Index of Historic Collectors and Dealers of Cubism
Goetz, Richard, also Richard Götz
Ulm, 1874–New York, 1954
Richard Goetz was a German painter, collector, connoisseur, and private dealer of Jewish background active in Paris and New York during the first half of the twentieth century. Originally from Ulm, Goetz’s father was a successful textile manufacturer and among Goetz’s relatives were the scientist Albert Einstein and musician Hans Heller. Goetz trained as a painter in Germany and lived in rural Holland for a time before relocating to Paris in 1900. Residing in a home-studio at 58, rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs as of 1901, and receiving financial support from his family, Goetz immersed himself in the local art scene. He joined the so-called Dômiers, a group of German artists, writers, and intellectuals who regularly met at the Café du Dôme. He also befriended Picasso and Georges Braque as well as members of their circle who, together with the German expatriates, attended Goetz’s sumptuous and extravagant dinner parties. At the same time Goetz remained connected to the German avant-garde, as evidenced by his participation in the working committee for the landmark 1912 Sonderbund exhibition in Cologne.

Geoetz’s collecting interests, initiated in the early 1900s, were wide-ranging from Japanese prints, to, Persian miniatures, to, Old Masters, to contemporary painting. Goetz acquired works from French and Belgian antique and junk shops as well as prominent Parisian art galleries and artist studios. In 1913, no longer receiving support from his family who disapproved of his lifestyle, Goetz was forced to sell paintings by Monet, Alfred Sisely, and Courbet from his collection on the German art market.

Shortly after the outbreak of World War I, the French government sequestered Goetz’s property, including his art collection, identifying Goetz as an enemy alien and forcing him to return to his homeland. Upon his return to Germany, Goetz was conscripted into the German army. Following the armistice, he returned to Paris but was unable to retrieve his belongings: his sequestered art collection was sold in Paris at Hôtel Drouot on February 23–24, 1922. It featured 208 lots of which 182 were paintings. The large portion of his stock was identified as “Ecole moderne” (modern school). The sale included paintings by old and modern masters: three by André Derain (one, Fleurs, purchased by Adolphe Vogleweith according to an annotated copy of the catalogue at the Frick Library, New York); four by Auguste Herbin, works after or by Théodore Géricault, including Alfred Dedreux as a Child (ca. 1819–20; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Alfred N. Punnet Endowment Fund); Manet, among them Portrait of Georges Clemenceau (1879–80; Kimbell Art Museum, Forth Worth); Camille Pissarro; Pierre-Auguste Renoir; four paintings by Georges Seurat, including Le Chahut (1889–90; Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo) and The Lighthouse at Honfleur (1886; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.); and five works by Goetz himself. Goetz attended the sale and probably used one or more agents during bidding to recover some of his paintings. Goetz’s postwar collection was equally as wide-ranging and always in flux as he frequently bought, sold, and exchanged works. During the interwar period the collector purchased at least two works by Picasso, among them Carafe and Candlestick (1909; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Promised Gift from the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection).

At the start of World War II Goetz left France, taking his art collection to the United States and settling in New York, where he continued to collect and sell art to local dealers, museums, and private collectors. Among the works in American public collections that were in Goetz’s collection by 1939 is Tintoretto’s Tarquin and Lucretia (ca. 1578–80; Art Institute of Chicago). After 1945, Goetz regularly traveled to Europe. In 1953 his health rapidly began to decline, and a year later, following a stroke and cancer treatments, Goetz died in New York at the age of eighty. According to the New York Times, Goetz’s collection, valued over $300,000 at the time of his death, was inherited by a cousin and a friend.

Contributed by Anna Jozefacka, August 2017
For more information, see:

Gautherie-Kampka, Annette. Les Allemands du Dôme. La colonie allemande de Montparnasse dans les années 1903–1914. Bern: Peter Lang SA, 1995.

Harris, Richard. “Richard Goetz…Art Detective.” Vogue, March 1, 1957.

Liquidation des biens Richard Goetz Wendland et Siegried Hertz Ayant fait l’objet d’une mesure de sequester de guerre. Catalogue des tableaux, aquarelles & dessins…Sale cat. Paris, Hôtel Drouot, February 23–24, 1922.

“$300,000 in Art Willed. Richard Goetz Left Property to Cousin and a Friend.” New York Times, March 27, 1955.

Artwork from the Leonard A. Lauder Collection Formerly Owned By Collector/Dealer:
Carafe and Candlestick
Carafe and Candlestick Pablo Picasso
Paris, autumn 1909