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Title: Making a market for art : Agnews and the National Gallery, 1855-1928
Author: Pezzini, Barbara
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 0231
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2018
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The thesis investigates the interaction that developed between a major art dealer, Thos. Agnew and Sons (Agnews), and a principal public collection, the London National Gallery, from 1855 to 1928. Agnews played a crucial role in the life of the National Gallery and greatly facilitated the museum accession of important paintings, such as the Madonna Ansidei by Raphael, the Rokeby Venus by Velazquez, the Portrait of Doge Vincenzo Morosini by Tintoretto, and many others. In turn, collaborating with the National Gallery allowed Agnews to penetrate the international Old Masters market and reach for higher social standing. Through the analysis of ten case studies of acquisitions, which are supported by new archival evidence and are contextualised within a broader historical and theoretical framework, this thesis charts the emergence, development and decline of the rapport between the two organisations. It analyses how Agnews and the National Gallery began as two unconnected entities in the mid-nineteenth century, explores how their distinct trajectories turned into a close, collaborative rapport during the 1880s, and finally examines how in the third decade of the twentieth century they separated and initiated a newly detached professional relationship. Appropriating sociological theories by Pierre Bourdieu, Bruno Latour, Viviana Zelizer and others, this study investigates museum acquisitions as resulting from complex interplays of cultural and commercial forces within the field of cultural production. Acquisitions are further enlightened by the analysis of the networks that underpin them, which provide additional evidence on how economic factors are embedded within broader social constructs. By detailing and locating these processes and relationships within the historical context of a broad shift towards commercialisation, yet demonstrating that cultural elements are part of the dealers activities and that commercial values are an intrinsic component of the museum, this study provides an insight into the historical origins of modern-day relationships between museums and art dealers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Network theories ; Field theories ; Viviana Zelizer ; Renaissance Art ; British Art ; Politics ; Bruno Latour ; Art Museums ; Agnew's ; Economic Sociology ; Art Dealers ; National Gallery ; Art Market ; Cultural Economics ; Pierre Bourdieu