Before couture: Christian Dior's forgotten years as a hip art dealer

Detail of a portrait of Christian Dior by Paul Strecker, 1928 
Detail of a portrait of Christian Dior by Paul Strecker, 1928 Credit: Paul Strecker Foundation

Long before his New Look  made him a star of couture,  the Frenchman was a hip gallerist, finds Lucy Davies  

If you had a few francs to spare in late Twenties Paris and fancied a painting by one of the modern artists then in vogue as just the thing for your apartment, you would have headed straight to the rue La Boétie, just off the Champs-Élysées.

At the time, the narrow street was a nerve centre for the art market. Picasso had a house and studio at number 23, next door to his dealer, Paul Rosenberg, who also stocked the works of Géricault, Ingres, Delacroix, Cézanne, Manet, Degas, Monet, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec and Modigliani. Nathan Wildenstein, founder of the Wildenstein art-dealing dynasty...

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