When asked to say something about “collecting,” the first thought that enters my mind is a negative one: it is not “accumulating.” And a second negative: it is not “investing.” What then, stated positively, is collecting? It is acquiring objects that have some relation to each other and putting those objects into the kind of order that reflects the collector’s response to them. Each true collection achieves a personality beyond and apart from the sum of the objects. This personality is definable and has a value in itself. It is lost if the collection is dispersed or mutilated.[1]

All the above is true, I believe, of collections of baseball cards, beetles and butterflies, stamps and coins, and many other categories of collecting and ordering, but true only peripherally. It is the category of art collecting that concerns me here, and this is the category in...

 

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