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dc.contributor.advisorYonan, Michael Eliaeng
dc.contributor.authorJones, Sarah S., 1975-eng
dc.date.issued2018eng
dc.date.submitted2018 Summereng
dc.descriptionField of study: Art history and archaeology.eng
dc.descriptionDr. Michael Yonan, Dissertation Supervisor.eng
dc.descriptionIncludes vita.eng
dc.description"July 2018."eng
dc.description.abstract"This dissertation provides a case study of a type of art collecting that has not received significant scholarly attention, one based on the collecting activity of middleclass Americans living in the Midwestern United States, but who nonetheless are interested in the appeal of European "high" art. I intend to show that collecting and the appreciation of art are not limited to those with the financial acumen of a Rockefeller, Guggenheim, or Saatchi. The following analysis centers on Philip and Mildred Strain, a postmaster and schoolteacher, and the obstacles they overcame to amass a collection that reflected their interest in eighteenth-century European aesthetics. Typically, collectors attract the attention of scholars when they have access to art and artists that become revered enough to be placed in the art historical canon. Access to the work of those artists necessitates the ability to connect with dealers, as well as the artists themselves, in global cultural centers like Paris, New York City, or London. In 1958, Aline B. Saarinen published a book titled The Proud Possessors, which is composed of fifteen biographical sketches of American art collectors. It established a canon of American collectors on which the scholarship of collecting is based. Saarinen, an art critic for The New York Times, narrates the lives of men who built the physical, economic, and political infrastructure of the United States, women whose names now adorn major American museums, and the world travelers who brought the work of modern artists like Picasso and Matisse to America. Saarinen writes that “the overpowering common denominator” that unites these collectors is that "collecting art was a primary means of expression" and that their "involvement with art collecting was passionate and urgent." Saarinen's comments about the motives of the socially prominent collectors, whose financial resources and connections allowed them access to the international art market, can also be applied to Mr. and Mrs. Strain. The Strains also used their collection to express an identity of their own making. However, the Strains could be categorized as "outsider collectors," a term that echoes the concept of the outsider artist, a recognized genre in the art-historical canon. Outsider artists operate separately from mainstream art establishments; they are often self-trained and labor for years in obscurity before being discovered by a dealer, curator, or scholar. The Strains built their store of connoisseurial knowledge through secondary sources such as auction catalogs and collecting guides. Their close relationship with Jack Drew, an art and antiques dealer in Omaha, mimicked the relationships between the canonical collectors and dealers, galleries, and auction houses with Drew serving as a consultant facilitating access to the art and antiques markets of metropolitan cultural centers. The Strains lacked the financial and social resources of Saarinen's canon of collectors, but they shared a passion that motivated their appreciation of the art to which they were most attracted. I approach the Strains' collecting activities as Saarinen approached wealthy collectors. This dissertation will examine the Strains' biography to locate the origin of their interest in the art they collected. It includes a detailed documentation of the methods they used to display their collection in their home, since that environment no longer exists. Their collection has been dispersed and their residence remodeled for future inhabitants. My discussion relies on interviews with individuals who knew the Strains in order to understand how they lived with their collection. My analysis provides another chapter to the story of art collectors in America, expanding our understanding of the human impulse to express ourselves through the objects we possess."--Prefaceeng
dc.description.bibrefIncludes bibliographical references.eng
dc.format.extent1 online resource (xx, 230 pages) : color illustrationseng
dc.identifier.merlinb129197592eng
dc.identifier.oclc1099183718eng
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/10355/66383
dc.identifier.urihttps://doi.org/10.32469/10355/66383eng
dc.languageEnglisheng
dc.publisherUniversity of Missouri--Columbiaeng
dc.relation.ispartofcommunityUniversity of Missouri--Columbia. Graduate School. Theses and Dissertationseng
dc.rightsOpenAccess.eng
dc.rights.licenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License.eng
dc.titleThe postmaster's porcelain : collecting European decorative art in middle Americaeng
dc.typeThesiseng
thesis.degree.disciplineArt history and archaeology (MU)eng
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Missouri--Columbiaeng
thesis.degree.levelDoctoraleng
thesis.degree.namePh. D.eng


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