Short History & Vision
Europe's oldest single-family art gallery since 1770, marked its separate two century ‘registration date’ with a celebration!
The Douwes tradition started with a restoration workshop as early as the 1770. Already in the fashionable Amsterdam of the second half of the 18th century, the Douwes forebears tried to meet the desire of those who wanted the beautiful ceilings of their imposing canal houses painted and restored.
These days, the firm still belongs to the same family; it was passed on from father to son for many generations. The present owners of Douwes Fine Art are in effect the seventh and eighth generation. However, according to the official regulations of the St. Lucas guild, abolished shortly after in 1808, they prefer to start counting from their entry as an independently registered business on September 5th, 1805. Now in its sixth generation of art dealing and restoring since then, this prestigious art gallery is the oldest of its kind in The Netherlands and worldwide. During more than two hundred years of art dealing, our family motto has been ‘to share the beauty of art by means of a public gallery’.
Instead of specialising in only one era or style, we endeavour to use our elaborate expertise of five centuries of painting. This allows us to offer a great variety of Dutch, Flemish, French, Russian and international works of art. Not only do we have important, rare and expensive paintings but we try to excite any young collectors as well by offering good quality art for as little as a thousand euro.
- Douwes Fine Art aims to lower the threshold and to provide expertise to a large public. We do this while maintaining consistently high-quality works of art in our collection.
- Despite what you may think, there is no better time to collect than the present ... even if we find ourselves engulfed with financial hardship and in search of human norms and values! Timeless Art is what binds people and cultures across the globe. Mankind is glued together by the grace of many expert artists whose energies connect local cultures seamlessly together into a colourful tapestry. We can feel fortunate to look at the warmth and atmospheric scenes depicted in art that can inspire us throughout our busy lives. Art in all its facets represents a necessary remedy in support for quality of life; art can offer comfort to every person at any time!
- Our unique firm now spans five centuries and many different cultures of Art in painting and in sculpture. Each of our six Douwes generations was able to add a new expertise,which by now covers "a world of Art". Since the last half of the 18th century our forebears already practiced the skills of restoring works of art. The experience of this unique craft still helps us develop on-the-job knowledge.
- The daily use of our comprehensive book, photo and slide library allows us instant and in-depth research results and supports our services of valuation for all purposes. Our advice is entirely at your disposal, whether purchasing at auction or selling on consignment, anywhere in the world. The Douwes formula remains in full swing and is very effective!
- During the first four generations our core expertise has been in Old Master paintings (primarily Dutch and Flemish) from the 15th through to the 19th century. Since the 1950s we have been expanding into French painting, 20th century Russian Impressionism and original 17th century Rembrandt prints. Today we are proud to present you with additional knowledge in African Colonial Art and our latest love for Chinese Modern painting. Douwes Fine Art always makes a very careful selection for the art fairs we participate in. Although taste is a subjective characteristic,we are certain to cover the widest range of quality works tickling everyone's taste buds.
- We invite you to our premises at any time and during the important art fairs we attend, such as the Dutch national PAN fair in Amsterdam in November, the international and well-renowned TEFAF in Maastricht in March and many more similar events.
- Read here a more comprehensive history of Douwes Fine Art containing many historical anecdotes and colourful illustrations.
Evert J. M. Douwes jr.
Amsterdam, September 2014
Selfportrait Hendrik Melgers, 1923