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Joseph Brummer (1883–1947)

The Parisian art dealers Joseph Brummer and his brothers Ernest Brummer (1891–1964) and Imre Brummer (1895–1928) had an antiquities shop at 3, boulevard Raspail. Joseph had first opened a shop in 1906 at 6, boulevard Raspail, 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). In 1909, the shop was at 67, boulevard Raspail under the name Maison Delhomme et Brummer. By November 1910 it was renamed Maison Joseph Brummer. The gallery moved in January 1911 to 3, boulevard Raspail, at which location it would remain until the early 1920s. Ernest and Imre joined the business in 1911, and by January 1912 the shop was renamed Brummer Frères – Brummer Curiosités. Joseph Brummer had left his native Hungary to study art with Auguste Rodin and Henri Matisse in Paris. His brother Ernest pursued art courses at the Sorbonne and the École du Louvre, where he 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. The Brummers 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. In 1914, Imre and Joseph moved to New York and in 1920 had opened an American gallery which changed addresses frequently: 19 West 52nd Street; 27, 30, 43, 53, and 55 East 57th Street; 110 East 58th Street, 11 East 68th Street, and 383 Park Avenue. Joseph continued to run the business in New York until his death in 1947. The sale of Joseph Brummer’s private collection after his death was considered the high point of the Parke-Bernet season in 1948–1949 and realized $739,510.

Branislav Anđelković and Jonathan P. Elias, “Ernest Brummer and the Coffin of Nefer-renepet from Akhmim,” Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology, n.s. 8, no. 2 (2013): 565–584 (esp. 568571).

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.

Yaëlle Biro, “African Arts between Curios, Antiquities, and Avant-garde at the Maison Brummer, Paris (1908–1914),” Journal of Art Historiography 12 (June 2015): 1–15.

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.

William H. Forsyth, “The Brummer Brothers: An Instinct for the Beautiful,” Art News 73, no. 8 (1974): 106–07.

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).