Not only was Paul Poiret one of the pillars of modern fashion in the first half of the twentieth century; he was also an enthusiastic collector. For over fifteen years, this “enthusiast free of prejudice and lover of risk” frequented the most famous artists of the time, guided by an instinct that André Salmon readily defined as a “true faith”.
The catalogue printed by Devambez in 1923 for the exhibition of his collection at the Barbazanges gallery in Paris featured artists such as Picasso, Brancusi, Van Dongen, Dufy, Van Gogh, Derain and Picabia, reflecting Poiret’s sometimes daring intuitions. André Salmon speaks of Poiret’s “brazenness in presenting, next to a glorious Derain from 1923 […], a minor Derain from 1910 that nothing could have prompted him to buy, if not taste alone […]! The satisfaction of being the one who, years before the war, yearned for this Van Dongen, more than capable of shocking the delicate sensibilities of the time, when it was not yet a social duty to pose for “the Painter”! “
La Collection particulière de M. Paul Poiret, exhibition catalogue, galerie Barbazanges, Paris, 26 April -12 May 1923, Paris, Devambez, 1923