KAHNWEILER, DANIEL-HENRY


KAHNWEILER, DANIEL-HENRY (1884–1979), German art patron, art dealer, and writer. Kahnweiler was born in Mannheim, Germany. Following his father's profession he volunteered at the Paris Stock Exchange, but soon developed a passion for contemporary art. After a short time working in London he decided to open a gallery of contemporary art in Paris in 1907, sponsored by his family. While recruiting his artists, especially the circle of Montparnasse, he met Pablo Picasso and George Braque and became their principal agent, but he also supported the cubist painters Fernand Léger and Juan Gris. A famous portrait by Picasso of 1910 (Art Institute of Chicago) reveals the dominant role of Kahnweiler in the promotion of Cubism at that time. In 1909 Kahnweiler started his career as a publisher with L'Enchanteur pourrisant written by Guillaume Apollinaire with woodcarvings by André Derain. In 1914, Kahnweiler fled to Rome to escape German military service. Shortly after he moved in with a friend in Berne, where he began to write his first art book, The Path to Cubism, published in 1920. In 1920 he returned to Paris and together with André Simon launched the Galerie Simon. He tried to retrieve his art collection, which had been confiscated by the French government, and with the help of his brother Gustave and the art dealer Alfred Flechtheim was able to redeem part of his former property. At the time Picasso and Juan Gris fell out with Kahnweiler when he tried to become their exclusive agent. Picasso was reconciled with him only after World War II, which Kahnweiler and his wife survived in hiding near Limoges. However, his gallery in Paris continued to exist under the name of Galerie Louise Leiris, his non-Jewish sister-in-law. Until his death in 1979 Kahnweiler organized more than 80 exhibitions of works by Braque, Picasso, Klee, Masson, Léger, and Gris. Moreover, he was the author of many books which were seminal to the popularization of contemporary art in general and cubist art in particular.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Assouline, L'Homme de l'art: Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (1988); B. Aldor, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Kunsthaendler Verleger Schriftsteller (1986).

[Philipp Zschommler (2nd ed.)]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.