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Henri Cottereau

Active Paris, 1910s−1920s

Henri Cottereau made his fortune in the manufacture of bicycles and, slightly later, automobiles, in the city of Dijon before opening a small gallery in Paris after World War I. Cottereau was an avid collector of Impressionism who bought and sold works by artists associated with Neo-Impressionism and the School of Paris as well.

In 1891 the first Cottereau bicycle entered the market, and by 1898, the firm had expanded into the emerging field of automobile design. With the 1903 release of its “La Populaire” (Popular), which boasted a single-cylinder engine that could achieve speeds of 28 km/h, the Cottereau firm attained lasting success in the growing automobile market. Indeed, the aptly named “La Populaire” remained in production until 1910. During these prosperous years, Cottereau frequented the Paris gallery Durand-Ruel and amassed a collection of Impressionist paintings with a special focus on Camille Pissarro.

With the onset of World War I, the Cottereau firm’s Dijon facilities were converted to munitions manufacture by order of the State, a transformation that left Cottereau bankrupt at the war’s end. To settle his debts, Cottereau moved to Paris and opened a small gallery in the Passage Choiseul, in the second arrondissement, where he slowly divested himself of his Impressionist collection. After he achieved a modicum of success, Cottereau moved the Galerie Choiseul to its permanent home at 24 rue Laffitte. There, he dealt primarily in works by Monet, Manet, Camille Pissaro, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh and Gauguin, but also occasionally handled works by their progeny, André Derain, Marcel Gromaire, and Georges Rouault.

For more information, see:

Cottereau, Henri. “Van Goghs Grab.” Der Querschnitt 2, no. 3 (1922): 198.

Harrison, Carter Henry. Growing up with Chicago. Chicago: R. F. Seymour, 1944.

How to cite this entry:
Johnson, Samuel, "Henri Cottereau," The Modern Art Index Project (July 2017), Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.