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date: 22 October 2019

Cognacq, (Théodore-)Ernestlocked

(b Saint Martin de Ré, nr La Rochelle, Charente, Oct 2, 1839; d Paris, Feb 21, 1928).
  • Claire Brisby

Extract

(b Saint Martin de Ré, nr La Rochelle, Charente, Oct 2, 1839; d Paris, Feb 21, 1928).

French collector. From a large family of modest means, he started work in a draper’s shop in Paris at the age of 15 and then sold trifles under a red umbrella on the Pont Neuf. In 1870 he rented his first shop on the corner of Rue du Pont Neuf and Rue de la Monnaie, thereby initiating La Samaritaine, a department store renowned for its modern methods of display. He made a fortune selling cloth to the Garde Nationale during the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71) and in 1872 married Louise Jay, whose business acumen contributed considerably to the success of the enterprise. At his death he left a successful commercial business, a foundation for the social welfare of his employees and a substantial collection of works of art bequeathed to the town of Paris as the Musée Cognacq–Jay.

Cognacq began buying works of art early in the 1880s and made consistent acquisitions from ...

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