Art: The Grand Acquisitor

In 1903 J. Pierpont Morgan sat for the most succinct photograph of big money ever taken: Alfred Steichen's portrait of the financial titan glaring at the intrusive lens, an old, suspicious bull walrus, one hand gripping the chair arm as though about to reduce its mahogany to flinders, highlights glittering sharply on his eyeballs. He looks like a boiler on the verge of explosion. If Morgan had never felt the impulse to collect, this photograph would still have given him a place in the history of art. But it would have been...

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