A Brief History of Dorotheum

Founded by Emperor Joseph I in 1707, Dorotheum is one of the world’s oldest major auction houses.

As an emininent Viennese institution for over 300 years, Dorotheum is a slice of Austrian history. Eighty years after it was founded as the "Displacement and Inquiry Office for Vienna", it relocated to the former Dorotheerkirche, a convent, leading to its current name "Dorotheum". The magnificent Palais Dorotheum that is located in the Dorotheergasse was completed on the site of the old convent in 1901. Plans for the new building in neo-Baroque style were drawn up by the famous Ringstrasse architect, Emil Ritter von Förster, and Kaiser Franz Joseph himself conducted its grand opening. The premises met all the requirements of a major auction house, and the spacious showrooms and salons cemented its appeal as an elegant marketplace for fine art. Today, the palace provides an ambient and unique backdrop for the major international Dorotheum auctions.

Auctions at Dorotheum: that was then ...

... and this is now.

Dorotheum has been privately owned since autumn 2001. Its owners run the house with tremendous zest and passion for art. The management’s aim is to promote Vienna as a location for auctions while maintaining the charm of the traditional building. Dorotheum is a meeting place for art lovers and collectors, offering efficient customer service, a vibrant image, and an excellent international network of contacts and clients. Dorotheum places particular focus on modern and contemporary art.

Opening of the Palais, 1901

Kaiser Joseph I

Founding patent, 1707