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Joseph Brummer (1883–1947)

Joseph Brummer (1883–1947)

The Parisian art dealers Joseph Brummer and his brothers Ernest Brummer (1891–1964) and Imre Brummer (1895–1928) had a small antiquities shop at 6, boulevard Raspail, which they opened in 1906 reportedly with the help of Royall Tyler (see Elizabeth P. Benson, “The Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre-Columbian Art: A Memoir,” in Collecting the Pre-Columbian Past, ed. Elizabeth Hill Boone [Washington, D.C., 1993], 18). Joseph Brummer had left his native Hungary to study art with Auguste Rodin and Henri Matisse in Paris. With his brother Ernest, he pursued art courses at the Sorbonne and the École du Louvre, where they studied with Salomon Reinach, who had recently been appointed director of the Musée des Antiquités Nationales. The Brummers dealt initially in African tribal arts before branching out into ancient, medieval, contemporary French, and pre-Columbian art. By 1913, they had moved their shop to 3, boulevard Raspail and after the war to 36, rue de Miromesuil. By 1921 the shop was located at 203 bis, boulevard Saint Germain. At the outbreak of the First World War, they moved to New York City where they opened a branch of their business in 1914 at 175 West 94th Street. In New York, the shop changed locations several times: 2 West 57th Street; 43 East 57th Street; 27-29 East 57th Street; and 55 East 57th Street. They quickly came to play an instrumental role in the formation of collections such as those of Henry Walters, William Randolph Hearst, Grenville Winthrop, the Metropolitan Museum, and the Cloisters. After the war, Ernest Brummer ran the Parisian business at 36, rue de Miromesuil. The sale of Joseph Brummer’s private collection after his death in 1947 was considered the high point of the Parke-Bernet season in 1948–1949 and realized $739,510.

Elizabeth P. Benson, "The Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre-Columbian Art: A Memoir," in Collecting the Pre-Columbian Past, ed. Elizabeth Hill Boone (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 1993), 18.

Caroline Bruzelius with Jill Meredith, The Brummer Collection of Medieval Art (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1991), 1–11.

Bonnie Effros, "Art of the ‘Dark Ages,’ Showing Merovingian Artefacts in North American Public and Private Collections," Journal of the History of Collections 17, no. 1 (2005): 94–95.

Leslie A. Hyam, foreword to The Notable Art Collection Belonging to the Estate of the Late Joseph Brummer, pt. 1 (New York: Parke-Bernet Galleries, 1949).


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