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African arts between curios, antiquities, and avant-garde at the Maison Brummer, Paris (1908-1914)


Before World War I, Hungarian-born art dealer Joseph Brummer (1883-1947) developed in Paris an extensive trade network through talented salesmanship and brilliant art selections. Helped by his brothers Imre (1889-1928) and Ernest (1891-1964), he promoted original art-forms that were not previously integral to the Western art canon. Juxtaposing works from Africa with art of Medieval Europe, Ancient Greece and Rome, as well as creations by living artists, the Maison Brummer blurred the boundaries that existed between these fields of collecting and was instrumental in awakening the interest of many collectors and museum professionals. Despite the Brummer brothers’ extensive international dealership and the fame of the collections they helped build, only recently has in depth scholarship begun to explore their activities. Using an array of unpublished archival documents and little-examined written accounts, this paper focuses on the early history of the Maison Brummer before its expansion to New York in 1914.

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