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Léonce Rosenberg, Disgraced Avant-Garde Gallerist

Published on , by Laurence Mouillefarine

While posterity praises Paul Rosenberg, his older brother Léonce is notorious for his imbroglios.  An exhibition and the publication of an exemplary thesis set the record straight.

Léonce Rosenberg posing in front of works by Metzinger, Picabia, Léger and others...  Léonce Rosenberg, Disgraced Avant-Garde Gallerist

Léonce Rosenberg posing in front of works by Metzinger, Picabia, Léger and others in the Effort moderne gallery storeroom.
© Fonds Rosenberg RMN reproducing several works, including one by Chirico

Both Paul and Léonce Rosenberg were art dealers, but only Paul was financially successful. He is also the more famous brother thanks to his granddaughter Anne Sinclair, a prominent television journalist. Now, a young Italian art historian, Giovanni Casini, has published a PhD thesis that restores Léonce’s tarnished reputation and demonstrates his key role in promoting Cubism . He also provides details of the private life of this little-known figure, about whom no biography has been written. Born in 1879, Léonce trained as an international broker at the Paris Stock Exchange, first with the imposing importer Louis-Dreyfus, then in London and Antwerp. Back in France, he joined his father Alexandre Rosenberg, whose gallery at 38 avenue de l’Opéra in Paris featured the Impressionists . When Alexandre retired, he passed the baton to Léonce and Paul. Yet the partnership was short-lived. In 1910, Léonce left to open an antiques shop at 19 rue de La Baume called “Haute époque”, offering an eclectic mix of objects from Persian miniatures to Chinese porcelain , Limousine enamels and early Renaissance  paintings.   Francis Picabia (1879-1953), Pavonia , 1929, oil on canvas, 149.7 x 170.8 cm/58.93 x 67.24 in (detail). A “Mad Crush”…
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