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Oral history interview with Mitchell Samuels, 1959 August 11

Samuels, Mitchell, 1880?-1959



Collection Information

Size: 2 Pages, Transcript

Format: Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel. Reformatted in 2010 as 1 digital wav file. Duration is 2 min.

Summary: An interview of Mitchell Samuels conducted 1959 August 11, by John D. Morse, for the Archives of American Art. Interview is introductory only and is less than three minutes in length.

Biographical/Historical Note

Mitchell Samuels (1880?-1959) was an art dealer in New York, N.Y.


This interview is part of the Archives' Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.

Language Note

English .



The following oral history transcript is the result of a tape-recorded interview with Mitchell Samuels on August 11, 1959. The interview took place in New York City, and was conducted by John D. Morse for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.


JOHN MORSE: This is an interview with Mr. Mitchell Samuels, president of French & Company, for the Archives of American Art. The interviewer is John D. Morse. The place is the galleries of French & Company at 978 Madison Avenue, New York City. And the date is August 11, 1959. Now while we're doing this, Mr. Samuels, just leave that right where it is, and I would ask you, for example, a question such as: when did you join French & Company?

MITCHELL SAMUELS: It was founded -- I was the founder in 1907--

JOHN MORSE: Here in New York?

MITCHELL SAMUELS: In New York. And we succeeded the firm of Seyffer & Company, who were in 1871 the continuation of the firm of Marley & Company.

JOHN MORSE: Wouldn't that make it almost the oldest gallery--?

MITCHELL SAMUELS: The oldest gallery in the United States.

JOHN MORSE: The United States, not only here?


JOHN MORSE: That's interersting. And you, then, were one of its founders?

MITCHELL SAMUELS: I was one of the founders.

JOHN MORSE: What had you done before, may I ask?

MITCHELL SAMUELS: I was for ten years with the firm of W. & J. Sloane as an assistant manager and purchasing agent.

JOHN MORSE: And then you joined French & Company in -- well, you founded it in 1907?

MITCHELL SAMUELS: Founded French & Company with Mr. French, who was twenty years older, and with a fine flock of gray hair. And though I really founded French & Company, I was afraid that people would not have confidence in me, so we named it French & Company --

JOHN MORSE: That was very modest of you.

MITCHELL SAMUELS: --for that reason, and that's the way it remained, and we were an instantaneous success.


Last Updated...May 20, 2004

How to Use This Collection

Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Mitchell Samuels, 1959 August 11. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.