Archives Directory for the History of Collecting in America

Remarque, Erich Maria

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role Collector
dates 1898-1970
city Los Angeles
other citiesOsnabrück, Germany; Lohne, Germany; Nahne, Germany; Ronco, Switzerland;
sex M
historical notes Erich Maria Remarque, celebrated for his poignant novels capturing the harsh realities of war, was not only a literary giant but also an ardent art collector. His profound appreciation for Impressionist art, often woven into the fabric of his novels, extended beyond admiration to ownership. Remarque curated a vast and impressive collection that featured masterpieces by renowned artists such as Van Gogh, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Pissarro, Cézanne, Degas, Picasso, Utrillo, Daumier, and Renoir. He also collected Chinese Bronzes, T'ang pottery, Egyptian Coptic portraits and Oriental carpets.

Remarque began collecting art in 1928, a decade after the trauma of World War I. The success of his novel "All Quiet on the Western Front" brought financial prosperity, allowing him to indulge in his newfound passion for art. Assisted by his friend and gallerist Walter Feilchenfeldt, Remarque's collection evolved into one of the most distinguished private collections of the time. His love for art was not merely aesthetic; he considered it a weapon against barbarism and a testament to humanistic values. The collection became a reflection of Remarque's enduring commitment to beauty and humanity, a sentiment he shared with the characters in his novels.

Remarque's collection included iconic pieces, notably Van Gogh's "The Railway Bridge over Avenue Montmajour," which held immense personal significance. Cézanne's works, particularly his watercolors, captivated Remarque, and his collection boasted eighteen pieces by the artist. Remarque's involvement extended beyond collecting; he sponsored the Cézanne Memorial Committee in 1952, contributing to the preservation of the artist's legacy. The impact of Remarque's collection transcended his personal sphere. In the 1940s, he actively shared his collection with the public, lending works to prestigious exhibitions in the United States and Europe. His engagement with the art community and fellow collectors solidified his reputation as a discerning connoisseur despite the eventual dispersal of his collection after his death in 1970.
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updated 03/22/2024 12:09:32
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