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150 years of great art: The Paffrath Gallery

Paffrath, the renowned family business in Düsseldorf, belongs to the few houses of tradition in the German art trade. Its history, now spanning over five generations, is impressively long but the story is told quickly.

Johann Baptist Paffrath - From master carpenter to art dealer

The person interested in learning about the founding history of the Paffrath gallery must first look in a place that might, at first glimpse, have little to do with art at all – namely in old delivery invoices from the Düsseldorfer Malkastenverein from the1860s. In these old documents one can see how a certain carpenter by the name of J.B. Paffrath, living on Jacoby Street, was busy as a key enabler to the Düsseldorf art community. He produced packing cases for their works, which were highly desired in America, and shipped them to dealers and collectors overseas. Apparently some of the painters paid for these services with art of their own. So by chance, J. B. Paffrath founded the basis for a successful art trading business primarily with works of modern masters or “artist of 1st rank” as they were called at the time. This connection of artistic and business expertise, always a great benefit to the customer, is the key element in Paffrath business policy to this day, and enjoys the greatest confidence in museum circles as well.