The Chocolate King, Picasso’s Buddy and Founder of the American Prado: Three World Collectors
“Mister More” Peter LudwigGerman philanthropist and collector Peter Ludwig (1925—1996) managed to collect the world’s largest collection of Picasso, and along with them, works of antiquity and the Middle Ages,
Moreover, his future soul mate Irene also studied art history at the University of Mainz, and was a representative of a chocolate-maker family! Having defended his thesis on the work of Picasso, Peter headed the sweet business and increased his capital pretty much.
Having become a successful industrial confectioner, he gave all his hard earned money for paintings. And not only that: from his travels, alongwith paintings, he brought pre-Columbian coins, manuscripts, porcelain and faïence. By the way, Mr. Ludwig also collected Soviet art, came to the USSR more than 30 times, where he visited galleries and artists' studios. Needless to say, how Soviet representatives of unofficial art were waiting for his visits!
Another side of the Ludwigs art network is the development of contemporary art. So, the condition for the gift of about 160 art objects to Vienna was the annual government contributions of 1.5 million marks to contemporary art over 15 years.
Pioneer Collector Duncan PhillipsHe dreamed of founding the American Prado, collecting paintings by El Greco, Chardin, Manet, Van Gogh, Monet, Degas, Gauguin and Cézanne in his house. So, in 1921, his collection of paintings in Washington marked the opening of the first museum of contemporary art in the United States, the appearance of which was 8 years ahead of the his famous colleague, the MoMA.
Dunkan Phillips (1886—1966) devoted more than half a century to creating a first-class collection of two thousand works of modern art, and 1,400 of the paintings he acquired were painted by Americans living at that time.
Contrary to the conservative traditions of the time, the descendant of an industrialist went to study classical art at Yale University. The inheritance allowed him to devote his life entirely to his favourite business of acquiring paintings. He dedicated the collection to his brother who had deceased early.
In search of new exhibits, he often visited Europe, although he bought what he liked himself, tried to systematize the works somehow. Thus, each painting by Van Gogh refers to a significant period in the artist’s life. Among the favourite canvases of the museum owner are The Ham by Paul Gauguin, The Road to Vétheuil by Claude Monet and The Mediterranean by Gustave Courbet: despite the fact that Phillips parted with many canvases, these were the constant part of the collection.
As a result, Made in the USA is the most complete collection of works of American authors ever on display. From 2010 to 2013, the Washington Museum was closed for renovation, so these masterpieces were able to travel around the world.
Avant-garde is how modern art critics refer the general trend of new artistic directions that arose in world art at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. A very thin line separates it from the concept of “modernism”. Read more
On a first-name basis with Picasso: Ernst Beyeler, the titan of the art marketKnight of the Order of Arts and Letters, Ph.D., environmentalist, Swiss Ernst Beyeler (1921—2010) was considered the world’s leading dealer of contemporary painting. 100 artworks by Klee, 340 works by Picasso, Cézanne, Matisse, Monet, Braque, Rothko. During his life, he gathered a collection of paintings, which is estimated at billions of francs! Thanks to him, the public was able to contemplate 250 exhibitions of cult modernist artists. He and his wife Hildy had no children, but they put their hearts into the exhibition centre in Riena, which annually receives thousands of visitors.
According to the collector himself, until the 50s, his finances did not allow him to purchase even Matisse. But Picasso, due to the large number of his paintings, was just affordable. Pablo Picasso in 1966 personally allowed him the honour of choosing 26 of his paintings.
Because to his close relationship with the great artist, the collector was fortunate enough to become the owner of the Guitar, a cubist sculpture by the artist. Although Beyeler initially planned to exchange it for a small landscape of Cézanne, but in a fit of generosity, Picasso refused the picture and presented the sculpture! For the artist’s centenary in 1981, Beyeler organized a large-scale retrospective in his gallery.
When purchasing another canvas, the art dealer relied on his inner flair and taste. And he never miscalculated, and eventually gained the status of a modern classic among collectors.