America's Medicis: the Rockefellers and Their Astonishing Cultural Legacy
Suzzane Loebl. America's Medicis: the Rockefellers and their astonishing cultural legacy
Loebl (America's Art Museums) chronicles the collecting and funding exploits of oil heir John D. Rockefeller Jr.; his wife, Abby; and their children in this placid, appreciative study of "America's greatest arts patrons." Their imprint on 20th-century art was indelible—Abby cofounded New York's Museum of Modern Art—but the author surveys a vast set of initiatives underwritten by the family, including the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute Museum, Colonial Williamsburg, influential collections and museums of medieval Mexican, African, and American folk art. There were also grand houses and parks, and architectural gems like New York's Rockefeller Center and Riverside Church. Loebl generally applauds Rockefeller tastes, downplays the dynamic of plutocratic vanity, and shrugs off urbanist criticisms of the Rockefeller-led Lincoln Center. Aside from the brouhaha over Diego Rivera's Communist-inflected Rockefeller Center mural, with images of a saintly Lenin and wealthy socialites wreathed in syphilis germs, there's not much excitement. Loebl's interest is less in personalities than in the art and architecture, which she describes in rapturous detail accompanied by lavish photos that make the book feel like a gracefully written but staid gift shop catalogue. 16 pages of color photos, 48 black&white photos. -- Publishers Weekly review
Rockefeller family, art collections, art patronage, philanthropy
Loebl, Suzanne, "America's Medicis: the Rockefellers and Their Astonishing Cultural Legacy" (2010). The Rockefellers. 23.