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Malcolm Gee

revised by Pamela Elizabeth Grimaud

(b Paris, Feb 19, 1853; d Paris, July 17, 1929).

French couturier, patron, collector and bibliophile (see fig.). He joined his family’s clothing business in 1875 and played a central role in its development into one of the premier haute couture houses in Paris. Refined, exacting and possessed of an unerring appreciation for beauty, Doucet was an avid patron of the arts whose taste was reflected in the fashions designed under his name. He may initially have bought art for public relations purposes; however, it became the central interest in his life, partly, it seems, because the superior exercise of taste allowed him to compensate for social disappointments. Following a vogue that was already quite widespread by 1880, he built up an outstanding collection of 18th-century French art and design, which he housed in a magnificent 18th-century style hôtel in the Rue Spontini: it included Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s Le Feu aux poudres (Paris, Louvre), Jean-Siméon Chardin’s House of Cards...

Article

(b Keighley, W. Yorks, March 28, 1834; d Paterson, NJ, Feb 15, 1923).

American manufacturer and collector. He came to Boston in 1851 and began his career as a bookkeeper with the firm of Tilt & Dexter, manufacturers of silk goods and dress trimmings. In 1855 he became a partner and head of the New York branch. In 1858 he bought out Dexter and became head of the company known as Dexter, Lambert & Co., moving the factory from Boston to Paterson, NJ. He built a home, Belle-Vista Castle, in Paterson, which became the showplace of the city, especially for his large and diverse art collection of more than 600 paintings. He was a patron of Ralph Albert Blakelock and owned 11 of his paintings (e.g. Sunset; Trenton, NJ State Mus.). In 1899 he sold Monet’s Chrysanthemums (1882) and Renoir’s By the Seashore (1883) to Durand-Ruel’s gallery in New York: these were acquired by Henry Osborne Havemeyer (1848–1907...

Article

Milo Cleveland Beach

(b Metz, 1854; d 1942)

French jeweller and collector. Vever directed the family jewellery business, begun in Metz by his grandfather Pierre-Paul Vever (d 1853). After the capture of Metz in the Franco-Prussian War (1871), the family moved to Luxembourg and then Paris, where the Maison Vever became well established on the Rue de la Paix, winning the Grand Prix of the universal expositions in 1889 and 1900 and becoming a leader in the Art Nouveau movement. Vever gave an important group of Art Nouveau works to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. His early interest in contemporary French painting led him to assemble a large and important group of works by Corot, Sisley, Renoir and Monet, of which he sold the majority (Paris, Gal. Georges Petit, 1897) to concentrate on Japanese and Islamic art. Vever had begun to collect Japanese prints in the 1880s and in 1892 joined the distinguished private group ...