IN the dark days after the Franco-Prussian war and the Paris Commune of 1871, French Banker Gustave Dreyfus, 35, sought out Paris Art Critic Charles Timbal. Taking shrewd advantage of the general despair, Dreyfus coolly offered to buy the collection of Italian Renaissance art works that Timbal had spent 19 years assembling. Timbal sold, thus making Dreyfus overnight the possessor of a small private museum of Renaissance sculpture and painting.

Dreyfus quickly developed a connoisseur's eye for the small bronzes, rarely over gin. high, that Renaissance noblemen once placed in their studies as...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!