This essay examines the dialectical relationship between the formation of the commercial art market in London over the course of the second half of the nineteenth century and the representation of Victorian art in museum displays of recent decades. With respect to the latter, the essay provides an overview of recent monographic and group exhibitions devoted to Victorian art. It reveals, through the examination of the twinned phenomena of the commercial art market and museological practice, the central role played by exhibition culture in our understanding of Victorian art. It closes by posing questions as to how we might improve our interpretation of Victorian art and culture as presented through museum exhibitions and displays.
Dr. Anne Helmreich is Associate Professor of Art History at Case Western Reserve University and Director of the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities at the university. Her work on nineteenth-century British art ranges from garden design to print culture and is characterized by an interest in investigating the links between art and the broader socio-historical context. Her most recent monograph is The English Garden and National Identity, The Competing Styles of Garden Design, 1870-1914 (Cambridge University Press, 2002). She is currently researching the dynamic interchange between art and science in nineteenth-century Britain and the developments, practices, and strategies of the London-based art market in the nineteenth century.
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