In April 2023 Galerie Gimpel Fils announced the launch of the René Gimpel Archives, a freely accessible online database of more than 10,000 documents from the professional and personal archives of the French collector and art dealer René Gimpel. Letters from artists and clients, photos of artworks, stock lists, diary agendas… the archive covers the origins of the gallery in Paris, London and New York from the end of the 19th century until 1945. Intended for all researchers, art world professionals and amateurs.
How it began
In 2019, following research undertaken as part of a demand for the return of artworks seized during the Occupation, the Gimpel family took on the task of digitizing thousands of gallery documents. The plan was to create a full-text searchable database. By making these archives available to the public within a single open-access resource the Gimpel family, by means of this unprecedented approach, asserted their clear intention to help facilitate the work of authentication, to compare sources and to mark milestones in the journey of artwork with a vague past.
About René Gimpel:
A collector and dealer in French art, René Gimpel was born in Paris in 1881. He mingled with Braque, Mary Cassatt, Forain, Marie Laurencin (who became a good friend), Matisse, Monet, Picasso, Soutine, Utrillo and also the art dealers Joe Duveen, his brother-in-law, Durand-Ruel, Paul Rosenberg, Nathan Wildenstein (with whom he had a partnership), Ambroise Vollard. He met critics and writers, Apollinaire, Berenson and, especially, Marcel Proust whom he met in 1907 at Cabourg when they stayed in the same hotel. Their love of Vermeer led to a solid friendship. Joining the resistance in 1940, René Gimpel was arrested by Vichy in 1942, then by the Germans. He was deported to Neuengamme where he died in January 1945. René Gimpel’s diary, Journal d’un collectionneur, Marchand de tableaux, was republished by Editions Hermann in 2023, with a preface by Clément Dirié.
To learn more about the database, the gallery and René Gimpel himself, visit the Gimpel Fils website and the René Gimpel Archives page: gimpelfils.com/rg-archives
The René Gimpel Archives team
gimpelfils.com/rg-archives accessed 14 April 2023