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Gimpel, René

French, 1881 - 1945

Gimpel, René Albert


René Albert Gimpel (1881-1945) was an art dealer who inherited the firm established in Paris in 1889 by his father, Ernest Gimpel (1858-1907), and his father's cousin, Nathan Wildenstein. The elder Gimpel and his cousin had a failed summer gallery in Trouville, but were successful in Paris, and in New York, where they opened E Gimpel & Wildenstein in 1902. René Albert took over the Gimpel side of the partnership when his father died in 1907, and the joint venture continued until it was dissolved in 1919. René was the brother-in-law of renowned British dealer Joseph Duveen, having married one of Duveen's sisters, Florence, in 1912.

René Gimpel continued as a dealer on his own after the partnership with Wildenstein ended, until he was driven from Paris by the Germans in 1940 during World War II. Eventually arrested and deported to Neuengamme concentration camp, he died there a month before the camp was liberated by the Allies. Two of René's three sons, Charles and Peter, opened the firm of Gimpel Fils in London in 1946, where it continues in operation in the 21st century under the direction of Charles' son, René.

Many of René Albert Gimpel's papers have been microfilmed by the Smithsonian Institution's Archives of American Art; his diary, maintained from 1918 to 1939, was published first in French in 1963, as Journal d'un collectionneur: marchand de tableaux, and then in English in 1966, as Diary of an Art Dealer. A revised edition of the 1963 French publication was released in 2011.

Gimpel, Rene. Journal d'un collectionneur: marchand de tableaux. Paris, 1963.
Kostyrko, Diana. "From Fragonard to Kennard: René Gimpel, art dealer." Art Monthly Australia 217 (March 2009):33-35.
Gimpel, Rene. Journal d'un collectionneur: marchand de tableaux. Paris, 2011.
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