CIHA 2016 in Beijing

34th World Congress of Art History

About History Press Release Sessions Schedule Activities Participants Venue Discussion Registration Closed


WAGELIE, Jennifer
The W.O. Oldman Effect: One Man’s Influence on Early American Ethnographic Museums

Session 16 Commodity and Market

Jan   Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art    


When William O. Oldman sold his collection of Maori ethnographic objects to the New Zealand government for £44,000 in 1948, it marked the dismantling of a massive secret collection that he had squired away from his clients for decades, as one of the premier dealers of ethnographic art in the early twentieth-century. Based in London, his operation relied on the auction houses of the United Kingdom where he amassed a huge collection of African and Polynesian art, most especially objects from New Zealand. This paper looks closely at Oldman’s ethnographic object operation, providing a case study examining the transmission of objects and knowledge between dealer and early ethnographic museum.

WAGELIE, Jennifer

Jennifer Wagelie is the Academic Liaison at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art in Davis, California. She received her PhD in art history from the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her area of study is the art of the Pacific Islands, specifically Maori art and material culture, with other research interests in the history of museums, collections and exhibitions.