Index of Historic Collectors and Dealers of Cubism
Aubry, Georges
Active Paris, 1910s–1950s

The dealer and amateur painter Georges Aubry can be counted among the most active and influential figures in the development of a market for modern painting in Paris. Holding three major sales of modern paintings at the Hôtel Druout in the early 1920s, including the sale of his own collection in November 1924, Aubry contributed to a precipitously expanding trade in pictures.

Although he was born into a family of doctors, Aubry broke with the family profession to pursue his passion for painting as a career. After he was educated in the humanities, Aubry took a position with the Banque de France in 1904. By 1910 was making his living as a full-time dealer. Aubry established himself early on as an expert in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century paintings, and although he would amass a well-regarded collection of works by Eugène Delacroix in the 1920s, his tastes increasingly leaned toward the art of his own generation. Aubry built the core of his trade around André Derain, Raoul Dufy, Moïse Kisling, Picasso, Maurice Utrillo, and Maurice de Vlaminck; he handled paintings by Eugène Boudin, Degas, Juan Gris, Georges Rouault, Chaim Soutine and Kees Van Dongen; and occasionally works by Georges Braque, André Masson, Jean Metzinger, and Francis Picabia passed through his hands as well. From his address in the Boulevard Clichy, which he devoted to his trade in antiquities, Aubry cultivated an increasingly fertile but ambiguous terrain between collecting and dealing in the field of modern art. He operated as a marchand en chambre—a dealer without a proper commercial address—until 1925, when he finally opened a storefront at 42 rue la Boëtie devoted to modern painting with financial backing from two aristocratic patrons, the Baron de Juge and the Baron de Geer. Of the three major sales of modern pictures associated with his name in the early 1920s, the largest and most important is the sale of his own collection, on November 24−25, 1924, which, in addition to works by Derain, Marie Laurencin and Utrillo, included forty-three prints and drawings by Picasso. In 1930 Aubry moved his gallery to the Avenue de Messine, before closing his operation five years later. He nonetheless continued to be an extremely active figure in the Paris art market during and after the war, showing the paintings of Olivier Debré in a new gallery space in 1941. 

Contributed by Samuel Johnson, July 2017
For more information, see:

Fagé, André. Le collectionneur de peintures modernes. Paris: Éditions Pittoresques, 1930.

Gee, Malcolm. Dealers, Critics, and Collectors of Modern Painting: Aspects of the Parisian Art Market between 1910 and 1930. New York: Garland Publishing, 1981.

Level, André. Souvenirs d’un collectionneur. Paris: A. C. Mazo, 1959.

Nahon, Pierre. Les marchands d’art en France: XIXe et XXe siècles. Paris: Éditions de la Différence, 1998.