Skip to Content
Admission is always free Directions
Quinn, John
American, 1870 - 1924
Biography
Born April 24, 1870, in Tiffin, Ohio, John Quinn was the son of James W. and Mary (Quinlan) Quinn, of Irish ancestry on both sides. He studied for one year at the University of Michigan, later receiving LL.B. degrees from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. (1893), and from Harvard (1895). He became the Private Secretary to the Hon. Charles Foster, Secretary of the Treasury in the Harrison Cabinet (1890-93). From 1895 to 1900, Quinn was associated in a New York City practice with Gen. Benjamin F. Tracy, then was a member of Alexander & Colby for the following six years. Quinn headed his own law office beginning in 1906. He was named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in France, for services during the war. In 1920-21, he tried and won in the Supreme Court the case that settled the constitutionality of the Trading with Enemy Act and upheld the validity of seizure of alien-owned property in the U.S. An active patron of the arts and literature, Quinn gathered a valuable collection of modern art as well as acquiring the original manuscripts of the author Joseph Conrad. He assisted in the publication of many manuscripts and in procuring patrons for scores of talented young painters. He supported with great interest the modern Irish literary and theatrical movement. He co-organized the International Exhibition of Modern Art (1913) in New York, and conducted a campaign which resulted in the removal of all duty on modern works of art. John Quinn was made an honorary fellow for life of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in recognition of his services in the cause of free art. He died in New York on July 28, 1924.

Bibliography
1924
[Obituary of John Quinn]. New York Times (29 July 1924): 15:3.
1926
John Quinn, 1870-1925 [sic], Collection of Paintings, Water Colors, Drawings & Sculpture. Foreward by Forbes Watson. Huntington, NY, 1926.
1926
Watson, Forbes. "The John Quinn Collection, Part III." The Arts 9 (February 1926): 76-92.
1926
Watson, Forbes. "The John Quinn Collection [Parts I and II]." The Arts 9 (January 1926): 5-22.
1978
Young, Mahonri Sharp. "The Sporting Thing to Do." Apollo 108 (September 1978): 196-197.
1978
Zilczer, Judith. "The noble buyer": John Quinn, patron of the avant-garde. Exh. cat. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., 1978.
1979
Zilczer, Judith. "The Dispersal of John Quinn's Collection." The Connoisseur 202 (September 1979): 22-27.
1980
Reid, B.L. The Man From New York; John Quinn and His Friends. New York, 1968.
1986
Hahnloser-Ingold, Margrit. "Collecting Matisses of the 1920s in the 1920s," in Matisse: The Early Years in Nice. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, 1986: 246.
Related Content

Filter results by:

Limit to works on view

Limit to works with online images

Limit to works of classification:

Limit to works of artist nationalities:

Limit to works belonging to editions:

Limit to works created between:

Limit to works containing styles:

Limit to works containing photographic processes:

Find works executed in:


Find works containing subject terms:


Find works with an alternate reference number (for example, Key Set number) containing:


  • Filters: