Links, J. G.

Full Name: 
Links, J. G.
Other Names: 
Joseph Gluckstein Links
Date Born: 
1904
Date Died: 
1997
Place Born: 
London, England, UK
Place Died: 
London, England, UK
Home Country: 
UK
Gender: 
male
Overview: 

Canaletto scholar and furrier. His father, a Jewish refugee from Hungary, was co-founder of the fur business, Calman Links. His mother died when Links was 13 and the poor health of his father forced the younger Links to take over the business instead of pursuing an art career. Link remained in the fur business his life, at one point becoming director of the Hudson's Bay Company and gaining the royal warrant as the Queen of England's furrier. He tried experimental mystery-crime writing, collaborating with Dennis Wheatley in the late 1930s on commercially sold parlor games involved with crime-solving. During World War II he served as a Wing Commander in the RAF. A chance meeting of Robert Lutyens, son of the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, resulted in a marriage to his sister, Mary Lutyens (1908-1999) in 1945. His wife later became a noted writer. Throughout their lives the two wrote books in tandem, read aloud together, and shared a passion for Venice. The Links travelled to Venice several times a year, often tracing John Ruskin's steps in The Stones of Venice. When W. G. Constable published his monograph and catalogue raisonné on Canaletto in 1962, Links contacted him about additional Canaletto paintings. Constable was so impressed by Links seriousness and knowledge of the artist's works (indeed, one of Constable's missing Canaletto's hung over Link's sister-in-law's fireplace) that Constable asked him to revise the book for a second edition. In the interim, Links published a highly praised book on travel in Venice, Venice for Pleasure in1966, and researched and published The Ruskins in Normandy (1968). Though not "society people," they entertained during these middle years in their Sussex home, and were famous for their dry Martinis. Links' Views of Venice by Canaletto, engraved by Antonio Visentini, was published in 1971; the second edition of Constable's catalogue raisonné on Canaletto thoroughly revised by Links appeared in 1976. By that time Links had become an acknowledged Canaletto scholar and connoisseur, consulted when paintings turned up in private galleries and when paintings were considered for restoration. A small book on the artist solely by Links, Canaletto and his Patrons, followed in 1977, and in 1982 a more substantial one. Links assisted in the exhibition of Canaletto at the Queen's Gallery in 1980, examining many Canalettos in detail for the first time. In 1989 the third edition of the Constable/Links monograph appeared with Links as an acknowledged co-author. The same year the Metropolitan Museum in New York launched a major Canaletto exhibition, organized by Links. Beginning in the 1960s, he became involved in the establishment of the Venice in Peril Fund, a fundraising group for repairing the sinking city. He died at his London home in 1997.

Selected Bibliography: 
and Baetjer, Katharine. Canaletto. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art/H. N. Abrams, 1989; Canaletto. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1982; and Constable, William George. Canaletto: Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768. 2d ed. 2 vols. New York: Clarendon Press, 1976; Canaletto and his patrons. New York: New York University Press, 1977.
Sources: 
[obituaries:] Levey, Michael. "J. G. Links: Venice with a Passion." The Guardian (London), October 13, 1997, p. 15 ; Anderson, Sarah. "J. G. Links." The Independent (London), October 3, 1997, p. 22.