Alexander Reid in context: collecting and dealing in Scotland in the late 19th and early 20th centuries
The thesis traces the whole of Alexander Reid's life (1854- 1928), the development of his career as an art dealer in Glasgow, and his influence on Scottish collectors between 1889 and 1925. This is set in the wider context of dealing practice in Britain and France, and emphasis is given to the role of the dealer in the career of the artists he represents. Attention is drawn to the development of taste in Scotland and to the distinctive characteristics of Scottish taste (for instance, for the Hague School). The main text is divided chronologically into six time sections or chapters, each of which is introduced by an overall view of the period, including biographical details and information on any exhibitions or gallery changes which took place during that time. Specific themes are discussed, including Reid's patronage of contemporary Scottish art and his promotion of French art during a particular period. The first chapter covers Reid's youth and early experiences of dealing in Glasgow. This first section also gives a general background to the period and addresses such issues as taste in Scotland during the 1870s and 1880s. The second chapter takes in Reid's education and maturity in Paris, his friendship with the Van Gogh brothers and the development of his own advanced tastes in art. The third chapter is concerned with the setting up of Reid's Glasgow gallery, La Societe des Beaux-Arts, in 1889, his patronage of the Glasgow Boys and his promotion of Whistler and Impressionist art during the 1890s. The fourth chapter deals with the period of recession and retrenchment at the beginning of the 20th century and up to the First World War. The fifth chapter celebrates Reid's achievements during the post-war boom of the 1920s, his patronage of the Scottish Colourists and the establishment in Scotland of a taste for Impressionism. The final section covers the period after Reid's retirement, the merger of Reid's gallery with the Lefdvre gallery in London and the final closure of La Societe des Beaux-Arts in 1932. The appendices include two important lists of collectors and dealers associated with Reid, together with a list of located works handled by Reid.