Arthur Tooth & Sons

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

1893 advertisement for Arthur Tooth & Sons

Arthur Tooth & Sons was an art gallery founded in London, England in 1842 by Charles Tooth (1788–1868).

Tooth established the gallery for his son, Arthur Tooth (1828–1900).[1] The gallery remained in the Tooth family until its closure in the 1970s after the death of Dudley Tooth (Charles' great-grandson). Arthur Tooth & Sons, while a relatively small business, established a major presence in the commercial art market from the 1870s onwards.[2][3] The Tooth gallery supplied industrial magnate Henry Clay Frick with works by Lawrence Alma-Tadema,[4] Jean-François Raffaëlli,[5] J. M. W. Turner,[6] Frits Thaulow,[7] Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret,[8]and Rembrandt.[3][9]

Initially, the gallery focused on paintings by 18th and 19th century British artists, but expanded in the 1880s to include contemporary paintings and the occasional works by Old Masters.[10] Rather than selling well-known artworks, Arthur Tooth & Sons concentrated on a steady stream of popular contemporary artists and commodity-like artworks.[11] Operating as a kind of patron or agent for these artists, Tooth commissioning works, which were also reproduced in photogravures.[12] The gallery's stock was selected on the notion that the "aura" of more established art would rub off on and validate newer products.[13] Arthur Tooth & Sons operated within a network of approximately thirty art dealers in the London area who were responsible for the establishment of a number of Victorian painters within the commercial art market.[14]

Arthur Tooth was particularly successful in the sale of photogravures of Pre-Raphaelite and other works and dominated the market in this field.[15][16] Reproductive prints have been called the "cash cow" of the Victorian Art Market, and proved lucrative to Arthur Tooth.[1]

The 19th century saw an increased number of middlemen operating between artists and consumers in the art market.[17] Arthur Tooth & Sons' business model can be seen as typical of these new firms. In the early 20th century, Arthur Tooth & Sons held branches in London, New York and Paris.[1] The firm followed emerging strategies to ensure reputability, such as establishing international branches and naming galleries after individual dealers.[18] The New York subsidiary branch closed in 1924. [19]

In the mid 1920s, Dudley Tooth (1896–1972) took up leadership of Arthur Tooth & Sons and rebranded the gallery, expanding within the pool of contemporary artists and further promoting artists by regularly hosting a solo show of each artist’s work every two and a half years.[20]

The gallery closed in the mid 1970s.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c "Arthur Tooth: A London Art Dealer in the Spotlight, 1870–71". Spring 2010. 
  2. ^ Bayer and Page, 2011, p.113.
  3. ^ a b "Finding Aid for the Henry Clay Frick Papers, Series I: Art Files, 1881–1925, undated". USA: The Frick. Retrieved 13 August 2015. 
  4. ^ Tooth & Sons, Arthur (August 30, 1897). "Letter from Arthur Tooth to Henry Clay Frick, 30 August 1897" (Letter). Letter to Henry Clay Frick. 
  5. ^ Tooth & Sons, Arthur (May 12, 1899). "Raffaëlli, Jean François, 1850-1924, "La Toilette"" (Letter). Letter to Henry Clay Frick. 
  6. ^ Tooth & Sons, Arthur (July 1, 1899). "Memorandum from Arthur Tooth & Sons, July 1898" (Letter). Letter to Henry Clay Frick. 
  7. ^ Simon, Edmond (September 12, 1899). "Transcription of a letter from Edmond Simon to Henry Clay Frick, 12 September 1899" (Letter). Letter to Henry Clay Frick. 
  8. ^ Simon, Edmond (September 14, 1897). "Letter from Edmond Simon to Henry Clay Frick, 14 September 1897" (Letter). Letter to Henry Clay Frick. 
  9. ^ Tooth & Sons, Arthur (October 7, 1899). "Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, 1606-1669 (follower of), "A Young Painter"" (Letter). Letter to Henry Clay Frick. 
  10. ^ "Inventory of the Arthur Tooth & Sons stock inventories and accounts, 1871–1959 Case – Online Archive of California". 
  11. ^ Bayer and Page, 2011, p.113.
  12. ^ Verhoogt, 2007, p.496
  13. ^ Bayer and Page, 2011, p.114.
  14. ^ Bayer and Page, 2011, p.117.
  15. ^ Verhoogt, 2007, p.122
  16. ^ Verhoogt, 2007, 447
  17. ^ Bayer and Page, 2011, p.116.
  18. ^ Helmreich, 2011, p.68
  19. ^ Bibliographical/Historical Note, Arthur Tooth & Sons stock inventories and accounts, 1871-1959[1], The Getty Research Institute.
  20. ^ MacGilp, 2011, p.199


Further reading[edit]

  • Glew, Adrian (ed.), Stanley Spencer: Letters and Writing, London, UK, Tate Publishing, 2001.
  • Weisberg, Gabriel, Collecting in the Gilded Age: Art Patronage in Pittsburgh, 1890–1910, Pittsburgh, PA, Frick Art and Historical Centre, 1997.

Coordinates: 51°30′30″N 0°07′53″W / 51.5084°N 0.1315°W / 51.5084; -0.1315