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Jarves, James Jackson (20 August 1818–28 June 1888), journalist, diplomat, and art connoisseur, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Deming Jarves, the inventor of Sandwich glass, and Anna Smith Stutson. Jarves received some formal education at Chauncy Hall School in Boston and enhanced his knowledge by extensive reading. At fifteen he was bedridden by what was diagnosed as a “rush of blood to the head” that left him temporarily blind and unable to continue at school. Gradually he improved but when the doctors recommended that he live in a milder climate than New England he had to forgo a Harvard education....

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Mather, Frank Jewett, Jr. (06 July 1868–11 November 1953), writer, art collector, and museum director, was born in Deep River, Connecticut, the son of Frank Jewett Mather, a lawyer, and Caroline Arms Graves. An 1889 graduate of Williams College, Mather received his Ph.D. in English philology and literature from Johns Hopkins University in 1892. As an undergraduate he had caught the chronic virus of art collecting, and by 1892 he had begun his studies of Italian painting. After a year of study in Berlin Mather returned to Williams to teach Anglo-Saxon and Romance languages from 1893 to 1900, taking a year off for study in Paris....

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Duncan Phillips Courtesy of the Phillips Collection.

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Phillips, Duncan (26 June 1886–09 May 1966), art collector, writer, and museum founder, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Duncan Clinch Phillips, a business executive, and Eliza Laughlin Phillips, the daughter of James Laughlin, a banker and cofounder of the Jones and Laughlin Steel Company. In 1896 the family moved to Washington, D.C., where Phillips attended private schools. In 1908 he received a B.A. in English literature from Yale University. There he had published essays and reviews on esthetic matters. After graduation, he made his home in Washington while continuing to educate himself in the visual arts through reading, collecting, extended sojourns in New York, and travel to Asia and Europe. In 1912 he published his first article in a professional art magazine, and two years later a group of essays appeared as his first book, ...

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Ross, Denman Waldo (10 January 1853–12 September 1935), art collector and design theorist, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of John Ludlow Ross, a merchant, and Frances Walker Waldo. Through his mother’s family Ross maintained strong ties with the Boston area, and the family moved to Cambridge permanently upon Ross’s entry to Harvard in 1871. Graduating with highest honors in history in 1875, he returned for further study and in 1880 earned one of the earliest doctorates awarded by the Harvard history department. Under the tutelage of ...

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Sachs, Paul Joseph (24 November 1878–17 February 1965), museum director, teacher, and art collector, was born in New York City, the son of Samuel Sachs, a partner in the firm of Goldman, Sachs & Co., and Louisa Goldman. The family was part of the close-knit German-Jewish community in New York City. Paul Sachs attended the Sachs School in New York, a preparatory school operated by his uncle. He was attracted to art from his youth. In his memoirs he recounted how his bedroom became a gallery of prints and photographs and that he secretly harbored artistic aspirations. Although he soon determined that he lacked artistic talent, the study of the fine arts became the driving force of his life. At eighteen he took a trip with his father to Europe, where he saw many works of art. He entered Harvard in 1896, where he studied art under ...