Originally established 1880 on the Rue de Mathurins by Jacques Seligmann [1858-1923], a German emigré to France, the business became so successful that c. 1900 Jacques opened the Galerie Seligmann on the Place Vendôme, in partnership with his brother Arnold. The gallery was prosperous, and had as its main clients J.P. Morgan, William Randolph Hearst, and Joseph Widener. Eventually Jacques purchased the Palais de Sagan in Paris for larger exhibitions for his discriminating clients. A 1912 quarrel between Jacques and Arnold resulted in a legal split in the family business. Arnold remained at the Place Vendôme branch under the firm name Arnold Seligmann & Cie., while Jacques consolidated his activities at Sagan as J. Seligmann & Cie., later J. Seligmann et Fils. Jacques had made annual visits to New York, which prompted him to open a branch of his gallery there in 1913 (known as Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc.), in the former E.H. Harriman house at 705 Fifth Avenue. The New York branch was managed beginning in 1920 by Jacques' son Germain [1893-1978]. Arnold Seligmann died c. 1935, and was succeeded in the business by his son, Jean, who was executed by the Nazis during World War II. Following Jean's death, Jacques' two sons managed the Seligmann enterprises: François-Gerard in Paris and Germain in New York. A third son, André, had his own gallery in Paris and New York.
Seligman, Germain. Merchants of Art: 1880-1960, Eighty Years of Professional Collecting. New York, 1961.