The French Company. The French company in Manhattan, N.Y.C., owned by Spencer Samuels was inherited from his father, Mitchell. From the 1907 until the 1970s The French Company, the antique/rare art dealer, had fifty showrooms and eight vaults on East 57th street in Manhattan. The French Company sold art to the Tate Gallery, the MET, Le Louvre in France, and the richest American collectors such as J. Paul Getty, J.P. Morgan, the Rockefellers, and W.R. Hearst. They had a 10,000-volume library just on references to art.
Spencer managed to collect sales records dating back to the 1700s to authenticate the art works that were sold. “Samuels was famous in the art world for having discovered an original 17th century Vermeer oil painting. As a dealer, Samuels sold rare works by such Old Masters as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Raphael, Goya and El Greco as well as works by Degas, Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec, and more contemporary art by Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock.” New York Times
When I was in Manhattan as a child, my father often would take my older brother and I to visit Spencer at his lavish apartment in Manhattan, which was furnished with exquisite authentic period antique furniture and rare objets d’art. I recall on a visit to Spencer’s apartment, I sat on a chair with gold embellishments from the palace of King Louis XIV of France. With my hands firmly folded in my lap, I was afraid to touch anything in the apartment! I sat next to a side table of marble and gold rococo embellishments, where several original Faberge gem encrusted porcelain eggs were displayed, originally from the palaces of Russian Czars. These were my first experiences with such priceless objets d’art, paintings, and antiques in a private residence. As a child living in Manhattan, I had spent many hours in the museums after school and during the summers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Natural History Museum; all within walking distance of our apartment, or from my school.