The Brummer Galleries, Paris and New York

Defining Taste from Antiquities to the Avant-Garde


This is the first thorough investigation of the Brummer brothers’ remarkable career as dealers in antiques, curiosities and modernism in Paris and New York over six decades (1906-1964). A dozen specialists aggregate their expertise to explore extant dealer records and museum archives, parse the wide-ranging Brummer stock, and assess how objects were sourced, marketed, labelled, restored, and displayed. The research provides insights into emerging collecting fields as they crystallised, at the crossroads between market and museum. It questions the trope of the tastemaker; the translocation of material culture, and the dealers’ prolific relationships with illustrious collectors, curators, scholars, artists, and fellow dealers.

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Yaëlle Biro, PhD (2010), Africanist art historian and independent scholar, was formerly Curator of African arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2007-21). She notably published Fabriquer le regard : Marchands, réseaux et objets d’art africains à l’aube du XXe siècle (2018), and co-edited Rhapsodic Objects: Art, Agency, and Materiality, 1700–2000 (2022).

Christine E. Brennan, PhD (2019), is Senior Researcher and Collections Manager, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, The Met (1992-present). Her recent publications include “Prince Pierre Soltykoff’s Famed Collection of Medieval Art” in Collecting and Provenance: A Multidisciplinary Approach (2019) and “Fragmented Histories” in Making The Met, 1870-2020 (2020).

Christel H. Force, PhD (2001), independent scholar, formerly held curatorial positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2005-2018) and the Museum of Modern Art (1990-2005), New York. She edited Pioneers of the Global Art Market: Paris-Based Dealers Networks, 1850-1950 (2020); and her recent publications include "Otto Feldmann, promoteur de Picasso en Allemagne avant 1914” in Les artistes et leurs galeries: Paris-Berlin (2020), and "The Elliptical and Anonymous Format of Provenance Revisited” in Collecting and Provenance (2021).'
List of Figures and Tables

Christel H. Force, Yaëlle Biro and Christine E. Brennan

1 The Brummer Galleries: A Chronology
Christel H. Force

Part 1: A Family Affair—The Brummers and Art Dealing in Paris, 1906–1914

2 Innate Taste or Construction of the Gaze: Joseph Brummer and the Promotion of the African Object as Art
Yaëlle Biro

3 Picassos at ‘Brummer Frères—Curiosités’ and Beyond: From Frank Burty Haviland’s Collection to John Quinn’s
Christel H. Force

Part 2: From Paris to New York—A Gallery in Transition, 1914–

4 Joseph Brummer and the Flourishing of Byzantine Art History
Elizabeth Dospěl Williams

5 Pioneers or Followers? The Brummer Brothers and Egyptian Art, 1910–1922
Tom Hardwick

6 Curiosités at Brummers
Julie Jones

Part 3: New York—The Triumphant Years

7 The Brummer Gallery and Medieval Art in America, 1914–1947
Christine E. Brennan

8 The Brummer Gallery and the Conservation of Medieval Sculptures in the Early Decades of the Twentieth Century
Lucretia Kargère

9 Joseph Brummer, the Met, and Classical Antiquities in the United States
Maya Muratov

10 The Brummer Gallery and the Making of Iranian and Islamic Arts
Anne Dunn-Vaturi and Martina Rugiadi

Part 4: Direct Witnesses

Appendix A

Interview with John Laszlo

Appendix B

Interview with Richard S. Brummer (1924–2022)

Appendix C

Curatorial Reflections on the Brummer Gallery, Joseph, Ernest, and Ella Baché Brummer
William D. Wixom

Museum libraries; specific curatorial departments within encyclopaedic museums; university libraries (in the US, France, Hungary, and Germany especially); research institutes; museum professionals such as curators, archivists and conservators; academics (art history, art market studies, history of collecting, Jewish studies, immigrations studies); students (undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate); archaeologists; provenance experts; art dealers, auction house specialists and other art market professionals; art collectors; amateurs of antiques and curiosities; sociologists; historians; economists (art and antiques market); and a general audience of art lovers.
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