The Brummer brothers (Joseph, Ernest, and Imre) were among the most significant art dealers in the first half of the twentieth century, collecting widely from the arts of classical antiquity to decorative arts and modern painting. Hungarian by birth, the brothers migrated to Paris around the turn of the century, where Ernest studied art at the Sorbonne and archaeology at the École du Louvre under Salomon Reinach and Joseph studied sculpture under Rodin. In 1906 they founded their first gallery in Paris and specialized in Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance art objects and Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and pre-Columbian antiquities.
On the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Joesph Brummer left Paris for New York, where he opened a branch of the Brummer Gallery at Fifty-seventh Street and Madison Avenue. He was instrumental in the burgeoning art-collecting world, advising collectors such as Henry Walters, William Randolph Hearst, and institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was involved in the founding of the Cloisters, and his gallery exhibitions brought the works of Seurat, Derain, and other modern artists to America. At a time when collecting was becoming increasingly expensive, and few collectors had the knowledge to judge and value antiquities, Brummer’s expertise was indispenable. But beyond his knowledge of the European antiquities market, Brummer also championed French Impressionists and contemporary American artists and had his portrait painted by Henri Rousseau.
After the death of Joseph Brummer in 1947, the Brummer Gallery closed in 1949 and its collection was auctioned off later the same year.