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date: 06 December 2019

Dreyfus, Gustavelocked

(b Paris, March 21, 1837; d Paris, Sept 29, 1914).
  • Douglas Lewis

Extract

(b Paris, March 21, 1837; d Paris, Sept 29, 1914).

French connoisseur and collector. In 1862–4 he served as secretary to his uncle, who was working on the construction of the Suez Canal, and in Cairo made notable acquisitions of Islamic art, which he later donated to the Louvre, Paris. On 29 November 1872 he purchased from the painter Charles Timbal (1821–80) 155 important early Renaissance sculptures, reliefs, small bronzes and paintings, collected by Timbal over the previous 20 years in Florence. To this nucleus Dreyfus occasionally made additions, in particular of bronzes: two sculptures that his heirs gave to the Louvre, the marble bust of Diotisalvi Neroni (c. 1465) by Mino da Fiesole and the bronze group of St Jerome with the Lion (1490s) by Bartolomeo Bellano, epitomize the principal strengths of his collection. Dreyfus’s reputation, however, rests on his achievement as a connoisseur and collector of Renaissance medals and plaquettes. Although barely two dozen bronze reliefs, and only a dozen medals, had been included in the purchase from Timbal, Dreyfus left two incomparable collections: one of almost 700 medals (one of the richest ...

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