In the 1920s César M. de Hauke was introduced by René Seligmann to his cousin, Germain Seligman, head of the American branch of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc. Germain Seligman was so impressed by de Hauke's knowledge, interest, and excellent taste in modern art that he decided to help de Hauke set up a new company that would specialize in selling contemporary European and French art in the United States. This was a business venture that Germain Seligman had long wished to try under the auspices of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., but other family members, who were silent partners in the firm, had been reluctant to support the proposition since it was outside the areas within which the company had traditionally dealt.
In 1926 Seligman personally financed the fledgling company, first called International Contemporary Art Company, Inc., and appointed César M. de Hauke its head, but even before the legal documents setting up the company were completed, the name was amended and changed to de Hauke & Co., Inc. Athough the bulk of the new company's art purchases for stock took place in Paris and London, the majority of its sales occurred in the United States.
Seligman and de Hauke worked out an agreement that allowed de Hauke both to purchase works of art that he could sell privately within the de Hauke & Co. gallery as well as to purchase works of art for Jacques Seligmann & Co. Ownership of paintings was often shared among various dealers, involving complicated commission transactions upon completion of sales. The two businesses were deeply intertwined, as evidenced by the fact that Jacques Seligmann & Co. financial records include a great deal of de Hauke material and many of de Hauke's records are written on Jacques Seligmann & Co. stationery. De Hauke & Co. also shared addresses with Jacques Seligmann & Co. in New York at 3 East Fifty-first Street and in Paris at 9 Rue de la Paix or 57 Rue Saint-Dominique. By 1927, de Hauke had joined Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., as an employee of that firm.
De Hauke worked actively to bring the work of modern French artists to the attention of American buyers, exhibiting works by Pierre Bonnard, Amedeo Modigliani, Odilon Redon, Ker-Xavier Roussel, and Edouard Vuillard. He was equally interested in French School drawings and watercolors, and the scope of his exhibitions also included works by nineteenth-century masters such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, and Georges Seurat. De Hauke was an acknowledged authority on Seurat.
A Perusal of de Hauke & Co. financial records reveals the wide range of its stock, from decorative arts and frames to paintings, sculptures, glassware, ceramics, leather bindings and writing pads, and prints and drawings by some of the most recognizable names in nineteenth- and twentieth-century art. Included in de Hauke & Co.'s inventory were works by notable European artists such as Georges Braque, Paul Cézanne, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Honoré Daumier, Edgar Degas, Raoul Dufy, Constantin Guys, Fernand Léger, ?douard Manet, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Odilon Redon, Vincent van Gogh, and Edouard Vuillard.
Exceptionally well-known works of art, or studies for these works, are listed among the invoices and ledger books: The Palm by Bonnard; a Portrait of Madame Cézanne (Rewald, Paintings of Paul Cézanne: A Catalogue Raisonné,no. 606); a Self-Portrait,and Bathers (Rewald, Paintings of Paul Cézanne,no. 256) by Cézanne; Irises and Le Zouave by van Gogh; and Portrait of Monsieur Choquet by Renoir.
Even during 1929 and beyond, sales appeared to be brisk despite the general economic downturn. Sales were made to private individuals, such as Lillie P. Bliss, Frank Crowninshield, Duncan Phillips, Henry Reinhardt, Edith Wetmore, and Grenville L. Winthrop. Among the galleries that de Hauke dealt with were Bernheim-Jeune, the Downtown Gallery, and M. Knoedler & Co.
The success that de Hauke & Co. demonstrated in sales helped Germain Seligman to convince other family members of the profitability to be found in modern art, and in 1930 he established Modern Paintings, Inc., as the new modern paintings branch of the New York office. This change led to de Hauke's eventual resignation from Jacques Seligmann & Co. in 1931. Legal documents within the series records suggest that the relationship between de Hauke and Seligman had become strained. De Hauke's financial records after 1931 (with the exception of a few miscellaneous items) are not part of the Jacques Seligmann & Co. records.
The relationship between de Hauke and Germain Seligman continued to deteriorate after World War II, as evidenced by an exchange of letters in Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., (Series 9.1.6). Writing from liberated France on November 20, 1944, de Hauke asked Germain Seligman's help in obtaining a visa to return to the United States. In a letter from New York City, dated March 16, 1945, Germain Seligman replied, refusing sponsorship without giving specific reasons but hinting at concerns over de Hauke's role in the selling of company property seized by the German forces during the occupation of Paris.
Researchers may especially wish to note the provenance information that can be gleaned from study of the consular invoices, which established the value and authenticity of artworks. De Hauke documented company sales in many ways, including by name of the purchaser, as a daily transaction, and as a consignment. Much overlapping information on sales and provenance can be found in ledgers, invoices, consignment records, consular invoices, and shipping correspondence, so researchers are advised to look in all of these categories to gain a complete perspective on transactions involving specific works of art, individuals, or institutions.
The de Hauke & Co., Inc., series is arranged into 7 subseries. This series has been scanned in entirety with the exception of one item in 9.7. Blank pages in bound volumes have not been scanned so gaps will appear in the the numbering of those volumes.
9.1: Correspondence, 1925-1949, undated
9.2: Memoranda ( -- Fiches) -- , 1926-1930, undated
9.3: Alex Reid & Lefèvre, 1928-1930, undated
9.4: Exhibition Files, 1927-1932, undated
9.5: Miscellaneous Administrative Files, 1926-1941, undated
9.6: Legal Records, 1926-1931, undated
9.7: Financial Records, 1926-1932
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
The records of Jacques Seligmann & Co. are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Jacques Seligmann & Co. records, 1904-1978, bulk 1913-1974. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Processing of the collection was funded by the Getty Grant Program; digitization of the collection was funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art. Glass plate negatives in this collection were digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.