A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE GALERIE ST. ETIENNE
The Galerie St. Etienne is the oldest gallery in the United States specializing in Expressionism and Self-Taught Art. Its predecessor, the Neue Galerie, was founded in Vienna in 1923 by the late Otto Kallir and was a principal exponent of German and Austrian modernism during the period between the two world wars. Having opened with the first posthumous Egon Schiele retrospective, the Neue Galerie was also the exclusive Austrian representative of such major artists as Alfred Kubin and Oskar Kokoschka. In 1930, Kallir rescued from oblivion the legacy of Richard Gerstl, today ranked with Schiele and Kokoschka as one of Austria's major Expressionists. Also in 1930, Kallir published the first catalogue raisonné of Schiele's paintings. Kallir functioned as a publisher of limited edition prints, working with such artists as Max Beckmann, Johannes Itten, Oskar Kokoschka and Alfred Kubin--all of whom he knew well. In addition, Kallir, like many early pioneers of modernism, was extremely interested in the work of untrained artists. He would greatly expand upon this interest after the 1938 Nazi invasion forced him to flee Austria.
After emigrating to the United States in 1939, Kallir established New York's Galerie St. Etienne and helped to introduce Expressionism to this country. Numerous important Austrian and German modernists, including Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, Alfred Kubin, Paula Modersohn-Becker and Egon Schiele, were given their first American exhibitions at our gallery in the 1940s and '50s. We were instrumental in arranging the first American museum acquisitions of works by these artists (by such institutions as the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art).
Looking for art that reflected his enthusiasm for his newly adopted homeland, Otto Kallir became interested in American folk art. In 1940, the Galerie St. Etienne gave Anna Mary Robertson ("Grandma") Moses her first one-woman exhibition. We went on to become her exclusive representative, and Moses became one of the most famous and popular American artists of the immediate postwar era. More recently, the Galerie St. Etienne has expanded its interest in self-taught art to include Art Brut and "Outsider" material. In addition to the estate of Grandma Moses, we have worked with the estates of Henry Darger and John Kane; we also represent Ilija Bosilj, Michel Nedjar, and the Artists of Gugging.
Since Otto Kallir's death in 1978, the Galerie St. Etienne has been run by his long-time business partner, Hildegard Bachert, and his granddaughter, Jane Kallir.
The Galerie St. Etienne's commitment to its areas of expertise are demonstrated by the breadth and depth of our activities:
• We mounted the first American exhibitions
of many of "our" artists
• We have curated or co-curated exhibitions
for major museums all over the world
• We regularly mount museum-scale loan
exhibitions on our premises and have
borrowed from major institutions and
private collectors all over the world
• We have produced numerous scholarly
publications, including the catalogues
raisonnés on Richard Gerstl, Grandma Moses
and Egon Schiele.
As a result of our depth of expertise, the Galerie St. Etienne is able to provide clients with an unusually broad range of services. In addition to advising collectors on the purchase and sale of art, the gallery assists with authentications and appraisals, and does curatorial consulting for outside institutions.