History of the Dorotheum

In 1707, the company was founded by Kaiser Joseph I, and its more than 300-year history makes it one of the oldest major auction houses in the world.

As a well-known Viennese institution, the Dorotheum embodies a piece of Austrian history. 80 years after it was founded as a "Displacement and Inquiry Office for Vienna", it became the former Dorotheekirche: which is how the "Dorotheum" received its current name. The magnificent Palais Dorotheum in the Dorotheergasse where the old convent was formerly located was completed in 1901. Plans for the new building in Neo-Baroque style were designed by the famous Ringstrasse architect, Emil Ritter von Förster. Kaiser Franz Joseph himself conducted its grand opening. Even back then, the premises met all the requirements of a major auction house – the elegant auction company was right at home in the spacious showrooms and salons. Today the palace is the backdrop of the unique, attractive ambience of the major international Dorotheum auctions.

Auction scenes back then ...

…and today.

Since autumn 2001, the Dorotheum has private owners who continue to run the house with lots of personal commitment and a great amount of enthusiasm for art. The management’s aim is to expand Vienna as a location for auctions while maintaining the charm of the traditional building. Dorotheum represents a meeting place for art lovers and collectors, offering competent customer service, a young image, and an excellent international network. Particular focus is especially put on modern and contemporary art.

Opening of the Palais, 1901

Kaiser Joseph I

Founding patent, 1707