Company History

from 1880 until today  – Passion for Art

 

EUROPEAN SCULPTURE AND WORKS OF ART FROM THE EARLY MIDDLE AGES UP TO THE 18 TH CENTURY

Since its foundation in 1880, the name Julius Böhler has stood for works of art of the highest quality, testified by its appointment as purveyor to the ‘Royal-Prussian` and `Royal Bavarian` courts. While the circle of collectors has meanwhile expanded and become international, our service with regard to quality and provenance remains unaltered. Thanks to the long family tradition, Florian Eitle-Böhler has close contact to major international museum and private collections.
Discovering the exceptional through our profound expertise is both a responsibility and a pleasure for us as art dealers and has contributed into making the gallery an international leader in its specialist fields.

Florian Eitle-Böhler

1860 until today

1860

BIRTH OF JULIUS BÖHLER – Schmalenberg in the Black Forest

Julius Böhler is the eighth child born into a craftsman’s family in the small village of Schmalenberg.

1860
1880

FIRST SHOP – FROM MUNICH CITY CENTRE TO ACROSS THE GLOBE

The image is a much darkened depiction of Emmaus on copper. On the reverse is an inscription that identifies this picture as the first work of antique art purchased by Julius Böhler in 1880. A short time later the young art dealer opens his first shop in the centre of Munich, initially in Zweigstrasse, then in Sophienstrasse. He specialises in painting, sculpture and the decorative arts.

1880
1883 / 1887

JULIUS WILHELM AND OTTO ALFONS – MARRIAGE & FAMILY

Julius Böhler marries Maria Loibl in 1883. Their sons, Julius Wilhelm and Otto Alfons, are born in 1883 and 1887 respectively.

1883 / 1887
1895

JULIUS BÖHLER BECOMES ANTIQUES DEALER TO THE COURT

In 1895, Emperor Wilhelm II grants the successful art dealer the title ‘Imperial Prussian Antiques Dealer to the Court’.

1895
1902 - 1904

‘PALAIS BÖHLER’ IN THE CENTRE OF MUNICH - A TOP ADDRESS

In 1902–1904 the ‘Palais Böhler’ opens in a prime location in the centre of Munich at Briennerstrasse 25. The architect is the renowned Gabriel von Seidl.

1902 - 1904
1905

ROYAL–BAVARIAN ANTIQUES DEALER TO THE COURT – PRINCE REGENT LUITPOLD HONOURS JULIUS BÖHLER

In 1905, Prince Regent Luitpold grants the art dealer the title ‘Royal-Bavarian Antiques Dealer to the Court’ in recognition of his services.

1905
1906

JULIUS BÖHLER JUNIOR – THE FIRST GENERATION CHANGE

In 1906, the first generation change is marked by appointing Julius Wilhelm a partner in the company. In 1907, the latter’s son, also called Julius Wilhelm, is born.

1906
1920

JULIUS BÖHLER EXPANDS INTO SWITZERLAND - BÖHLER & STEINMEIER EXPLORE NEW OPENINGS

Together with Fritz Steinmeyer, Julius Wilhelm Böhler founds the art business Böhler & Steinmeyer in Lucerne in 1920.

1920
1923 - 1934

JULIUS BÖHLER IN THE USA – START OF NEW BUSINESS RELATIONS

Julius Wilhelm Böhler and Fritz Steinmeyer visit the USA as early as in 1913 to establish a personal contact to American collectors. In the early 1920s they meet the American circus magnate and art collector John Ringling with whom a close friendship evolves. From 1928 until 1932 the Ritz Carlton Hotel is the business address of the Boehler & Steinmeyer company in New York.

 
1923 - 1934
1928

JULIUS HARRY BÖHLER – JULIUS BÖHLER KG HOLDS ITS FIRST AUCTIONS

In 1928 Julius Harry Böhler enters the company at the age of 21. In 1928 Böhler & Steinmeyer found a subsidiary in Berlin, Julius Böhler KG. After the Great Depression in 1929 business prospects in the art trade deteriorated. The company management consequently decided to expand the business portfolio to include auctions.

1928
1933 - 1945

THE ART TRADE IN THE NAZI ERA - A THOROUGH EXAMINATION

Four successful auctions were held between 1936 and 1938; these included amongst others the sale of the estate of Margarethe Oppenheim and a selection of works from the collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (Berlin State Museums). Not least of all due to the controversial Oppenheim auction, but also because of business activities in general in the Nazi era, a transparent examination of the company’s history is a matter very close to Florian Eitle-Böhler’s heart. In 1995 he handed the art trading company’s stock ledgers to the Bayerisches Wirtschaftsarchiv (Bavarian Archives of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce); in 2014 the company’s photo archive was given to the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte.

1933 - 1945
1945

Fortune from misfortune - A new beginning generates new impulses

The Palais Böhler is only slightly damaged during the war and remains the art dealer’s headquarters. In 1945, Julius Böhler starts into future.

1945
1953

RELAUNCH WITH MORE CONTEMPORARY ART - RE-EMERGENCE

In 1953, Dr. Gustav Julius Böhler – with whom company history is written by another new generation – opens ‘ophir’, a gallery for more contemporary art. It is also based in the company’s main building in Briennerstrasse.

1953
1956

NEW FORUMS FOR THE ART TRADE - FIRST GERMAN ART AND ANTIQUES FAIR

In 1956, Julius Gustav Böhler founds the ‘Deutsche Kunst- und Antiquitätenmesse’ together with Otto Bernheimer in Munich. The fair is to become one of the most important events in the art market in Germany.

1956
1958

Back to Old Masters and Works of Art - MUNICH CELEBRATES ITS 800th ANNIVERSARY WITH WORKS BY OLD MASTERS

 

In 1958 the exhibition ‘Masterpieces of Fine Art’, held to mark the 800th anniversary of the City of Munich, attracts considerable attention. This is followed by successful presentations such as ‘Exquisite Textiles’ (1961) and ‘Old Master Drawings’ (1961 and 1967) in the years to come.

1958
1991

DILIGENCE AND VISION - A CHANGE OF GENERATIONS

The next generation is represented by Gustl Böhler’s nephew, Florian Eitle-Böhler, who joins the Munich art dealer’s in 1991. Florian Eitle-Böhler built his career on a solid foundation. Following an apprenticeship as a cabinet-maker, he was head of the Department for European Works of Art/Sculpture at the auctioneers’ Sotheby’s in New York from 1986 to 1991.

1991
1993

COSMOPOLITAN JULIUS BÖHLER - WITH A CLEARER FOCUS ON THE WORLD MARKET

In 1993, the Kunsthandlung Julius Böhler participates at the most successful international art fair, TEFAF (The European Fine Art Fair) in Maastricht, for the first time.

1993
1995

JULIUS BÖHLER - FLORIAN EITLE - BÖHLER - TRANSPARENCY AND CLARITY COMPLEMENT TRADITIONAL VALUES

In 1995 Florian Eitle-Böhler assumes sole responsibility for the traditional art dealer’s in the fifth generation. The focus now lies on sculpture and works of art from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Early Baroque period. The new director also places particular value on the scholarly reappraisal of the company’s history.

1995
1995

JULIUS BÖHLER ESTABLISHES A NEW BASIS - COMMITTED BY TRADITION TO OUR OWN HISTORY

In 1995 the art dealer’s stock ledgers from 1880 to 1976 and correspondence from 1931 to 1967, as well as the stock ledgers and correspondence from the subsidiary in Lucerne, are handed over to the Bayerisches Wirtschaftsarchiv (Bavarian Business Archive) for research purposes.

1995
2004

DEDICATED AND INNOVATIVE - UPHOLDING VALUES

Since 2005 the company’s exhibition rooms have been located outside Munich on Lake Starnberg. The art dealer operates worldwide with private and public collections, organises sales exhibitions in New York in cooperation with Blumka Gallery, New York, based on the motto ‘Collecting Treasures of the Past’ and participates at major international trade fairs, including TEFAF in Maastricht and New York and Munich Highlights.

2004
2014

For research - The ‘Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte’ is given the gallery’s photo archive

In 2014, ca. 11.500 photos and file cards of the company´s archive were given to The Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte (Central Institute for Art History) in Munich. They include documentation of both the title of the art works traded and precise details of their dimensions, techniques and materials, the prices achieved and paid, provenances, related literature and expertises. This has led to the identification of numerous works of art about which detailed information was lacking. The art dealer actively supports international provenance research and advocates complete transparency especially with regard to business files from 1933 up until 1945.
2014
2016

HISTORY IS RETOLD AT EACH ENCOUNTER - AT THE TEFAF IN NEW YORK

In October 2016 the Kunsthandlung Julius Böhler exhibits at the premiere of TEFAF New York Fall together with Kunstkammer Georg Laue, Munich and Blumka Gallery, New York its outstanding sculptures and objets d’art from the Middle Ages up to the Early Modern Era. The period rooms on the upper floors of the building provide a very special setting for the stand designed by Tom Postma Design.

2016
2020

140 Years Julius Böhler

2020 was a very special year: the Kunsthandlung Julius Böhler celebrated its 140th anniversary. Founded by Julius Böhler in Munich in 1880, the gallery has been trading in treasures from the past in ongoing continuity ever since, making it one of the oldest, family-owned art dealers in Europe.

2020
2022

The Book: Collecting Treasures of the Past

The past two years were severely restricted by the Corona pandemic and contact to collectors and art lovers reduced to a minimum. We are now marking the new start with a magnificent catalogue in which 28 of our most beautiful and important objects are presented. ‘Collecting Treasures of the Past’ has been published to coincide with the 35th anniversary of TEFAF that we, as dealers from the very outset, will be celebrating this June in Maastricht.

2022