Gallerist as publisher: a critical history from 1900 to the present
Madden, Allan Charles
This thesis presents a critical history of the gallerist as publisher from 1900 to the present. Through a series of case studies of gallerists and their publications, I chart the forms and functions that gallery publishing has taken over the last century and explore the key relationships and issues within this strand of publishing practice. Despite diversity in the content, publishing context, and means of producing these publications, I argue that the history of publishing by gallerists is characterised by the overarching themes of promotion, innovation, collaboration, and democratisation. I explore these themes across a chronological structure, focusing on selected examples of significant and sustained publishing activity led by gallerists from 1900 to the present day in Europe and North America. Beginning in 1900 with the livres d’artiste of Ambroise Vollard and Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler in Paris, I explore the reasons why gallerists were motivated to publish and how publishing became an essential facet of a gallerist’s professional practice. I follow with case studies of publications by gallerists Jeanne Bucher, Aimé Maeght, Seth Siegelaub and David Zwirner. The five chapters of the thesis are structured in order to allow for both a thorough analysis of an individual publication or publishing series as well as an examination of the contemporary publishing context within which they were produced. In my selection of case studies, I analyse examples that demonstrate the various forms and functions of publishing produced by gallerists: the livre d’artiste; the artists’ novel; the gallery magazine; the catalogue as exhibition; and books of art writing. Accompanying these individual case studies is a broader analysis of the ways in which gallerists both influenced and took inspiration from the wider context of art publishing. Despite the wealth of research on the history of artists’ books and magazines in the twentieth century, this thesis forms the first scholarly account of the impact of gallerist publishing on the development of modern and contemporary art publishing. I draw on existing research in the wider field of art publishing and combine it with interviews, archival material and personal accounts of the gallerists in order to re-evaluate the significance of gallerists and their publications in the history of art publishing. While I have consulted a number of archives and exhibitions over the course of this project, at the core of my research are the collections held by the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Library and Archive and the thesis is intended, in large part, to reflect the nature of those collections.