Joseph Pulitzer Jr. inherited the famous name and occupation of his grandfather, the journalist and publisher who established the Pulitzer Prize. Yet while he carried on the family business in St. Louis, he was also building one of the greatest private art collections of the 20th century. Classic Modern is the first biography to focus on this often-overlooked aspect of Pulitzer's life-arguably his greatest passion.
Marjorie B. Cohn reveals how Pulitzer helped to introduce modern art, including the work of artists such as Picasso, Miro, and Beckmann, to the Midwest, despite the region's lack of receptiveness. The book also includes details about Pulitzer's commissions-the first outdoor, site-specific works by Serra, Flavin, and Judd among them-along with never-before-released purchase prices. Integral to the account are tensions between upper-class collectors and countercultural artists, and between connoisseurs and the cultural theorists who were gaining ground in the academy.