Sir Geoffrey Agnew, the dean of London art dealers who also was responsible for placing key works in American museums and collections, is dead at age 78, his firm said this week.
"He had been mortally ill but I think he had a heart attack at the end. He was fully active until a few weeks ago," Evelyn Joll, chairman of Thomas Agnew & Sons Ltd. said in announcing that Agnew died Nov. 22.
Agnew was the fifth generation in the family firm founded in 1817. He joined the company, on Old Bond Street, in 1931 and was its chairman from 1965 to 1982. He gave advice to governments on buying art and on the valuation and taxation of art works.
Among his clients were J. Paul Getty, the late American oil billionaire, and American banker Paul Mellon.
In 1967, to celebrate his firm's 150th year, he purchased for $1.4 million Claude Monet's "La Terrasse a Ste. Adresse," then the highest price ever paid for an impressionist work. The Monet work, which the artist sold for $30, came from Agnew to New York's Metropolitan Museum.