In 1966 Peter Nahum joined Sotheby's London as a Sales Clerk where he was in attendance at an auction once or twice every day. Each one of these he previewed and learnt about the works in the sales and, as part of his job, learnt the buyers and the prices, giving him a wide general knowledge. In 1971 he set up the Victorian Painting Department at Sotheby’s Belgravia. He initiated the first sales contracts for every item offered at auction, where no item could be sold without a signed agreement (previous to that items were catalogued for auction and sold by auctioneers without prior written consent). He created the first fully illustrated (every lot illustrated) weekly auction catalogues where every three-column double page spread was laid out and balanced in the department. In 1978 he created regular "Highly Important Victorian Paintings" auctions as a vehicle to promote the best of the era (hard-back catalogues, evening auctions preceded by a champagne reception). Unlike his rivals at Christies he charged for illustrations in the catalogues which gave his clients the ability to choose how they wanted to promote their paintings. He became a senior director of Sotheby's and head of both the Victorian and 20th century British Paintings departments (1850 to the present day) and sat on the chairman’s board. He was also advisor to the British Rail Pension Fund on Victorian Paintings and made the second largest percentage profit for them on sale (the Impressionists were sold at the top of the market and gained the no. 1 slot).
After Christmas 1983 he resigned and in 1984 set up his own gallery as Peter Nahum Ltd, which later became Peter Nahum At The Leicester Galleries. He now works independently, actively buying and selling and is currently advisor to major private collections and museums throughout the world, signatory on authentication certificates for Victorian paintings sold to Japan and official valuer for the Department of Arts, Heritage and Environment of the Government of Australia. He also acts as a celebrity auctioneer for many charities. He is a television personality, academic, lecturer, author, frame designer and regular lender of paintings to international exhibitions. The gallery website, www.leicestergalleries.com, is considered to be one of the most academic websites covering the period and is used extensively be academics, dealers, auctioneers and collectors.
From 1997 he singlehandedly created the wireframe and navigational tools for his company, "Online Galleries", (before Google search existed). The vehicle was designed to give the top 5,000 Art and Antiques dealers of the world and their trade associations a selling marketplace with their own online trading shops and websites, under the control of C.I.N.O.A. (the International Art and Antiques Dealers Association). The system continues to do just that.
From 1981 to 2002 Peter Nahum was a regular contributor to the BBC's Antiques Roadshow rediscovering Richard Dadd's lost watercolour Artists Halt in the Desert in 1987, which he later sold to the British Museum and an album of Filipino landscapes sold in 1995 for £240,000. He consistently discovered important and high priced works on the show. Other BBC Television appearances include Omnibus, 1983 with Richard Baker on Richard Dadd's Oberon and Titania, and In at the Deep End,1984, a three-quarter of an hour program during which he taught television journalist Chris Searle to auctioneer. He has also appeared on Breakfast Television, The City Program and Signals and on Sixty Minutes, to name a few, as well as various radio talk shows.
In 1986, Peter Nahum lectured on Victorian Painters as Super Stars - Their Public and Private Art, at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington; in 1993 on The Poetry of Crisis. British Art 1933-1951 at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London and more recently The Strange Forces around the Finding of Richard Dadd’s “Artist’s Halt in the Desert” for the National Arts Collection Fund. He lectures to student bodies and various other organisations and takes academic and museum groups around the private collection hanging in his house.
Peter Nahum writes for daily press, for antiques magazines and museum & gallery catalogues.
His published works include:
Paul Raymond Gregory's RingQuest, Narrated by Julian Sands; Narration written by Peter Nahum; Exectutive producer: Peter Nahum; Produced, directed and edited by Mathias Walin; Photography and sound by Martin Sundström.
Since opening his own gallery in 1984 Peter Nahum has sold works of art to various museums throughout the world including:
In USA and Canada:
Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; Boston College Museum of Art, Massachusetts; Boston Museum of Art, Massachusetts; Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; County Museum, Los Angeles; Dahesh Museum, New York; Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan; Elveheim Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Morgan Library, New York; Middlebury College Museum, Vermont; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institute, Washington; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; National Gallery, Washington; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; Princeton University Museum, New Jersey; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California; St Louis Museum of Art, Missouri; University Art Gallery, Middlebury, Vermont; Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts; Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minnesota; Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Utah; Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut; Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, Los Angeles.
In London and United Kingdom:
British Museum; Imperial War Museum; Leighton House; Museum of London; National Portrait Gallery; Royal Air Force Museum, Tate, London.
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; Bethlem Royal Hospital Art Collection, Kent; Bradford Art Galleries and Museums; Cheltenham Art Gallery, Gloucestershire; Ferens Art Gallery, Hull; Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; Glasgow Museum and Art Gallery; Henry Moore Foundation; Leeds City Art Gallery; Leicester Museum and Art Gallery; Liverpool University Art Collection; Manchester City Art Gallery, Manchester; Penlee House Museum, Cornwall; Rozelle House Gallery, Ayrshire; University of Liverpool Art Gallery; York City Art Gallery; Wakefield City Art Gallery, Yorkshire; National Coal Mining Museum, Wakefield, Yorkshire
And in other countries:
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia.
Musée de Louvre, Paris; Musée d'Orsay, Paris; Musée de Rouen ; Musée de Quimper ; Musée National Fernand Léger, Biot, France.
National Gallery of Ireland.
Nationalmuseum of Fine Arts, Stockholm, Sweden
Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Germany
Musée des Fées, Hinoshi; Koriyama City Museum of Art, Japan
Peter & Renate Nahum, The Leicester Galleries and Peter Nahum . Renate Nahum . Agency are consistent lenders of paintings to international exhibitions, including:
- A Brush with Shakespeare, The Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, Alabama, USA, 1985;
- Surrealism in Britain in the Thirties, Leeds City Art Gallery, 1986;
- Surrealismi – Surrealism, Rettretti Art Centre, Savonlinna, Finland, 1987;
- Paradise Lost, Barbican Art Gallery, London, 1987;
- The Last Romantics, Barbican Art Gallery, London, 1988;
- James Tissot, Japan, 1988;
- Exhibition Road, 20th Century Painters from the Royal College of Art, London Royal College of Art, 1988;
- The Etruscans, Stoke-on-Trent Art Gallery, 1989;
- Original Illustrations and Paintings of Fairy Beings, Japan, 1988-89;
- I Surrealisti, Palazzo Reale, Milan, Italy, 1989;
- Cecil Collins, The Tate Gallery, London, 1989;
- Pre-Raphaelite Patrons, The Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, 1989;
- Field, Farm and Fantasy, Chichester Festival, 1989;
- Valon Juhlaa, Rettretti Art Centre, Savonlinna, Finland, 1989;
- Die Surrealisten, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Germany, 1989-90;
- Paul Nash: Places, Hayward Gallery travelling exhibition, 1989-90;
- Michael Rothenstein, Stoke-on-Trent Art Gallery travelling exhibition, 1989-90;
- Anxious Visions. Surrealist Art, University Art Museum, Berkeley, California, 1990;
- John Piper in Wales, National Museum of Wales touring exhibition 1990;
- Michael Rothenstein Prints 1950-1990, Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery, touring exhibition, 1990;
- Rossetti, Bunkamura Museum of Art, Tokyo travelling exhibition, 1990-91;
- Peter Fuller Memorial Exhibition, Manchester City Art Gallery, 1991;
- Rothenstein’s Boxes, Royal Academy, London, 1992;
- The Great Age of British Watercolours 1750-1880, London, Royal Academy of Arts, 1993;
- Peter Lanyon, The Tate at St Ives, 1994;
- Lost Paradise - Symbolist Europe, Montreal, Musée des Beaux-Arts, 1995;
- Symbolisme en Europe, Takamatsu, Musée Municipal des Beaux-Arts de Takamatsu, 1996; and then, Tokyo, Musée des Beaux-Arts Bunkamura, Himeji, Musée Municipal d’Art de Himeji, 1997;
- Humanist Landscapes: Humphrey Spender’s Photo-Documents, 1932-1942, New Haven, Connecticut, Yale Centre for British Art, 1997;
- The Age of Rossetti, Burne-Jones & Watts Symbolism in Britain 1860-1910, London, Tate Gallery and then, Munich, Haus der Kunst 1997-8;
- Orientalism, Australia and New Zealand, The Art Gallery of New South Wales and Auckland, 1997 – 1998;
- Sluice Gate of the Mind, The Collaborative Work of Dr Grace Pailthorpe and Reuben Mednikoff, Leeds City Art Gallery, 1998
- Eugene Jansson 1862-1915, Stockholm, Liljevalchs Konsthall, 1998;
- Die Farben Schwarz - The Colours Black, Graz, Austria, Landesmuseum Joanneum, 1999;
- Eugene Jansson (1862-1915) Nocturnes suédois, Paris, Musée d'Orsay, 1999;
- C R W Nevinson: The Twentieth Century, London, Imperial War Museum and then, New Haven, Connecticut, Yale Centre for British Art, 2000
- Symbolist Art in Germany, 1870-1920, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, 2000;
- Dreamtime: The Dark and the Light, Sammlung Essl, Austria, May-September 2001
- Hitchcock and Art: Fatal Coincidences, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Quebec, touring to Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, November 2000 - September 2001;
- Dante Gabriel Rossetti in the 1860s; The Blue Bower, Clark Institute, Williamstown, MA, February-May 2001;
- Ben Uri Story 1915-2000, London, Ben Uri Art Gallery at Phillips, January – September 2001;
- The Quest for Camelot, The Arthurian Legend in Art, City Art Gallery, Edinburgh, November 2001-February 2002;
- Exposed: The Victorian Nude, Tate Britain touring to Kunsthandel, Munich, Brooklyn Art Museum, USA, November 2001-January 2003;
- In Ruins, Holburne Museum of Art, Bath, October-December 2001;
- Women Who Ruled: Queens, Goddess, Amazons 1500-1650, Ann Arbour, University of Michigan Museum of Art, then touring to Wellesley College, February -December 2002;
- Jacob G. Cuyp – Nestor of the Dordrecht Painters, Dordrechts Museum, Netherlands, June-September 2002;
- Salome - Iconographic changes of images in East and West, curated by Prof. Kimie Imura Lawlor, London, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, 28-29 March 2002;
- Julio Gonzalez – A Retrospective Exhibition, New York, Dickinson Gallery, May-June 2002;
- Jacob Epstein 1880-1959, Bronze Sculptures, Les Fleurs du Mal drawings and other works on paper, Boundary Gallery,London, 28 June - 3 August 2002;
- Clare Shenstone: Portraits of an Intimate Acquaintance, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, 30 July – 8 September 2002;
- Gertler and His Circle, Boundary Gallery, London, 4 October-23 November 2002;
- Fées, elfes, dragons et autres créatures de féerie including Paul Gregory’s Lord of the Ring Series, Daoulas, Abbaye de Daoulas, Brittany, France, 7 December 2002 – 9 March 2003;
- Graham Sutherland, an exhibition on loan at Olympia, London, 25 February - 2 March 2003;
- The Brotherhood of Ruralists, A Celebration of Three Decades, Museum of Modern Art (The Tabernacle),Machynlleth, Wales, 8 September – 1er November 2003;
- Prunella Clough 1919-1999, Seeing the world sideways, London, Olympia, 2-7 March 2004;
- Ideale e realità. Una storia del nudo del Neoclassicismo ad oggi, Bologna, Galleria d'Arte Moderna, 17 January- 9 May 2004;
- Nils Kreuger, Stockholm, Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde, 17 September 2004 - 9 January 2005;
- Graham Sutherland, Dulwich Picture Gallery, 15 June – 25 September London, 2005;
- rarrk -John Mawurndjul: Journey in Time in Northern Australia, Tinguely Museum, Basel, Museum, 2005-2006;
- Barbara Hepworth, Drawings from the 1940s, Loan Exhibition, Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert, London, 12 October – 18 November 2005;
- Stroll on! Aspects of British Abstract Art in the Sixties, MAMCO Geneva, 18 October 2005 - 16 January 2006;
- Vitalismen årt Munch Museet Oslo, 15 February – 15 April 2005;
- Landschaft im Rheinischen Expressionismus, Bonn, August Macke Haus, 19 May-17 September, 2006;
- Aldeburgh Festival Exhibition, Peter Pears Gallery, 9 -24 June 2006
- Paul Raymond Gregory. From the World of Tolkien, Stockholm, Prince Eugens Waldemarsudde, 24 March – 5 August 2007
- The Lure of the East: British Orientalist Painting, touring exhibition - Yale Center for British Art, New Haven CT, 7 Feb- 28 April 2008; then to Tate Britain 2 June-25 August 2008;
- Ancient Landscapes – Pastoral Visions: Samuel Palmer to the Ruralists,
- Tristram Hillier RA,
- Utmost Fidelity: The Painting Lives of Marianne & Adrian Stokes, Wolverhampton Art Gallery 31 January 2009 - March 2010, travelling to Southport, The Atkinson Art Gallery, April - June 2009; Harrogate, The Mercer Art Gallery, June - September 2009; and Penzance, Penlee House, Penzance & Royal Cornwall Museum, September - November 2009
- Da Corot ai Macchiaioli al Simbolismo. Nino Costa e il paesaggio dell’anima, Castello Pasquini, Castiglioncello (LI), Italy, 18 July - 1 November 2009
- Alias Man Ray: The Art of Reinvention, The Jewish Museum, New York, 10 November 2009 - 7 March 2010
- Visiones de Don Juan, Santa Ines Exhibition Hall, Seville, 10 December 2009 - 10 December 2010
- Paul Nash: The Elements, the Dulwich Picture Gallery, 10 February - 9 May 2010
- Eugene Jansson, Badsump & Nils Kreuger, Oktoberafton, Apelvik (October Evening at Apelvik), loans to The Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky, June 2012 - June 2012
- Man Ray, African Art & the Modernist Lens, Charlottesville, Virginia, University of Virginia Art Museum, August-October 2010, ex catalogue
- Man Ray, African Art & the Modernist Lens, Vancouver, Museum of Anthropology at The University of British Columbia, October 2010 - January 2011, ex catalogue
- Ford Madox Brown: Pre-Raphaelite Pioneer at Manchester Art Gallery and The Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent, January 2011 - March 2012
- Luminous Modernism. Scandinavian Art Comes to America. A Centennial Retrospective 1912-2012, The American- Scandinavian Foundation, New York, October 2011 - February 2012
- Eugene Jansson, Blue Dusk and Naked Athletes, Prins Eugene's Waldemarsudde, Stockholm, February - June 2012
- Burne-Jones at Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Tokyo; Hyogo Prefecture Museum of Art, Kobe; Koriyama City Museum of Art, June - December 2012
- Nordic Art, The Modern Breakthrough, Groninger Museum, Holland and Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Munich, December 2012 - October 2013
- Samuel John Peploe (1871-1935) at at The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, travelling to Aberdeen Art Gallery, October 2012 to October 2013
- Nacke Männer – Macht & Ohnmacht im Wandel (Naked Men – Power & Powerlessness Through the Ages) at the Leopold Museum in Vienna, October 2012 to January 2013
- Masculin-Masculin. L'homme nu dans l'art aux XIXème et XXème siècles at the Musée d'Orsay Paris, September 2103 to January 2014
- Artistic Exchanges - Corot, Costa, Leighton at The National Gallery, London, May to September 2014
- An Appetite for Painting: Contemporary Painting 2000–2014 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Oslo, Norway, September 2014 to January 2015
- Conscience and Conflict: British Artists and the Spanish Civil War at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, travelling to the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle,November 2014 to June 2015
- A Radical View: William Gear as Curator 1958–64, at the Towner Gallery, Eastbourne, May to August 2015
- John Tunnard. Nature, Politics and Science, at the The Durham Light Infantry, Durham, July to October 2015
- Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) at the Musée de Grenoble, November 2015 to February 2016
- Romantic Landscapes. Paul R. Gregory and the Lord of the Rings at Kunstverein 'Talstrasse' e.V., Halle, Germany, December 2015 to April 2016
- Pre-Raphaelites. Beauty and Rebellion at the Walker Art Gallery Liverpool, February to June 2016
- Paul Nash at Tate Britain, October 2016 to March 2017
- Albert Moore. Of Beauty and Aesthetics, at Museum De Buitenplaats and York Art Gallery, December 2016 to October 2017
Peter Nahum At The Leicester Galleries has put together for exhibition and eventual sale, several important international collections:
- The Poetry of Crisis, British Avant-garde Art 1933-1951. Twenty-five years of collecting to amass over 320 paintings and drawings that evoke the political unrest of these uncertain years, combined with the excitement of new artistic languages. The collection is used as a study collection by museums around the world and has been budded as the most comprehensive collection of the era in the world.
- Aboriginal Barks and Acrylics. A collection of 84 works by Australia’s most prestigious Aboriginal artists, formed carefully over twenty years. There is a steady stream of requests from international museums to borrow from the collection. There is a collection of Aboriginal artefacts that accompanies this collection.
- Lady Sale and the First Afghan War 1838-1844. A comprehensive collection of 130 original paintings, watercolours, lithographs and photographs which record the First Afghan War and the Kabul Disaster. On January 6, 1842, a British force that, with its followers who numbered some 16,000, marched out of Kabul under an illusory safe conduct; one week later, all of them bar about twenty-four - men, women, and children- lay dead along the ninety mile route, mostly killed by the Afghan enemy, the rest frozen to death in the snow – the worst tragedy to happen to the British Army to that date.
- Scenes from JRR Tolkien's “The Lord of the Rings” by Paul Gregory – The Monumental Series 1978-2005. It was in the late 1970’s that Paul Gregory started on his twenty-five year journey to describe, on great canvases, his vision of Tolkien’s mythical world of “The Lord of the Rings”. There is no coincidence that the film echoes Paul’s images, as they were live on his website during its making.
Peter Nahum is Chairman of Contemporary Arts Trust. Contemporary Arts Trust, www.contemporaryartstrust.org traces its roots back to June 1999. The Trust’s objective is to assist deserving artists who show promise; to encourage them to remain in the arts and continue on their creative journey. Contemporary Arts Trust encourages every discipline within the Fine Applied Arts. Since its formation the Trust has given more than £375,000 in prizes and awards.
Contemporary Arts Trust is run entirely by unpaid trustees all of whom have extensive and enthusiastic experience in the arts and management. Every pound donated by Members, Patrons and Award Donors goes to the artists and arts the Trust supports.
Peter Nahum, during his career at Sotheby's, conducted a great many auctions, at the most productive time at least once a week. Since leaving in 1984, he was the first official auctioneer in Athens to conduct auctions specialising in Greek paintings for Stavros Mihalarias. Now he auctions for Charity. Amongst others, he conducted the first charity auction for Sam Wanamaker at Shakespeare's Globe before it opened and more recently, in 2005, for Mark Rylance also in aid of Shakespeare's Globe.
Peter Nahum has designed and built frames for the neo-classical painting by Frederic Lord Leighton in Sydney’s Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia; for an important watercolour by Dante Gabriel Rossetti for the Adelaide Museum of Art, Australia; for the masterpiece in Llandaff Cathedral, Wales: the triptych by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and for other museums and many private collections.
Web site building:
Peter Nahum’s website and portal company, Online Galleries Ltd, created the finest Websites for the Art and Antiques Profession. Online Galleries has, in addition, designed and built the website portals C.I.N.O.A. (the over-body association for the top 30 National Art & Antiques dealers associations in 20 countries and their 5,500 members) and their member associations such as for the B.A.D.A. (The British Antique Dealers Association), SLAD (The Society of London Art Dealers), for LAPADA (The Association of Art & Antiques Dealers), for SKAF (Sveriges Konst- och Antikhandlareförening, Sweden), for the Associação Portuguesa dos Antiquários, for NAADAA (The National Antique & Art Dealers Association of America). The central antiques search for. www.OnlineGalleries.com together with www.CINOA.com represent " The World's most Respected Art & Antiques Community". Online Galleries Ltd was sold in 2012 to 1st Dibs.