arts 02.22.16

The Capitalist and the Critic
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In Ron Chernow's book The House of Morgan, art critic Roger Fry describes J. P. Morgan "as a vain insecure despot who 'likes to be in a position of being surrounded by people he has in his power to make and unmake.'"

Fry served as the Metropolitan Museum's Curator of European paintings from 1904-1910 while Morgan was the Met's Chairman of the Board, a period when the Met transformed itself through acquisition and expansion into one of the world's great museums.

The tensions between Morgan and Fry, as it turns out, make for fascinating reading in Charles Molesworth's new book The Capitalist and the Critic: J. P. Morgan, Roger Fry, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, out March 1.

Molesworth writes separate biographies of the two men and then proceeds to delineate the ways in which their different world views led to the unraveling of the working relationship between them.

At a time when many of New York's institutions are grappling with identity, expansion, art and commerce, The Capitalist and the Critic gives context and insight into these persistently thorny issues.






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