Art dealer of the Avantgarde

The Café du Dôme

From 1905 onwards, many foreign artists living in Paris met at the Café du Dôme on Boulevard Montparnasse. The café soon became a meeting place for central and northern European artists. The name ‘Dômiers’ was coined by Guillaume Apollinaire. The principal founding members were Rudolf Levy, Hans Purrmann and Walter Bondy. Initially the group was quite small and the meetings family-like in character. A visit to the Fauves (‘wild beasts’) exhibition together at the Salon d’Automne in 1905 had a lasting impression on the artists. Henri Matisse’s work was considered exemplary by the group and the artist himself played an inspirational role. Lively discussions about the avant-garde and Fauvism were held in the café. The idea of founding an ‘Académie Matisse’ soon emerged and was put into practice by Hans Purrmann and Margarethe and Oskar Moll.

The Dômiers artists soon became well-known in Germany and, in 1911, Paul Cassirer displayed their works in his gallery in Berlin for the first time. Alfred Flechtheim met the Café du Dôme artists when he was staying in Paris with Thea Sternheim in 1906. Along with Cassirer and Otto Feldmann he became an important advocate of their work in Germany. Two years after Otto Feldmann’s exhibition of works by the Café du Dôme artists in the Kunstsalon in the Rhineland, Flechtheim showed the group’s works in Düsseldorf in 1914 and brought out publications by Julius Meier-Graefe and Carl Einstein. More importantly, it was through this association of artists that he met the art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler and the collector and marchand-amateur Wilhelm Uhde.

The artist group dissolved at the outbreak of World War I.