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PAUL GUILLAUME GALLERY




Paul Guillaume, born in Paris on November 28, 1891 and died in the same city on October 1, 1934, is a French merchant and collector of modern art. Most of his collection is kept in Paris, at the Musée de l'Orangerie.

Three African masks visible at the Orangeraie Museum in Paris remind the eminent role of Paul Guillaume in the knowledge and recognition of African art in the early twentieth century. Young employee in a garage, he exposes as early as 1911 some objects received in the rubber cargoes intended for the manufacture of the tires. It was then that he meets Guillaume Apollinaire, passionate about this art, who supports him, brings him into his circle and organizes his activity. He is quickly becoming one of the most energetic and influential actors in this field. Become the broker of Apollinaire, he is constituting at the same time his own fund continuing his activity with his first suppliers and passing announcements in the publications intended for the "colonials".
In 1912 is created the Society of Archeology Negro art for which he introduces himself s as the delegate and the following year the Society of Melanophiles. In 1914, through Marius de Zayas, he sends a lot of sculptures to Alfred Stieglitz in New York for the exhibition "Statuary in Wood: The Roots of Modern Art".

When he opens his first gallery near the Elysee Palace in 1914, the "Soirées de Paris" (periodical of which Apollinaire is the editor-in-chief) specify that one will find "modern paintings ... and sculptures negroes ". He exhibits works by Larionov, Goncharova, Derain, Creixams, Van Dongen, Modigliani, Chirico, Matisse and Picasso. Paul Guillaume founds in 1918 a magazine entitled Les Arts in Paris where he can promote his artists.

Throughout his career he strives to combine in his galleries and interiors the presentation of contemporary sculptures and paintings, and African art by highlighting the aesthetic aspect of these objects which are then only considered as ethnographic objects . He publishes in 1917 with Apollinaire a very symbolic book "First album of Negro sculptures", illustrated with photographs of works of private collections.

Paul Guillaume expands in 1921 by installing his gallery 39, rue La Boétie, where he presents alternately or simultaneously African art and painting. It is this shared interest in contemporary and African arts that fosters his collaboration with the American doctor Paul Barnes from 1922 to 1929, who opens a foundation near Philadelphia. Paul Guillaume becomes his adviser, which completes to make known and makes his fortune. Decorated with the Legion of Honor in 1930, he becomes with his lovely wife Domenica (1898-1977) an all-Paris figure. They gather in their successive Parisian residences one of the most exceptional collections of paintings of Europe of the 1930s. He matures the project to offer his collection to the State to make "the first museum" French "of modern art" when he suddenly disappears at the age of forty-two.

In 1935, after his death, fifty numbers that belonged to him appear at a major exhibition of the Metropolitan Museum in New York.