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Transformative BeautyArt Museums in Industrial Britain$
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Amy Woodson-Boulton

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804778046

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804778046.001.0001

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Collecting for Art as Experience, or Why Millais Trumps Rembrandt

Collecting for Art as Experience, or Why Millais Trumps Rembrandt

(p.83) 3 Collecting for Art as Experience, or Why Millais Trumps Rembrandt
Transformative Beauty
Stanford University Press

This chapter discusses the contested development of the museums' art collections, showing that the museums of Birmingham, Liverpool, and Manchester collected art with the understanding that they were providing essential experiences rather than representative historical or educational collections. The municipal art museums in these cities opened in purpose-built galleries with intact permanent collections, although of varying quality, representativeness, and scope. The municipal art museum in Birmingham had been both an “art gallery” and an “industrial museum.” Representations of the naked human form have been disputed in the municipal art museums in Liverpool. The battle between reformers and the “popular party” played out in the conflict over the place of applied art in the Manchester collection. For all three museums, art was socially significant and potentially beneficial due to its ability to represent the experience of beauty, and applied art could be a vital means for enhancing industrial design.

Keywords:   municipal art museums, art collections, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, beauty, applied art, industrial design

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