Daniel Wildenstein

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Daniel Wildenstein (born September 11, 1917 in Verrières-le-Buisson , † October 23, 2001 in Paris ) was a French art historian , art dealer, author and art collector and a renowned breeder of thoroughbred horses and successful racing stable owner.


Daniel Wildenstein was born as the son of the art dealer Georges Wildenstein and his wife Jane in the Paris suburb of Verrières-le-Buisson. After studying at the Sorbonne , he worked at the Musée Jacquemart-André in Paris and at the Abbaye royale de Chaalis in Fontaine-Chaalis . His first marriage was to Martine Kapferer. The son Alec (born August 5, 1940 - February 25, 2008) was born in Marseille in 1940 when the family was on the run from the German troops. In the same year, the family moved to New York City, where Daniel Wildenstein joined the local branch of his father's art business (Wildenstein & Company). The son Guy was born in New York in 1945. After the Second World War, the family returned to France, but kept a residence in New York.

From 1963 until his death in 2001 Daniel Wildenstein was editor of the important art magazine Gazette des Beaux-Arts . In the 1960s, he closed the company's Paris branch and relocated its headquarters to New York. At the same time, branches were opened in London and Tokyo. In 1970 he founded the Wildenstein Institute , a foundation for art history. This research institution, with a library of more than 400,000 art history books, is known for the publication of numerous catalog raisonnés. Daniel Wildenstein himself worked as an author. His best-known work is the five-volume Claude Monet catalog, which was created over a period of almost 40 years. Wildenstein married a second time in the late 1970s. His wife Sylvia was a former sergeant in the Israeli army. In 1993 the Wildenstein & Company merged with the New York Pace Gallery and operated under the name PaceWildenstein and specialized in contemporary art. The partnership was given up on April 1, 2010. In the future, both galleries will limit themselves to working together.

The exact size and value of the Wildenstein family's private art collection is unclear. According to media reports, numerous paintings by artists such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir , Gustave Courbet , Vincent van Gogh , Paul Cézanne , Paul Gauguin , Édouard Manet , Claude Monet , Sandro Botticelli , Rembrandt van Rijn , Peter Paul Rubens , El Greco , Jacopo Tintoretto , Jean-Honoré Fragonard , Antoine Watteau and Pablo Picasso . The collection is estimated to be worth up to ten billion US dollars. Some of the pictures have not been available to the public for decades. The Wildenstein family is also criticized for doing business with the National Socialists through middlemen and for having acquired works of art of dubious provenance after the Second World War .

After his death, the widow Sylvia Wildenstein and the sons from his first marriage, Alec and Guy Wildenstein, had a long inheritance dispute over the property.


From 1971 until his death, Daniel Wildenstein was a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in the Free Members section. In 2002, the Prix ​​du Rond Point, held as part of the Prix ​​de l'Arc de Triomphe at the Longchamp racecourse , was renamed Prix ​​Daniel Wildenstein .

Publications (selection)

  • with Jean-Gabriel Domergue: Vincent Van Gogh , Paris 1960
  • with Georges Wildenstein: Chardin. Catalog raisonné , Oxford 1969
  • with Denis Rouart: Edouard Manet. Catalog raisonné , 2 volumes, Lausanne and Paris 1975
  • with Alexandre Ananoff: François Boucher , Lausanne and Paris 1976
  • Renoir , Paris 1980 ISBN 2-7309-0500-0
  • Seurat , Paris 1982 ISBN 2-7309-0518-9
  • Paul Gauguin. Premier itinéraire d'un sauvage; catalog de l'œuvre peint (1873–1888) ISBN 88-8118-937-2
  • Claude Monet. Biography et catalog raisonné Lausanne, Paris, Cologne 1974–1999 ISBN 3-8228-8725-0
  • Gauguin. A savage in the making; catalog raisonné of the paintings (1873–1888) Milan 2002 ISBN 88-8491-137-0
  • Monet or the Triumph of Impressionism , Cologne 2003 ISBN 3-8228-1689-2

Individual evidence

  1. Lisa Zeitz in Faz.net. dated April 3, 2010, accessed on August 23, 2010


  • Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, January 23, 2005
  • Evening Standard (London), July 1, 2005
  • The Guardian, June 12, 2005
  • Die Weltwoche, edition 24/2005

Web links