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Vente aux enchères de la collection Jacques Cannone, Hôtel Drouot, 5 juin 1942

Connoisseurs, Collectors and Dealers of Asian Art in France, 1700-1939

Program presentation

The program focuses on collections assembled between 1700 and 1939 in a geographical area that extends from Eastern Siberia to Southeast Asia, including India and the Far East. Focusing on the construction of the Western vision of Asia through the prism of its material culture -in an approach at the crossroads of economic history, art history, and cultural history- entries highlight the collecting intentions of the individuals through which objects acquire meanings, destinations, and temporality. The complex global history of relations with Asia is outlined through these individual trajectories and the objects that accompanied them. The focus on a large number of dealers invites the study of their role as promoters of Asian objects and their contributions to the  evolution and structuring of the market, from the marchands merciers of the 18th century to the specialized merchants of the second half of the 19th century.


The bilingual (English/French) database contains over 250 biographical notes written by nearly 140 international specialists. These entries are the result of a major effort to locate, research, and promote Asian art collections throughout France. They highlight individuals, amateurs, travelers, soldiers, merchants, and artists, who contributed to shaping an image of Asia through material culture.

Geography of Asian Art Collecting in France

Generated from the coordinates provided by the database, this cartography presents a geography of Asian art collecting and trade from the 18th to the early 20th century. The cartography shows as precisely as possible, at the scale of the street or the street number when possible, the successive addresses for individuals featured in the bio-bibliographical entries. A cursor allows one to narrow one's search to a given chronological period. If the address has no date of presence, it will not appear unless the cursor is positioned at the chronological ends. Addresses located in Paris before 1830 are based on a data set  of addresses based on the Vasserot map, made available by the Fabrique numérique du passé. For addresses in Paris after this date and for all other addresses in metropolitan France and the French overseas territories, geolocation relies on APIs from the National Address Base (BAN).

Several filters by type of activity make it possible to refine searches by restricting the display of addresses to dealers, collectors, or collectors. The filter also mentions the other professions exercised by these individuals, and also displays addresses when an activity is not indicated.

Launch of the database

October 12, 2022

The development of Asian art collecting was accompanied by an increase in Asian art exhibitions from the second half of the 19th century. The forced opening of China (1842) and Japan (1854) marked a change of scale in the presence of Asian objects circulating and being seen in Paris. This timeline materializes this evolution by focusing on the main exhibitions that presented objects and works from the collections of the personalities in the corpus. This list, which is not exhaustive, includes the Universal Exhibitions and retrospective exhibitions organized by the Central Union of Decorative Arts, the return exhibitions of the Cernuschi and Guimet museums, and the main return exhibitions of scientific or diplomatic missions to Asia.

Cite the base

Connoisseurs, Collectors and Dealers of Asian Art in France, 1700-1939 - INHA (Consulted the JJ mouth AAAA).