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Portrait of Joseph Brummer by Henri Rousseau, 1909, now in the National Gallery, London

Joseph Brummer (1883 – 14 April 1947) was a Hungarian-born art dealer and collector who exhibited both antique artifacts from different cultures, early European art, and the works of modern painters and sculptors in his galleries in Paris and New York. In 1906 he and his two brothers opened their first gallery in Paris, the Brummer Gallery. At the start of World War I, they closed the gallery and moved to New York City. Joseph alone opened his next gallery in 1921 in Manhattan.


Joseph (originally József) Brummer was born in Sombor, then in Hungary (now Serbia), in 1883. He studied applied arts in Szeged from 1897 on, and continued these studies in Budapest from 1899 on. Afterward, he studied at Munich before starting on his own as an artist in Budapest and Szeged.

Together with his brothers Ernest (1891-1964) and Imre (died 1928), he moved to Paris in 1905. In 1906, Brummer and his brothers opened the Brummer Gallery in Paris at the Boulevard Raspail, where they sold African art, Japanese prints and pre-Columbian, mainly Peruvian art, alongside contemporary paintings and sculptures.[1]

During the autumn of 1908, he shared a studio space at Cité Falguière with avant-garde sculptor Joseph Csaky, who was also from Szeged and Budapest.[2] Brummer studied sculpture under Jules-Felix Coutan, Auguste Rodin and in 1908 Henri Matisse. He also attended the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, and thus got to know contemporary artists.

At the start of World War I, Joseph Brummer closed in Paris and moved to New York City. In 1921 he reopened a gallery at 43 East Fifty-Seventh Street in Manhattan. He specialized in medieval and Renaissance European art, and Classical, Ancient Egyptian, African, and pre-Columbian objects, but also hosted some of the earliest exhibitions of modern European art in the United States. It stayed in business until 1949, two years after Joseph's death.[3]

A major part of his private art collection was bought by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1947.[4] A second part of the Joseph Brummer art collection, still over 2400 lots, was sold in 1949 by Parke-Bernet Galleries.

The final part, 600 pieces that remained in the family, were sold in Zurich in October 1979. These pieces were eventually inherited by Ernest Brummer's widow, Ella Bache Brummer. Their value was estimated at $10 million.[5]

From 1931 until 1948, Brummer had owned the Guennol Lioness; between 2007 and 2010, it was the most expensive sculpture ever sold at auction.[6]

In 1909 Brummer had his portrait painted by Henri Rousseau.[7] and by Anne Goldthwaite in 1915.[8] In 1993, the Rousseau portrait was sold by Christie's for £2,971,500 ($4,421,592).[9] It is currently owned by the National Gallery.


This is an incomplete list of the exhibitions of modern art in the Brummer Gallery in New York.


  1. ^ Carder, James N. (2010). A Home of the Humanities: The Collecting Patronage of Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss. Harvard University Press. p. 224. ISBN 978-0-88402-365-4. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  2. ^ Edith Balas, 1998, Joseph Csaky: A Pioneer of Modern Sculpture, American Philosophical Society
  3. ^ a b c d e "Brummer Gallery". Gilded Age. New York Art Resources Consortium. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  4. ^ "RARE ART BOUGHT BY METROPOLITAN; Group, Valued at $1,000,000, Contains the Major Part of Brummer Collection". The New York Times. 16 September 1947. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  5. ^ "American's $10-million art collection on block". Rome News-Tribune. UPI. 27 September 1979. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  6. ^ Wigmore, Barry (7 December 2007). "£10m an inch - 3 1/4in carving of lioness roars into the record books as Briton buys it for £29m". Daily Mail. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  7. ^ "Picture by Ridiculed Artist May Fetch Millions". Daily News. Reuter. 6 October 1993. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  8. ^ Dohme Breeskin, Adelyn (1982). Anne Goldthwaite: a catalogue raisonné of the graphic work. Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. p. 141. ISBN 978-0-89280-019-3. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  9. ^ "Henri Rousseau, called "Le Douanier"". Christie's. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  10. ^ Brancusi: catalogue : of exhibition November 17-December 15, 1926. Brummer Gallery. 1926. p. 44.
  11. ^ "Art: 51 Portraits". Time. 18 November 1929. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  12. ^ Brancusi: exhibition November 17, 1933 - January 13, 1934. Brummer Gallery. 1933.

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