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Wilhelm Uhde

Robert Delaunay, 1907, Portrait of Wilhelm Uhde. Robert Delaunay and Sonia Terk met through the German collector/dealer Wilhelm Uhde, with whom Sonia had been married as she said for "convenience"

Wilhelm Uhde (1874, Friedeberg, Province of Brandenburg (now Poland) – 1947 Paris) was a German art collector, dealer, author and critic, an early collector of modernist painting, and a significant figure in the career of Henri Rousseau.


  • Biography 1
  • The Sacred Heart painters 2
  • Writings 3
  • Legacy 4
  • Works from the collection of Wilhelm Uhde 5
  • References 6


Uhde studied law in Dresden but switched to art history, studying in Jean Metzinger, Sonia Delaunay, André Derain, Raoul Dufy, Auguste Herbin, Jules Pascin and Pablo Picasso.[1] Uhde commissioned Picasso to paint his portrait (1910) and produced the first monograph on Rousseau in 1911.[2]

Helmut Kolle, ca.1930, Portrait of Wilhelm Uhde

Uhde and Sonia Terk married in 1908 (London), reportedly a marriage of convenience which masked his homosexuality. They divorced 1910 and Terk married Robert Delaunay.[2]

At the outbreak of Raoul Dufy, Juan Gris, Auguste Herbin, Marie Laurencin, Fernand Léger, Jean Metzinger, Pablo Picasso, Jean Puy and Henri Rousseau) was confiscated in 1914 and sold by the government in a series of auctions at the Hôtel Drouot in 1921.[3][4]

From 1919-1920, Uhde worked with Helmut Kolle and lived with him in Chantilly, France. Uhde became active as a pacifist in Weimar Germany, but returned to France in 1924, moving back to Chantilly in 1927. A Jew, he spent the Second World War in hiding in southern France, at one point helped by the art critic and resistance leader Jean Cassou.

The Sacred Heart painters

Uhde is also known as the principal organiser of the first Naive Art exhibition, which took place in Paris in 1928. The participants were Henri Rousseau, André Bauchant, Camille Bombois, Séraphine Louis and Louis Vivin, known collectively as the Sacred Heart painters. Séraphine Louis had been Uhde's housecleaner, whose work he had discovered and sponsored from 1912 to 1930.


  • Picasso et la tradition française, Paris : Les Quatre Chemins, 1928
  • Cinq maîtres primitifs, Paris, 1949
  • Von Bismarck bis Picasso: Erinnerungen und Bekenntnisse (1938) recent editions:
    • Uhde, Wilhelm (2010). Von Bismarck bis Picasso: Erinnerungen und Bekenntnisse. Römerhof Verlag.  
    • Uhde, Wilheml (2002). De Bismarck à Picasso.  


A significant part of Uhde's life story is told in the 2008 French film Séraphine by director Martin Provost, focusing on the encounter and subsequent role of Séraphine Louis in his life and he in hers. The film won seven César Awards, including Best Film.

Works from the collection of Wilhelm Uhde


  1. ^ MAM, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris 1937, L'Art Indépendant, ex. cat. ISBN 2-85346-044-4, Paris-Musées, 1987, P. 188
  2. ^ a b "Dictionary of Art Historians". 
  3. ^ : Collection Uhde. Paris, 30 May 1921Vente de biens allemands ayant fait l'objet d'une mesure de Séquestre de GuerreThe Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries,
  4. ^ Malcolm Gee, "Dealers, Critics and Collectors of Modern Painting; Aspects of the Parisian Art Market Between 1910 and 1930", Courtauld PhD Dissertation 1977, p25
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