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Article

Molly K. Dorkin

[art consultant]

Paid adviser employed by collectors to recommend and facilitate the purchase of works of art. There is a long history of recruitment of art experts by wealthy patrons for advisery purposes. In the 18th century art historians such as Johann Joachim Winckelmann were actively advising leading collectors like Albani family §(2). In the early 20th century the English dealer Joseph Duveen earned a knighthood for his philanthropic efforts on behalf of British galleries. Enlisted by the so-called American Robber Barons for advice in forming collections, Duveen brokered the sale of many notable Old Masters from English aristocrats to American millionaires, including Henry Clay Frick, J. P. Morgan, Henry E. Huntington, and Andrew Mellon. Their collections ultimately formed the nuclei of many great American museums. Duveen’s contemporary Bernard Berenson was an American scholar and expert on Renaissance painting who turned his hand to art advising. Berenson assisted Isabella Stewart Gardner in forming her renowned collection of Renaissance art. His legacy as an academic is controversial thanks to his habit of accepting payment in exchange for favourable ...

Article

Molly K. Dorkin

Prior to the 20th century, the attribution of works of art was not governed by rigid regulations, and art dealers and auctioneers assigned attributions based purely on aesthetic grounds. Works were attributed to the artist whose manner they most closely resembled, but they were not further distinguished on the basis of quality; as a result, many paintings purchased as Renaissance masterpieces in the 18th or 19th century have since been downgraded to studio works or even much later pastiches.

Historically, the patrons who commissioned Old Masters placed a premium on subject-matter rather than originality, and popular narratives were requested by multiple patrons, creating conditions in which the demand for copies could flourish (see Copy). Popular compositions were often reproduced many times: by the master himself, an apprentice in his workshop, or even a later follower or imitator. A master trained his apprentices to approximate his manner as closely as possible, and sold the finished work under his own name. In some cases a master would paint the most important part of a work (such as the faces of the central figures) before delegating the rest to apprentices. Through the 19th century, pupils at prestigious institutions were taught by making copies of works by acknowledged masters. Many pieces, particularly drawings (which for much of their history were working tools, rather than art objects), were unsigned. Damaged or incomplete works of art were subjected to extensive restoration or reworking by later artists, a process that can cloud the question of attribution....

Article

British, 18th – 19th century, male.

Born 1804, in London.

Painter, watercolourist, draughtsman. Architectural views, landscapes.

Joseph Barrow was an antique dealer working in London where he exhibited numerous landscapes and architectural views at the Royal Academy from 1789 to 1802 and in 1790 and 1791...

Article

Bonhams  

Molly K. Dorkin

[Jones and Bonham; Bonhams & Brooks; Bonhams & Butterfields; Bonhams & Goodman]

Auction house established in London 1793 by William Charles Bonham, a book dealer (also recorded as Walter Bonham), and George Jones, from a gallery founded by Thomas Dodd (1771–1850), a dealer in antiquarian prints. Bonhams originally specialized in sales of prints in the 18th and 19th centuries, at which time the market was robust. By the 19th century Bonhams was also holding sales of antiques, which were advertised in the London press alongside similar offerings from Christie’s and Phillips. In the 1820s Dodd and fellow print dealer Martin Colnaghi catalogued the print collection belonging to Horace Walpole prior to its sale. Dodd and Colnaghi also catalogued the 50,000 works in the collection of Francis Douce for their donation to the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. By the 1850s Jones’s son Henry and Bonham’s son George had taken over the business, which became known as Jones and Bonham. Paintings had been offered in their sales alongside print collections since the 1840s....

Article

Noël Annesley

[Christie, Manson & Woods]

Auction house founded in London by James Christie (1730–1803). After a few years spent in the navy, James Christie worked as an assistant to an auctioneer named Mr Annesley in Covent Garden, London. He left Annesley in 1763 to set up on his own and in 1766 established his firm at the print warehouse of Richard Dalton in Pall Mall, where the Royal Academy held its exhibitions in its early years. In 1770 he moved his premises next door to Schomberg House, Pall Mall, where Thomas Gainsborough lived. The first known catalogue is dated 5 December 1766; it includes little of value except for a picture by Aelbert Cuyp. Christie rapidly established himself as one of the foremost auctioneers, however, cultivating a circle of friends and advisers that included Gainsborough, Reynolds, Horace Walpole, David Garrick, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and Edmund Burke, and receiving many auction consignments from royalty and the nobility. During the French Revolution the firm did particularly well through the abundance of works then coming into Britain. Among the more notable early Christie sales were that of the former collection of Pope ...

Article

Stephen T. Clarke, Harley Preston and Lin Barton

English family of silversmiths, industrialists, collectors, and patrons, of French origin. The family originated from the town of St Pierre on the Ile d’Oléron off La Rochelle. They arrived in London a few years after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, and between 1708 and 1780 three generations of Courtauld silversmiths were registered at the Goldsmiths’ Company. Augustine Courtauld (c.1686–c. 1751) was apprenticed to Simon Pantin in 1701 and, after becoming a freeman of the Goldsmiths’ Company in 1708, he started a business as a plateworker in Church Court, off St Martin’s Lane in London. The majority of his work is of high quality, for example a silver tea-table (1742; St Petersburg, Hermitage) and the state salt of the Corporation of the City of London (1730; London, Mansion House). Augustine’s brother Pierre Courtauld (1690–1729) registered a mark in 1721...

Article

Molly K. Dorkin

The world’s oldest auction house, founded in Vienna in April 1707 by Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor (reg 1705–11). Originally called the Versatz- und Fragamt zu Wien (‘The Pawn and Query Bureau of Vienna’), the firm moved in 1777 to the site of an old monastery, the Dorotheerkloster, from which the name ‘Dorotheum’ is derived. By the end of the 19th century the premises were outdated, so Emperor Francis-Joseph I (reg 1848–1916) commissioned the architect Emil von Förster (1838–1909) to design a suitably grand building. This new structure, called the Palais Dorotheum, was completed and formally opened in 1901 by the Emperor, in whose honour the central hall was named. In the early years of the 20th century the Dorotheum introduced many innovations to their auctioneering process, such as the division of sales into categories by object type. The first unique categories, introduced in 1900, were art and numismatics....

Article

Flemish School, 18th – 19th century, male.

Born 1763, in Tournai; died December 1838.

Sculptor, art dealer.

Paul Dumortier was a pupil of Moitte in Paris.

Article

Dutch, 18th – 19th century, male.

Active in Amsterdam.

Born 17 December 1773, in Hoorn; died 7 December 1843, in Gendringen.

Painter, art dealer. Landscapes.

Engelbert Michael Engelberts was the son of Engelbertus Matthias Engelberts. He painted townscapes and winter landscapes.

Article

Molly Dorkin

Place where works of art are displayed. In a commercial gallery, works of art are displayed for the purposes of sale (for information on non-commercial art galleries see Display of art and Museum, §I). Historically, artworks were commissioned by patrons directly from an artist and produced in his workshop. In the Netherlands, the economic boom following the conclusion of the Eighty Years’ War with Spain (1648) led to rising demand for art. Patrons began buying from dealers, some of whom produced illustrated catalogues. Antwerp became the centre of the art world. Galleries for the display and viewing of art appeared in paintings by Teniers family, §2 and Bruegel family, §3, although these were private not commercial spaces, or imaginary constructions.

The Paris Salon, which had been organized by the Académie Royale de Peinture et Sculpture since 1667, was opened to the public for the first time in ...

Article

British, 18th – 19th century, male.

Born 6 April 1747, in Carnarvonshire; died after 1819.

Engraver, watercolourist.

Moses Griffith was apprenticed to the antique dealer Pennant. Having engraved some book illustrations for his master, he went on to publish some engravings of landscapes on his own account....

Article

German, 18th – 19th century, male.

Born 14 May 1770, in Durlach (Baden-Württemberg); died 27 June 1831, in Bad Rippoldsau (Baden-Württemberg).

Engraver (burin).

Christian Haldenwang worked for the engraver and art dealer Christian von Mechel in Basel and taught himself to engrave by studying the works of Middiman and Wollet, whose styles he imitated. The reputation he acquired was sufficient to earn him the title of engraver to the Karlsruhe court. His subjects were mainly landscapes and portraits....

Article

Linda Whiteley

(b Cherbourg, March 2, 1766; d Paris, Jan 7, 1836).

French dealer, collector, museum official and painter. He studied under Charles Landon and Jean-Baptiste Regnault. In 1793 he began to deal in pictures and until 1812 spent part of his time travelling abroad (mainly in Italy) to increase his knowledge of art. In October 1816 he was appointed Commissaire-expert des Musées Royaux, a post he held until his death. Between 1810 and 1830 he assembled an eclectic collection, purchasing either privately or at sales, among them the posthumous sales (1826 and 1827) of Vivant Denon. His tastes in Italian art ranged from the work of Fra Angelico to that of the 17th-century Bolognese masters, and he also bought several works by such 17th-century French artists as Poussin (Life Spent in the Environs of Rome), Philippe de Champaigne (Assumption of the Virgin, 1660), Charles Le Brun and Eustache Le Sueur. He owned paintings by the 18th-century French artists ...

Article

Irish, 18th – 19th century, male.

Born c. 1762, in Dublin; died 1837, in Jersey.

Painter. Portraits.

James Dowling is known for his Portrait of the Poet Tom Moore. He was also a dealer in objets d'art.

Dublin: several works

Article

Dutch, 18th – 19th century, male.

Born 1771 or 1772, in Rotterdam; died 23 March 1827, in Utrecht.

Painter, art dealer. Still-lifes.

Amsterdam: Stable

Article

French, 18th – 19th century, male.

Born 18 July 1758, in Courtrai; died 12 January 1835, in Paris.

Painter, picture dealer. Church interiors, architectural views.

Pierre Joseph Lafontaine was first a student of Kaplan Van Neste, a distinguished connoisseur, who had him accepted by the academy in Courtrai, and then he worked with Jean Douelle. He concentrated especially on the painting of church interiors. He went to Paris, where he seems to have had some success. Taunay, Demarne, Swebach and Drolling worked on some of his pictures. Bryan's ...

Article

Dutch, 18th – 19th century, male.

Born 21 November 1771, in Dordrecht; died 7 March 1856, in Rotterdam.

Painter. Battles, landscapes, animals.

The son of Arie Lamme, Arnoldus Lamme adopted the style of Thierry Langendyk. He was a dealer in objets d'art in Rotterdam.

Dordrecht: Eating Mussels...

Article

French, 18th – 19th century, male.

Born 16 February 1748, in Paris; died 6 August 1813, in Paris.

Painter, picture dealer. Genre scenes.

Divorced from his wife, Jean Baptiste was the great-nephew of Charles Le Brun. He made his painting début at Expositions de la Jeunesse ('Exhibitions for Young People'), at Place Dauphine in ...

Article

(b Paris, Feb 16, 1748; d Paris, Aug 6, 1813).

French dealer, collector, writer, and painter. He was the son of a painter and picture dealer, Pierre Le Brun (c. 1703–1771), and great-nephew of Charles Le Brun. He studied painting with Jean-Baptiste Deshays, François Boucher, and Jean-Honoré Fragonard before becoming a leading connoisseur and art dealer. In 1776 he married the painter Louise-Elisabeth Vigée (see Vigée Le Brun [Vigée-Le Brun; Vigée-Lebrun], Elisabeth-Louise). He was curator of paintings to the King’s younger brother, Charles-Philippe de Bourbon, Comte d’Artois (later Charles X), and to Louis-Philippe-Joseph, Duc d’Orléans (1747–93), and subsequently acted as intermediary for foreign collectors, including Catherine the Great of Russia. His European art networks spanned England, Holland, Flanders, Italy, Spain, and Russia that he exploited to buy and sell art. In addition to his auction catalogues, Le Brun produced a series of erudite books and pamphlets and in some of his articles (1771–81...

Article

French, 18th – 19th century, male.

Active from 1760 to 1820.

Engravers (aquatint), print dealers. Historical subjects, portraits, genre scenes, hunting scenes, costume studies.

Little is known about these two engravers, Charles François Gabriel Levachez father and son, who worked in aquatint and colour, and whose works are difficult to distinguish. Printers of line-engravings and print dealers, they were astute merchants, in tune with the tastes of their time, and skilled in choosing what subjects to offer to the public. Their works still command very high prices and the following deserve particular mention: ...