The forerunner of the Feilchenfeldt firm was founded in Berlin before the turn of the century by Paul Cassirer and his cousin Bruno. By 1903 Paul had separated from Bruno, and before the first World War the Paul Cassirer firm handled a large number of French 19th paintings by such artists as Manet, Renoir, Cezanne, and van Gogh. He rebuilt the art dealing firm and its associated publishing house after the war, but in 1926 committed suicide.
Dr. Walter Feilchenfeldt was at that time already a partner of the firm, having entered the publishing house after the war. After Paul Cassirer's death, Dr. Feilchenfeldt and Dr. Grete Ring became the owners and directors of the firm and it experienced a very active time for a few years, hosting in 1928 the first big exhibition of paintings by Vincent van Gogh. The beginning of the Nazi regime in 1933 caused Dr. Feilchenfeldt, with his wife, Marianne, and their young son, to emigrate, first to Holland, then England, then Switzerland in 1939, where they spent the years of the second World War. Their second son was born in Zurich in 1944, and in 1947 they obtained permission to found their own firm in that city. Dr. Feilchenfeldt re-built the firm before his death at the age of fifty-nine in December 1953. Marianne Feilchenfeldt carried on the work of the firm after her husband's death, and was joined in art dealing in 1966 by her son Walter.