It’s one thing to talk about the redemptive power of art. Jan Krugier lived it. Born to a Jewish manufacturer in Poland in 1928, Krugier’s father was a modest art collector and a Polish patriot. He stayed in Poland until it was too late leaving the 13 year old Jan to become a member of the Polish resistance. Jan was captured in 1943, ending up in two concentration camps and as slave laborer in a Farben plant. After the war, Krugier studied art but was haunted by his experiences. The work of other artists was a balm to his tortured soul (those words might be romantic in another context but are merely descriptive here.) Participating in the creation and distribution of art as a dealer became his life’s work. Eventually he owned galleries in Geneva and New York (operated by his daughter.)
Here’s a great story about Krugier by the excellent Nicholas Fox Weber:
(The Jan Krugier Gallery’s obit after the jump.)
International art dealer and gallerist Jan Krugier died Saturday, November 15, 2008 at his home in Geneva at the age of 80, surrounded by his family and close friends. He is survived by his wife, Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, and his two children, Tzila Krugier and Aviel Krugier.
Jan Krugier was the most influential and established art dealer of his time. Ignoring convention, Krugier organized stunning shows with unexpected juxtapositions, making his viewers look with fresh eyes at, for instance, African ceremonial objects and Old Master drawings hung beside the biggest names in Modern and Contemporary art.
Krugier established his first gallery in Geneva, Switzerland in 1962, taking the advice of his friend Alberto Giacometti, who suggested he become an art dealer. He then opened a branch in New York in 1987. Krugier was well known for his traveling exhibitions and presence at international art fairs. He was also the exclusive agent for the Marina Picasso Collection and the Alejandra, Aurelio and Claudio Torres Collection of works by Joaquin Torres-Garcia.
Krugier believed deeply in the triumph of art over any passing trend or financial fluctuation. He had an incomparable dedication to art and his loss will be profoundly felt.