Paul Rosenberg, a merchant with a vision part 1
"If only I could create something, if God had given me this gift, I would find endless pleasure in doing it. Paul Rosenberg wrote to Matisse: I must be content to enjoy the admiration I have for the creations of others, of which your works are part. He chose to close his Parisian gallery where, for two decades, he promoted modern art, pushing up the ratings of those who would become his most prominent artists, before being a victim of the anti-Jewish laws of the Vichy regime. The Maillol museum traces the journey of this exceptional dealer, who distributed the works of Picasso, Braque, Matisse and Léger across the Atlantic. This exhibition was born from a book published in 2012. That of Paul Rosenberg's granddaughter, Marie Laurencin, Anne Sinclair at the age of 4 , 1952 Paul Rosenberg begins to work with his brother Léonce in the gallery of their father, one of the first to bet on the Impressionists. When the latter died in 1906, they took over the business located on avenue de l'Opéra, but separated four years later and founded their own galleries. Paul moved into a chic Haussmannian building at 21, rue La Boétie, in the 8th arrondissement, where he focused on the Impressionists and the Barbizon school. Léonce opens the modern Effort gallery close to his brother's gallery, at 19, rue de La Baume. He recovers the cubists Picasso and Braque, discovered by Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, an unfortunate visionary merchant who, because of his German nationality, saw his gallery in 1914 placed under sequestration as property belonging to the enemy. Léonce will even be the expert of the auction of the assets of Kahnweiler, organized in June 1921 in Drouot. The profession will never forgive him. The episode is famous: furious to see his paintings sold off on the day of the sale, Braque will throw himself on Léonce and kick his buttocks. “When we discuss pricing [with Picasso], that's where the fun begins. We exchange terrible arguments, but always friendly. I told him one day that I would like to bite one of hischeeks and kiss the other! " Paul Rosenberg The big rival Kahnweiler dismissed, Léonce in difficulty, the situation benefits Paul, known for his seriousness and his sharp eye. His business prospered thanks to the sale of 19th century masters, but he is increasingly interested in contemporary artists, without pushing too far the boundaries of the pictorial field - the door of his gallery has thus remained closed to the surrealists. Marie Laurencin was the first to join 21, rue La Boétie in 1913, followed by Picasso five years later. Rosenberg admires him. Without restraint. He considers him "the greatest painter of the present times", praises his ability to renew himself each year to "always go beyond his limits". A solid friendship is born between the two men, coupled with fruitful professional cooperation. Picasso calls him "my dear Rosi", the merchant gives him "my dear Pic" or "my dear Casso". He suggests that she move to 23, rue La Boétie with his wife, the dancer Olga Khokhlova. From the windows of his apartment, the artist can directly show the merchant his latest productions. Aware of the tastes in vogue, Rosenberg encouraged him to distance himself from Cubism in favor of a certain "return to order". The first Picasso exhibition, in 1919, unveiled 167 drawings: no cubism, but harlequins, circus, ballet or bullfighting scenes. Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Mrs. Rosenberg and her Daughter , 1918 The price of the Spanish painter is soaring. And soon, it was the turn of Georges Braque (in 1924), then Fernand Léger (1927), to join the gallery. For “his” artists, Paul Rosenberg draws up so-called “first sight” contracts, granting them a generous annual sum in exchange for the scoop on the choice of works, a judicious technique to keep the lion's share without restraining the artist. He shows himself more and more sure of himself, demanding, passionate. His friend and colleague Alfred Daber said that “his body would shiver like an impatient child when he saw a work he coveted. Tremor which only stopped when he had obtained the painting ”. "To say he was aware of his instincts is an understatement, adds Anne Sinclair. He had a high idea of his talent, the importance of his house, the unique quality of the works displayed in his gallery, or the catalogs he published for his own exhibitions. He knows that the moderns are not to everyone's taste. So, he tempers their ardor by exhibiting them in a luxurious decor of marble and onyx - the painter Jacques-Émile Blanche will describe the gallery as “a Ritz-Palace of avant-garde art”. On the ground floor, visitors are confronted with the latest trends in art, but if they are too timid, Rosenberg takes them to the mezzanine where they find Delacroix, Ingres, Corot, Courbet, Gauguin, Monet, Manet… He chose to sell the Impressionists in order to live "and to be able to afford to wait until the desire comes to amateurs to acquire the contemporary painting which was dear to him", specifies Anne Sinclair. Her grandfather bet on the sure values of the XIXth century to value the young guard of the XX th century. Winning strategy: success is there. end part 1
From Beaux Arts Magazine: Daphne Betard
"If only I could create something, if God had given me this gift, I would find endless pleasure in doing it. Paul Rosenberg wrote to...