Art dealer of the Avantgarde

Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (1884-1979)

The art dealer Alfred Flechtheim doubtlessly cooperated with a number of art dealers both in Germany and abroad (Paul Cassirer, Heinrich and Justin Thannhauser and Paul Rosenberg). The cooperation with the Franco-German gallery owner Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler in Paris was, however, the most important for Flechtheim. He nurtured this over a long period as a multitude of documents that still exist go to prove.

Flechtheim acquired works by French Cubist artists in particular on a commission basis through his business partner Kahnweiler in Paris. Flechtheim undertook the sale of works by pioneers in art who were only just beginning to become known such as Picasso, Georges Braques, André Derain und Maurice de Vlaminck on his behalf in Germany. Kahnweiler entered into exclusive, short-term, individual contracts with his artists which covered their entire annual output.

Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler did not hide the fact that he found his valued friend and business colleague Alfred Flechtheim to be erratic at times, with little business acumen and even rather chaotic. As a result, he decided to keep hold of the reins with regard to the pricing and agenda of French artworks at the Galerie Flechtheim. Their general agreement remained on a ‘sales on commission’ basis. Kahnweiler adopted a so-called a metà sales principle with Flechtheim, with the profit of any sales achieved together being split equally between the business partners. In some cases, this was applied to works sold on commission that Kahnweiler sent to Flechtheim’s galleries in Germany. In other cases, individual works by a particular artist were acquired jointly and the profit then shared after concluding a sale.