The relevancy of Jenson’s model of entrepreneurial or ideological art dealer

The relevancy of Jenson’s model of entrepreneurial or ideological art dealer

In Marketing Modernism in Fin-de-Siècle Europe, Robert Jenson writes, “Whereas the entrepreneurial dealer marketed artists through their contemporary reputations won through public exhibitions, the ideological dealer marketed his artists vis-à-vis a supposed historical position.” This model takes interesting form in the period we study today. For example, John Richardson writes, “To enhance the exclusivity of his artists Kahnweiler never allowed Picasso, or any others in his stable (except, on occasion, Braque), to have an exhibition in his gallery. Nor would he permit their reputations to be contaminated by showing alongside the Salon Cubists.” According to Richardson, Picasso liked his “reclusive” image created by Kahnweiler, as it agreed with his increasingly hermetic life and work. This dealership was not self-promoting or boastful, which gives us reason to believe that Kahnweiler was an ideological dealer. Therefore, we can assume that Jenson’s model still is relevant in the early 20th century.

Moreover, in the “Alchemy of the Gallery,” Ingrid Schaffner considers Levy as both a singular and representative art dealer in America between 1931 and 1949, when galleries changed from “upholstered enclaves and salon-style sanctuaries to fashionable forums with an expanded public, when contemporary artists began to have the cachet of old masters, and when dealers gained new authority within a system of showing and selling directly related to museum collecting and exhibiting.” According to Jenson’s model, this is the case of an entrepreneurial dealer.

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