As NYARC’s IMLS M-LEAD 2 Project Coordinator stationed at the Brooklyn Museum I see a lot of auction catalogs—and I love them! Auction catalogs from the Brooklyn Museum Library continue to provide fascinating and surprising discoveries. Recently, I found a catalog comprising the collection of Charles Gillot filled with visual treasures! Who was Charles Gillot?
I have been interning with the Brooklyn Museum Libraries and Archives since August 2013 as part of the IMLS grant-funded M-LEAD-II Project; a collaborative project between Pratt Institute-SILS, the Brooklyn Museum, the Frick Art Reference Library and The New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC). Following a collection plan, I have been carefully reviewing and cataloging art auction catalogs from the library’s permanent collection.
As a summer intern at the Frick Art Reference Library, I researched several New York auction catalogs in preparation for the New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC) online exhibition Gilding the Gilded Age: Interior Decoration Tastes & Trends in New York City. I found myself drawn to the catalogs with annotations of prices and buyers. This prompted me to reflect on society’s fascination with the money others pay for their belongings.
While conducting research as an intern at the Frick Art Reference Library, I was reminded that the New York auction house often acts as a stage for dramatic, headline-generating sales. On the evening of April 21, 1915, Gilded Age magnates and their art advisors assembled at the Plaza Hotel for just such a sale (American Art Association). On the block was the masterpiece-studded Blakeslee Collection, available nearly in its entirety to the public as a result of the scandalous suicide of the collector and salesman, Theron J. Blakeslee.