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Spotlight Profile: John Quinn

Can you buy the artworks you that love and that are of value even on a tight budget? Many people who are interested in beginning art collection wonder whether it is possible to do so effectively within their economic means. Notably, the famous American art collector John Quinn is known for doing just that. Quinn was born in 1870 in Tiffin, Ohio. Quinn was the first born of his eight siblings to Irish immigrants James Willliam Quinn and Mary Quinlan Quinn. Quinn made his career as a New York lawyer with a modest income, but rose to fame for his extensive art patronage and the impressive art collection he amassed before his death in 1924.

Quinn was able to afford purchasing art by using his limited salary not to splurge on the expensive, old European masterpieces that were popular for his time, but on the art pieces he found personal appreciation for in more unknown, contemporary artists. Quinn began his art collection by purchasing from Irish artists in his desire to support his Irish heritage. As he formed friendships with other artists and art patrons whom he discovered through his own art explorations, Quinn was introduced even more deeply into the world of art. By pursuing his passions and own aesthetic interests, and closely observing art trends, Quinn soon took his position in the forefront as a dominant patron of the new modern art market.

John Quinn saw value in art where others did not. Instead of relying on the opinions of one or two art critics, Quinn observed the art market in its entirely, was willing to take risks in purchasing works from unknown or new artists. His steadfast patronage to many artists helped them increase their reputation and gain popularity and success. Quinn, however, did not ignore the artistic and commercial value of his purchases either, and was eager to find contemporary masterpieces. And, Quinn was able to find them: through touring galleries, observing art, and purchasing works that resonated through their color, composition, or story. It was not Quinn’s income that determined his status as an art patron, but his enthusiasm and commitment to finding true works of art which allowed him to obtain one of the largest and most valuable art collections of his time.




For further reading access to our FREE downloadable outlines of Reading Recommendations:

B. L. Reid’s The Man From New York: John Quinn

Title: The Man From New York – John Quinn and His Friends (Book Outline) Author: B. L. Reid The work is a detailed account of John Quinn’s life beginning from 1870 to his death in 1924. Quinn began undertaking art collection soon after the establishment of his law practice in New York City. It was […]

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Judith Zilczer’s The Noble Buyer: John Quinn, Patron of the Avant-Garde

Title: The Noble Buyer: John Quinn, Patron of the Avant-Garde (Book Outline) Author: Judith Zilczer This book is perfect for beginning or inquisitive art collectors who want to learn about a man who famously dedicated himself to art patronage despite a modest income. John Quinn not only prospered financially through his enthusiasm for art collection […]

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John Quinn

An inspirational collector for our modern age.