Art of Collecting: The Spaulding Brothers and Their Legacy
Text by Frederic A. Sharf.
The scions of a prominent Boston family, the brothers William and John Spaulding are remembered today for their legacy as art collectors in the early decades of the twentieth century. It was thanks to them that the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, acquired some of its most enduring masterworks: major European paintings by Goya, Cézanne, van Gogh, Matisse and many others; oils, watercolors and drawings by American masters such as Hopper, Kent and Homer; a remarkable archive of World War I propaganda posters; not to mention its world-renowned collection of Japanese prints. But while the Spaulding name has long been esteemed among art lovers, little has been known about the brothers themselves. Here, historian and collector Frederic A. Sharf sheds light on the men behind these landmark acquisitions, drawing on scores of family papers and archival documents. Handsomely illustrated with artworks from across the spectrum of the Spauldings' collection, as well as with numerous period photographs, this book portrays the crucial role played by collectors in shaping the public trusts that visitors enjoy to this day.