On this site this term refers to a wide range of professionals, craftsmen, service providers from the art world or market.
The word “Business” thus essentially designates entities operating at a given time and place, defined by a name (and sometimes a shop-sign or insignia), an attested address and dates; this entity may either operate in isolation or constitute an element in a series (referred to on the site as a “Firm”).
This unique term of “Business” can refer to entities of a fairly varied nature in terms of their relationship with artists, their materials, and their works. The word “Business” may include all suppliers of artists’ materials (manufacturers, makers, dealers, retailers), be they specialized (“colormen,” “paint sellers,” art or artists’ supplies dealers, etc.), or more general commercial entities dealing in specialized art products as part of their stock (department stores, grocers, stationers, fancy goods and gift shops, haberdashers, cabinetmakers, hardware stores, mirror makers, jewelers, etc.).
A “Business” also generally refers to suppliers of materials used by artists, more particularly here supports for paintings and drawings (the only supplies that can be directly identified by the “marks” on them). In some cases, they may purvey materials other than those used directly by the artist to create the artwork, such as frames.
“Business” also covers another very different category of allied trades, professionals, and service providers: companies or individual business intervening during the making of the artwork or at a later stage in its existence (restorers, reliners, gallerists, art dealers, hirers of paintings and drawings, antique dealers, framers, shippers, packers, etc.).
Collectors and their identifying inscriptions do not fall within the scope of this site. We refer to the available reference tool that covers this field (Frits Lugt, Les Marques de Collections de Dessins & d’Estampes).