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‘The World’s oldest family-owned Art Gallery’

The present day art dealing and restoration firm ‘Douwes’ was established in 1770 and the gallery was registered in 1805: it is the oldest family-owned art business in the world.

Nowadays, 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 8th and 9th generation. 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. After decades of acumulating our skills in this trade, our forebear Hendrik Douwes (born 1784), officially registered the Douwes Fine Art Gallery in 1805 in Amsterdam, when Napoleon’s reign commanded registration.

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 (then considered modern and contemporary art!). 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 expertise in African Colonial Art and our latest love for Chinese Modern paintings.

In 1975, Douwes Fine Art, led by Evert VII (1928-2019, 7th generation) became one of three founding members to instigate what later became known as The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht. In 1985/1986 Evert VII was also one of six founding members of the PAN, the most important Dutch National Art & Antiques Fair.

Now in its 8th and 9th generation of art dealing and restoring, our prestigious art gallery is the oldest of its kind in The Netherlands, as well as worldwide. During more than two hundred and fifty years of art dealing, we have always upheld our belief ‘in sharing the beauty and importance of art’.

For a more comprehensive history of Douwes Fine Art please read on: link to full history

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 expertise in African Colonial Art and our latest love for Chinese Modern paintings.

In 1975, Douwes Fine Art, led by Evert VII (1928-2019, 6th generation) became one of three founding members to instigate what later became known as The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht. In 1985/1986 Evert VII was also one of six founding members of the PAN, the most important Dutch National Art & Antiques Fair.

Now in its 7th and 8th generation of art dealing and restoring, our prestigious art gallery is the oldest of its kind in The Netherlands, as well as worldwide. During more than two hundred years of art dealing, we have always upheld our belief ‘in sharing the beauty and importance of art’.

For a more comprehensive history of Douwes Fine Art please read on: link to full history

Walraven Jansz. Douwe

(born in Antwerpen)

A Wine merchant, who moved to Leiden after the treaty of Münster (1648) effectively destroyed Antwerp’s trading activities. He would become grandfather of Evert Abr. Douwdesse.

A wool-carder, who lived in Leiden amongst famous artists such as Gerard Dou, Jan Steen, Jan Lievens and more. He would become the father of Evert Abr. Douwdesse.

Abraham Evers

(born 1661 in Leiden)

Evert Abrahamsz. Douwdesse

(born 1685 in Leiden)

Named after his grandfather and father, whom baptized him together in the ‘Hooglandse kerk’ in Leiden and whom would become the first Evert Douwes in the family.

A shipwright and restorer, the first to pick up this trade, working mainly on wooden vessels. He would eventually become the first Douwes to settle in Amsterdam.

Evert Douwes II

(born 1708 in Leiden)

Evert Douwes III

(born 1760 in Amsterdam)

A shipwright and restorer as well focusing more on the restoration and decoration of ships and vessels. Painting and decorating the bows and beakheads of merchant ships at the time.

Hendrik joined the artist’s guild St.Lucas and would become the first generation art dealer of the Douwes family. And an artist and craftsman he was at that time. He officially registered the Douwes Fine Art Gallery name in 1805.

Hendrik Douwes

(1784 – Amsterdam – 1843)

Evert Douwes IV

(1809 – Amsterdam – 1869)

Evert IV followed the road taken by his father, but also expanded the firm. In 1835, he married the Roman Catholic Hendrina Sluyter, and together they had no less than nine children. The family lived over the workshop on the Nieuwezijds-Achterburgwal, the present Spuistraat. A frame-making department was added.

Evert Douwes V

(1843 – Amsterdam – 1896)

Established Douwes Brothers in 1875, together with his younger brother Henri. Aged 26 and 19, they changed the company’s name into “Gebroeders Douwes” (“Douwes Brothers”), consisting of an art gallery, a framemaking department, and a restoration workshop, all situated at the Grimburgwal nr.15, in Amsterdam.

Henricus Douwes

(1850 – Amsterdam – 1938)

Established Douwes Brothers in 1875, together with his older brother Evert V at the age of 19. Henri became a genuine “Amsterdam expert”, and expert in topographic maps of Amsterdam, prints, and contemporary art. Henri was a passionate photographer who, together with his contemporaries Jacob Olie and George Breitner, would roam the city to capture images.

Evert Douwes VI

(1888 – Amsterdam – 1971)

The sixth Evert first spent time with the renowned art dealer Wenzel in Breslau as well as the with the world famous dealer Haenfstangel in Frankfurt around 1912. This stay would prove to be of lasting significance to his interest in documenting art as he would eventually set up the Douwes library through his experiences. Evert VI opened the first London branch of Douwes (1922-1932) and was a founding member of the ‘Dutch Art Buyers Association’ (Nederlandse Kunstkopersbond).

Evert VII was a fanstastic restorer learning the trade through his father and several important figures in the art world such as Willem Vogelsang. At a young age Evert VII took over from his father to further develop the gallery activities after World War II. In addition to the gallery’s 15th to 19th century Dutch and Flemish paintings, he introduced the 19th century French School of Barbizon and Pre- and Post-Impressionism.

In 1975 Evert VII became one of the founding members of The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht. For over twenty years he sat on the Board of Directors and was the president of the paintings vetting committee. Evert sr. was also one of six founding members of the PAN, the most important Dutch National Art & Antiques Fair.

Evert Douwes VII

(London 1928 – 2019 Amsterdam)

Quote Evert Douwes (kf)

Evert Douwes VIII

(born 1953 in Amsterdam)

Current director Evert Douwes VIII studied history of Art at the University of Amsterdam. During his studies he worked with the leading expert Eberhard Kornfeld in Berne, Switzerland, then spent time in London to follow the Sotheby’s Works of Art Course and to connect with the international art market. In 1979 he opened and ran the London Branch of Douwes Fine Art until taking over the company in Amsterdam in 1995.

Evert VIII serves as an international painting expert in several vetting committees, was a Board member to the most important annual Dutch National Art and Antiques Fair (PAN – Pictura Antiquairs Nationaal), is a founding father of the annual ArtBreda fair in The Netherlands and remains active in his field. In his spare time he is president of the Ingeborg Douwes Foundation, a unique initiative since 2000 focussing on Psychosocial Care for Cancer patients and their families.

Erick Douwes

(born 1956 in Amsterdam)

Erick followed in his father’s footsteps as a restorer, he joined his older brother Evert VIII in the family business in 1982. Together they make up the next pair of ‘Douwes Brothers’ since 1896. Erick is a member of the Dutch Art Restorers Association (RN) and is a past president of its sister organisation ARA.

Evert-Anthony IX became the 9th generation Douwes to work in the family business as of 2017. After a short internship at Christie’s Amsterdam in 2009 and several internships abroad, Evert-Anthony went to study at Nyenrode Business University in Amsterdam before officially joining his grandfather, father and uncle in the firm. In 2019 he lead the company to register the first Rembrandt etching on Blockchain worldwide.

Evert-Anthony Douwes IX

(born 1992 in London)

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