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Sally Webster

(b West Overton, PA, Dec 19, 1849; d New York, Dec 2, 1919).

American industrialist, collector, and museum creator. Frick received little formal education and went to work at an early age as a bookkeeper. By the early 1870s he had earnt enough money to buy up coke fields in Western Pennsylvania, processing the coke in his own ovens. In a few short years he was the major supplier of fuel for Pittsburgh’s iron and steel industries and by the time he was 30 had earned his first million. In celebration he travelled to Europe with Andrew Mellon who, in 1937, would donate his collection and money for the establishment of Washington’s National Gallery of Art. In London they visited the Wallace Collection, which would later serve as prototype for Frick’s New York house–museum. After marrying Adelaide Howard Childs (1859–1931) on 15 December 1881, Frick bought and expanded Clayton, a 23-room home, now part of the Frick Art and Historical Center, Pittsburgh....

Article

James Miller

revised by Molly Dorkin

Auction house founded in London by Samuel Baker (1713–78), a bookseller. His first recorded auction sale was of the library of Sir John Stanley on 11 March 1744 in the Great Room, over Exeter Exchange, in the Strand, London. While primarily selling books, from the start he included the fine arts. The business prospered, and Baker moved the firm to York Street, Covent Garden. His first sale there, in 1754, was of the library of the physician Dr Richard Mead, which was sold in two parts lasting 57 days and realized £5,508 10s. 11d. In 1767 Baker took George Leigh (1742–1816) into the firm, which then became Baker & Leigh. On Baker’s death in 1778, his nephew John Sotheby (1740–1807) inherited the business. The firm, renamed Leigh & Sotheby, continued to expand into other areas with the first of the seven sales of duplicate coins and books from the ...

Article

Malcolm Gee

(b St-Denis, Réunion, c. 1867; d Paris, Feb 19, 1939)

French art dealer and publisher. He was the most notable contemporary art dealer of his generation in France, as well as an innovative publisher of prints and illustrated books. Brought up in Réunion, he arrived in Paris c. 1890 as a law student and soon started buying and selling prints and drawings for his own pleasure. After a period working at L’Union Artistique for Alphonse Dumas, an established dealer, he set up on his own and in 1894 opened a small gallery near the Opéra on the Rue Laffitte, then the centre of the Paris art trade.

Vollard made his first major impact as a dealer in 1895 when he organized Cézanne’s first one-man exhibition. Over the next ten years he built up, at relatively low cost, a large stock of paintings by Cézanne, which eventually provided him with enormous profits. Concurrently he acquired work by van Gogh, Gauguin, Bonnard, ...