Published: April 24, 2007
Richard Dubrow, a dealer who pioneered in Nineteenth Century American furniture, died April 10, after a long illness. He was born in Maspeth, L.I., in November 1929. During Richard’s earlier years he owned and operated the premium Long Island Beef Company, which supplied gourmet restaurants in New York City and the metropolitan area.
Richard and Eileen Dubrow were partners in life and in business for more than 50 years. They were the most visible dealers in the Revival movement (Greek, Roman and Egyptian furniture) and in the Aesthetic movement. They were leading proponents of the work of John Henry Belter, the Herter Brothers and Poitier & Stymus; they were universally known as the “Wooten Desk” people. In addition to their important contributions to Nineteenth Century American furniture, they were also active early in American folk art, handling amazing cigar store figures and weathervanes.
They also owned the major collection of Fritz Vogt drawings. Many significant pieces in the John Henry Belter Room at The Metropolitan Museum of Art came through Richard and Eileen’s hands.
Richard was a unique character. A natural salesman, he could sell almost anything to almost anybody, if not by persuading them, then by wearing them out. He and his wife were the authors of three books: Styles of American Furniture, Furniture Made in America and American Furniture of the 19th Century. Richard possessed legendary scholarship, being expert in many fields of antiques, fine arts and folk art. He was always generous with his time and information, whether he was speaking to a novice collector, a longtime museum curator or another dealer.
For the last few years, Richard developed a new business he could run from his home dealing in out-of-print books on American antiques. He found a way to deal in material he loved until the end. He is survived by his loving wife, Eileen, and his children Gail, David, Karen and Marc.
To paraphrase Douglas MacArthur, “Old antiques dealers never die, they just pass away.” Richard was a kind and giving friend who will be missed by all who knew him.
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