Artibus et Historiae no. 83 (XLII)

2021, ISSN 0391-9064

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ARTHUR K. WHEELOCK, JR. - In Pursuit of Masterpieces: The National Gallery of Art’s Acquisitions from The Prince of Liechtenstein (pp. 313–332)

In the aftermath of World War II, the National Gallery of Art acquired some of its greatest treasures of European art, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Ginevra de’Benci, from the collection of Prince Franz Josef II of Liechtenstein. The little-known story of these acquisitions, numbering over sixty paintings, sculptures, and graphic arts is complex, and involves the impact of political, financial, and interpersonal relationships on the fortunes of two major collections on opposite sides of the Atlantic, one in Washington and one in Vaduz. The present paper gives an account of the major contacts and negotiations, often undertaken through the intermediary of art dealers and private collectors, that helped facilitate the Gallery’s efforts to acquire major European masterpieces from the Princely Collections.

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