’s extraordinary Old Master paintings across the Atlantic in the late 19th century, when newly rich, Gilded Age Americans sought social prestige and stature by voraciously snapping up great pictures from European collections. From Henry Clay Frick and his pursuit of Rembrandt’s The Polish Rider to the ambitious efforts of Isabella Stewart Gardner, Henry Gurdon Marquand, J. Pierpont Morgan, and the Havemeyer family to build their own ranking collections, the competitive frenzy, financial complexities, and fraught trades of these exquisite paintings come to life in Old Masters, New World.