Making it Modern: The Folk Art Collection of Elie and Viola Nadelman

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In December, 2017 The Frick’s Center for the History of Collecting awarded its biennial book prize for a distinguished publication on the history of collecting in America to Making It Modern: The Folk Art Collection of Elie and Viola Nadelman. 

This lavishly illustrated volume is the first comprehensive study of the folk art collection purchased by the New-York Historical Society from Elie and Viola Nadelman in 1937. Exhibited by the couple from 1926 to 1937 in their pioneering Museum of Folk and Peasant Arts in Riverdale, New York, the nearly 15,000 works come from a collection spanning six centuries, thirteen countries, and a broad range of media. Authors Margaret K. Hofer and Roberta J.M. Olson explore a nucleus of some 216 highlights in 87 catalogue entries, as well as nine of Nadelman's own sculptures, and consider the possible interchanges between the Nadelman's collecting and his avant-garde art. Their research, employing new archival evidence from the Historical Society and the rich cache of Nadelman Papers, has resulted in exciting discoveries, among them Nadelman's active role in restoring some of his folk art objects.

Featuring seven provocative essays by the authors and other leading scholars, Making It Modern breaks new ground not only on the Nadelmans and folk art, but also in the history of American art and taste during the fast-paced cultural revolutions of the early 20th century.

Margaret K. Hofer is vice president and director, New-York Historical Society

Roberta J.M. Olson is curator of drawings, New-York Historical Society

Elizabeth Stillinger is an independent scholar.

Kenneth L. Ames is professor at the Bard Graduate Center, New York City.

Cynthia Nadelman is an independent scholar and writer.

Barbara Haskell is the curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Hardcover; 376 pages

Item Number: 13473