Henri Vever Papers
FSA.A1988.04

Summary
Collection ID:
FSA.A1988.04
Creators:
Vever, Henri, 1854-1942
Dates:
1867-1932
Languages:
Multiple languages
English; French
Physical Description:
2.5 linear feet
circa 35 items
Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
The papers of Parisian jeweler and art collector Henri Vever (1854-1942) include six diaries; a ledger of his art acquisitions; original oil paintings by Vever; and photographs. The materials document Vever's circle of friends, patrons, and other art collectors in turn-of-the-century Paris.

Scope and Content Note
Scope and Content Note
The Henri Vever Papers measure 2.5 linear feet (35 items) and span the years 1875 --1932. The collection contains six diaries, an account ledger, 20 photographs, one guest list, one ceremonial pommel, and six original oil paintings by Henri Vever.

Arrangement note
Arrangement note
This collection is organized into five series:
Series 1: Diaries, 1878-1901
Series 2: Account Ledger, 1894, 1907-1917
Series 3: Photographs, 1867-1932, n.d
— Subseries 3.1: Henri Vever and Family
— Subseries 3.2: Vever Family Estate in Noyers, France
Series 4: Art Works, 1914-1915
— Subseries 4.1: Pommel
— Subseries 4.2: Le Havre, France
— Subseries 4.3: Château de Noyers

Biographical Information
Biographical Information
Henri Vever Chronology
1854
Vever born in Metz, France.
1870
Following the German annexation of Metz during the Franco-Prussian War, the Vever family leaves Metz for Luxembourg.
1871
Jean-Jacques Ernest Vever (father of Henri) buys a jewelry studio in Paris. Vever begins apprenticeship at Loguet and at Hallet and attends night classes at the Ecole des Art Décoratif in Paris.
1873
Vever enters the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the studios of M.A. Millet and J.L. Gérôme.
1881
Jean-Jacques Ernest Vever retires and Vever and his brother Paul assume control of the jewelry shop (Maison Vever). Henri Vever marries Jeanne Monthiers.
1882
Jeanne Vever gives birth to Marguerite Vever, the couple’s only child.
1885
Vever buys first painting.
1891
Vever travels to Russia where the Maison Vever takes part in a jewelry exhibition in Moscow.
1892
Vever becomes a regular participant of the dîners japonisants organized by art dealer Siegfried Bing.
1893
Vever appointed commissioner for jewelry to the World’s Columbian Exposition, in Chicago. Maison Vever exhibits jewelry at the Exposition.
1894
Vever donates forty Japanese prints to the Louvre.
1900
Vever joins the Société Franco-Japonasie and is elected the mayor of Noyers, France.
1906-1908
Vever publishes, Bijouterie Française au XIXe Siècle.
1913
With Georges Marteau, Vever authors,
Miniatures Persanesa
catalogue of the 1912 Exposition des Arts Musulmans.
1915
Paul Vever dies.
1919
Maison Vever commissioned to make sword of honor offered to Marshall Ferdinand Foch by the city of Paris to celebrate the end of World War I.
1921
Vever retires.
1939
Marguerite Vever dies.
1942
Henri Vever dies.
1982
Maison Vever closes.
Jeweler, art collector, and author Henri Vever was born in Metz, France in 1854. Together with his older brother Paul, Henri Vever managed the family jewelry firm, Maison Vever, from 1881 until Paul's death in 1915 and Henri's retirement in 1921. As an art collector, Vever amassed a large collection of European, Asian, and Islamic art. Through his work as a jeweler, art collector, and author, Henri Vever played an important role in the twentieth-century art world.
To equip him with the proper skills to run Maison Vever, Henri Vever apprenticed in the studios of Louguet and of Hallet and attended the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs in 1871. Two years later, the Ecole des Beaux-Arts accepted Henri and he entered the studios of artists M.A. Millet and J.L. Gérôme. Jean-Jacque Ernest Vever retired from Maison Vever in 1881 and his two sons, Henri and Paul, assumed control.
The youngest son of Jean-Jacques Ernest Vever, Henri Vever was born into a family of jewelers. His grandfather, Pierre-Paul Vever, launched a successful jewelry shop in Metz in 1854. Upon retirement, Pierre-Paul Vever's son, Henri's father, assumed control of the shop. With the German annexation of Metz during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, Jean-Jacque Ernest Vever took his family to Luxembourg and one year later acquired a jewelry shop at 19 Rue de la Paix in Paris and named the new shop Maison Vever.
That same year Henri married Jeanne Monthiers and she gave birth to the couple's only child, Margeurite, in 1882. Henri, Jeanne, and Margeurite Vever lived at 19 Rue de la Paix in the same building that housed Maison Vever. In 1892 Jeanne Vever inherited her family's estate in Noyers, France.
The Vever brothers ran a very successful jewelry studio. Not only did Maison Vever's clientele base expand during their tenure, but its designs were often prizewinners at various expositions around the world. The 1900 Exposition Universalle in Paris offers an example. The Maison Vever submission won a Grand Prix at this exposition in which the art movement Art Nouveau played a major role.
Henri Vever was a proponent of the Art Nouveau movement, a turn-of-the-century art movement whose adherents sought to forge a new, modern style, one that would, "reunite art and craft." According to curator Glenn Lowry, Vever's interest in Art Nouveau affected the Maison Vever's designs. "…during the 1880s many of the Maison Vever's designs were highly traditional, by the beginning of the 1890s the firm was at the vanguard of the art nouveau movement.
In addition to his work at Maison Vever, Vever amassed an enormous and influential collection of European, Asian, and Islamic art. Initially a collector of European art, by the late 1880s Vever's collecting interests expanded to include Asian and then Islamic art works. According to Lowry, Vever's interest in Islamic art was sparked in 1891 when he traveled to Moscow to participate in a jewelry exhibition. In approximately 1892 Vever joined
Les Amis de l'Art Japonais
, a group whose members met for dinners at which they discussed Japanese art. Claude Monet was also a member of this group.
From 1906 to 1908, Vever published a three-volume series,
Bijouterie Française au XIXe Siècle
. This set became the, "standard text on nineteenth-century jewelry". Through his art collections, writings, and profession, Henri Vever played an important role in the twentieth-century art world. He acquired a large art collection and often loaned pieces out for exhibition to various galleries and museums throughout the world. Henri Vever retired from Maison Vever in 1921 and the sons of Paul Vever, André and Pierre, took over the reigns. Henri Vever died in 1942 at the country estate in Noyers. Maison Vever continued operation until 1982 when it permanently shut its doors.

Administration
Alternate Formats
A portion of the collection has been microfilmed and is available through the Archives.
Processing Information note
This collection was processed by Linda M. Machado, 2001.
Author
Finding aid prepared by Colleen Hennessey
Immediate Source of Acquisition note
The Henri Vever Papers were donated to the Archives by the grandson of Henri Vever, François Mautin, in 1988. Additionally, Mr. Mautin donated six original oil paintings by Henri Vever to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in 1988. These paintings were transferred to the Archives in 1993.

General note
General note
For a more detailed look at the life of Henri Vever, please see the following publication from which much of this biographical information originates:
Lowry, G.D. with Nemazee, S. (1988).
A jeweler's eye: Islamic arts of the book from the Vever Collection
. Washington D.C.: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Insitution with Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Henri Vever Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Gift of François Mautin, 1988
Conditions Governing Access note
Access is by appointment only, Monday through Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Please contact the Archives to make an appointment: AVRreference@si.edu.
Restrictions on Use
No restrictions on use.
Preferred Citation note
Henri Vever Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of François Mautin, 1988

Related Archival Materials note
The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery holds the,
Vever Collection of Islamic Manuscripts
. Additionally, the Archives holds,
the Vever Family Photograph Album
which contains photographs depicting the Vever family from 1881-1930 and the family estate in Noyers, France.

Custodial History note
Custodial History note
Gift of François Mautin, 1988

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Vever, Henri, 1854-1942 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art dealers--France--Paris Subject Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art nouveau Subject Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art, Asian Subject Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art, European Subject Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art, Islamic Subject Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art--Collectors and collecting--France--Paris Subject Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diaries Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jewelry--History--Nineteenth century--France Subject Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jewelry--History--Twentieth century--France Subject Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Le Havre (France) Geographical Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Paris (France) Geographical Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Works of art Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
Washington, D.C., 20013
Phone: 202-633-0533
AVRreference@si.edu