Golden age collecting in America's Middle West: Chester and Clara Congdons Glensheen historical manor and Raymond Wyers an art museum

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Abstract

In 1916, the director of the Hackley Art Gallery in Muskegon, Michigan, Raymond Wyer [Henniker-Heaton], published An Art Museum. Its Concept and Conduct, in which he described the value of a small, but stellar, collection of art. His vision of the role the Museum could play in edifying the general public reflects the ideas of other theorists of the age and legitimized the collecting practice of Chester and Clara Congdon who had begun purchasing art and acquiring other objects around 1900. The items now decorate their home, Glensheen: the Historic Congdon Estate, in Duluth, Minnesota but are not, as often argued, simply an example of interior decoration. Instead the collection must be understood as a self-conscious celebration of their social status and a reflection of their personal values. All of the objects fashion the Congdons into disciplined, cultured, and well-travelled individuals who were purveyors of good taste.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-113
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the History of Collections
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2010

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