Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Art #20, Entrails of Finance #3, Manhattan #44,

Think of it, ye millionaires of many markets, what glory may yet be yours if you only listen to our advice, to convert pork into porcelain, grain and produce into priceless pottery, the rude ores of commerce into sculptured marble, and railroad shares and mining stocks—things which perish without the using, and which in the next financial panic shall surely shrivel like parched scrolls—into the glorified canvases of the world’s masters, that shall adorn these walls for centuries. The rage of Wall Street is to hunt the Philosopher’s Stone, to convert all baser things into gold, which is but dross; but ours is the higher ambition to convert your useless gold into things of living beauty that shall be a joy to a whole people for a thousand years.

Joseph H. Choate, to the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, upon the opening of the museum. (1880)