Published: January 16, 2007
Dave R. Aronson, director of Aronson Antiquairs and chairman of TEFAF Maastricht, died of cancer in Amsterdam on January 5. He was 60.
A specialist in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Continental furniture and Dutch faience, he was a foremost expert in Dutch Delftware.
“He loved its beauty, its imperfections, its manmade appearance and its color. He especially loved that it was Dutch,” recalled Aronson’s son Robert, who succeeds his father as director of the firm founded by Leon Aronson in Arnhem in 1881.
Aronson Antiquairs moved to Amsterdam in 1900. The gallery closed during World War II and its stock was sold by a Nazi-appointed administrator. Leon’s son David, who had assumed management of the antiques business, and his wife, Clara, died at Auschwitz in September 1942. After the war, two surviving brothers reopened Aronson Antiquairs.
Dave R. Aronson was born May 1946 to Ab and Noen Aronson.
“My father had strong feelings about being a Jew and chose a Jewish education before training in London with a colleague in the antiques trade,” said Robert Aronson.
Aronson Antiquairs moved to its present location at Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 39, near the Rijksmuseum, in 1969.
“In those days, having a shop meant waiting for clients to show up. My father was impatient with that. He began joining boards. At 33, he was the youngest chairman of the Dutch antiques dealers association and director of the Delft fair, which used to be the big antiques show for northwest Europe,” said Robert Aronson.
Dave Aronson was also active in pAn Amsterdam, a top Dutch art and antiques fair.
The company plans to return to New York’s Winter Antiques Show in 2008 after a leave of absence.
Aronson Antiquairs has participated in the European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht since its inception. Dave Aronson was Maastricht’s chairman from 1999 until his death. Maastricht colleagues say he “will be remembered for his warm and affable personality, his decisive manner and no-nonsense approach and his fairness at all times.”
The company celebrated its centennial in 1981, marking the occasion with a major catalog. Sumptuously illustrated, scholarly publications have followed with frequency since 2000.
Aronson Antiquairs closed its gallery in 2006 for renovations. Dave Aronson was not among guests at an opening night party on January 4. He died the following day, having enjoyed seeing photographs of the festive event.
In addition to his son, Dave Aronson is survived by his wife, Irene, a daughter, and six grandchildren.
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