The art dealers Kunsthandlung J.P. Schneider jr. specialize in paintings, drawings and selected sculptures of the nineteenth century. Since 1884 the business has been run by the Andreas family, which even after five generations has remained true to the concept first introduced by Gottfried Andreas (1859–1923). He was the one who turned the framing and gilding shop founded in 1824 – which as a maker of figureheads was known even as far afield as Constantinople – into a contemporary art gallery. Its relocation to the prestigious premises at Rossmarkt 23 in the heart of Frankfurt am Main in 1892 created the preconditions for the steady stream of exhibitions that thereupon ensued, including solo shows of contemporary painters such as Max Liebermann (1895), Franz von Stuck (1898) and Hans Thoma (1895).
Gottfried Andreas bequeathed his passion for French painting to the next generation of Andreases to run the business, namely the brothers Karl (1886–1955) and Fritz Andreas (1888–1972). Under their aegis, the gallery’s repertoire was broadened to include French artists, among them several major painters who had shaped the development of German painting such as Gustav Courbet and Henri Fontain Latour. The same period also saw the beginning of the gallery’s preoccupation with Munich painters such as the Leibl circle and Franz von Lenbach.
The Third Reich and the Nazis’ persecution of Jewish artists, collectors and fellow gallerists dealt a crushing blow to German art and the German art business, the repercussions of which are still being felt today. By the end of the war, the gallery’s Frankfurt premises complete with its inventory, stock in hand, and 120 years’ worth of ledgers and records had been destroyed. In our on-going effort to reconstruct the history of our business, therefore, we frequently have to fall back on comparing notes with colleagues, collectors and various research institutes.
The post-war rebuilding of the business began under Kurt Andreas (1919–2013) in 1948. Whereas all the preceding generations had continued the framing and gilding business alongside the art dealership, this third generation made the decision to focus exclusively on sales of art and at the same time expanded the programme to include not just nineteenth and early twentieth-century works, but also the art of the late eighteenth century.
It is the fourth generation of Andreases, namely Dr. Christoph Andreas who joined the business in 1974, we have to thank for reviving the gallery’s publishing arm first launched in 1914 and for resuming its exhibition activities. Christoph Andreas has also endeavoured to make the offering more international, even while affirming its early nineteenth-century focus.
Max Andreas, who has been running the business alongside his father since 2015, is committed to upholding this tradition and to building on the gallery’s specialization in art from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century. The historically resonant setting of the new premises at Trutz 2 in Frankfurt that we moved into in the summer of 2018 underscores our appreciation of the art of that period and of tradition as the mainstay of our ethos.