Art: The Big Collectors

From the suburban housewife who pinches her household money to collect dolls of all nations to the squillionaire* searcher of continents, collectors are a race apart. What distinguishes them, for good or ill, is the fact that they are not only possessors, but possessed.

Critic-Author Aline B. Saarinen (wife of Architect Eero Saarinen) makes the point in a study of great American collectors published this week (The Proud Possessors; Random House; $5.95): "Their overpowering common denominator is this: for each of them, the collecting of art was a primary means of expression."

Major U.S. collecting began with a rush in the 1890s, when...

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