J.P. Morgan: The Financier as Collector

Louis Auchincloss, Author ABRAMS $45 (144p) ISBN 978-0-8109-3610-2
Morgan (1837-1913) was a hymn-singing capitalist, a naive believer in a ``gentleman's word'' and at the same time a formidable business force, we're shown here. His sponsorship and control of Manhattan's Metropolitan Museum, of which he was a trustee and chairman of the board, transformed it from a fine art gallery into an institution of international renown, fulfilling his goal that Americans need no longer travel abroad to view art treasures. Guided by its staff, his own instincts and a great fortune, Morgan amassed a priceless private collection, the value of which constituted nearly half of his wealth when he died. His acquisitions were limited only by his conventional morality and exclusion of American work--but he bought almost everything else. The shelves of his personal library were filled with illuminated medieval manuscripts and priceless first editions, yet he also collected porcelains and tarot cards. Novelist Auchincloss, president of the Museum of the City of New York, lends expertise to this gloriously illustrated book, but it remains essentially a catalogue for the hoard of a tycoon remembered as much for his collections as for his millions. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1990
Release date: 09/01/1990
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