Operating out of Florence, but active all around Europe and across the Atlantic, Stefano Bardini (1836 – 1922) built a business that could claim nearly a thousand clients and which transacted many thousands of objects over the course of his nearly sixty year long career. Bardini maintained an active relationship with Berlin based Wilhelm von Bode (1845 – 1929), because Bode had an ambitious collecting agenda on behalf of the Berlin museums and several wealthy collectors.
Bode’s prolific scholarly publication record laid the foundations for what continues to be the norms for attribution as well as the practice of connoisseurship, most especially regarding Italian Renaissance sculpture. His numerous publications gave currency and legitimacy to the Bardini objects which populated the writings of Bode. On the basis of archival material in Florence and Berlin, the lecture identifies several examples of “contamination”-objects, provenance, literature-while laying out a roadmap for their propagation and codification. In doing so, questions are raised as to issues of authenticity that have repercussions still today.
Lynn Catterson (Columbia Univ., Ph.D., 2002) began her researches with an interest in Italian Renaissance sculpture with a focus on the marketplace and how 15C sculptors satisfied consumer demand for antiquities. Lately, she is working on the art market in 19C Florence from the point of view of production and social network via its preeminent dealer, Stefano Bardini, drawing upon material in the state archive of the Bardini family and business. The main goal of the Bardini project is to create a digital research platform to unite the material in Florence with corresponding archival material from individuals and institutions with whom Bardini transacted art.
This lecture is part of the Hugo Helbing Lecture. The Hugo Helbing Lecture – Exploring the Art Market commemorates the achievements of Hugo Helbing every year. It was first held in 2016 on the occasion of the donation of annotated auction catalogues from his firm to the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich.
For more information, see https://www.zikg.eu/aktuelles/veranstaltungen/2021/the-hugo-helbing-lecture-2021