Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
A DIALOGUE THROUGH ART: WORKS FROM THE JAN KRUGIER COLLECTION Certain figures leave a deep imprint on the world, not only on those closest to them but also far beyond. Jan Krugier was certainly such a person: a charismatic and visionary man, who was confronted with the greatest hardships but was able to transform them into something beautiful, through an exceptional career in the art world. I first met him in 1973 in Geneva and we developed a kindred relationship that carried us through 35 years of collaboration and friendship. He became a true "mentor" in the best sense of the word, for whom I felt the deepest respect on both a personal and professional level. His unique destiny began with time spent as a teenager in the Polish resistance, through the horrors of the concentration camps, to a new life as an orphaned young adult in Zürich, supported by an adoptive family, whom he treasured as his own. The strength and survival instinct that helped Jan Krugier survive these times influenced the special qualities he later developed as an art dealer. He had an atypical vision of things, he hated conformity and he refused to let himself be influenced by others. When Abstraction reigned supreme, he chose to defend figurative artists, such as Balthus, Alberto Giacometti, Wifredo Lam and Giorgio Morandi. While the leading galleries operated from Paris, London or New York, he settled in Geneva, staging landmark exhibitions in his gallery in the Old Town, before later opening a branch in Manhattan. His creative eye was also evident in the care with which he prepared his catalogues, which became collectors' items. Through circumstance, Jan Krugier became best known for his role as advisor on part of the estate of Pablo Picasso. But he never limited himself to just big names. In addition to Paul Cézanne, Paul Klee, Henri Matisse, Picasso and many others, he showed the work of contemporary artists, such as Zao Wou Ki and Zoran Antonio Music, as well as Antiquities and Tribal art. Furthermore, he and his wife, Marie Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, assembled one of the greatest private collections of drawings, which became one of Jan Krugier's favorite media. Several of these works on paper have now become the focus of the Jan Krugier Foundation, created in 2010 by Tzila and Aviel Krugier in memory of their father. Through his broad perspective, Jan Krugier did so much to break the barriers between past and present, classic and modern, sharing his enthusiasm for both with the same intensity and feeling. He was truly one of the greatest art dealers of our time. But he was more than that. He was one of those rare birds who, despite all his suffering, was capable of living and giving with passion and joy. He was bold and outspoken in his opinions, saying out loud what others thought inside. He had a view on everything and almost always the right one! He loved being the center of attention, but did so with unequalled intelligence and elegance. Looking back at the work and legacy of Jan Krugier is a fascinating experience, which we hope to transmit through the sale of this selection of works from his collection. This tribute auction was organized with the collaboration and support of the executors of his Estate, Robert Briner, Eric Melis and Bruno Poniatowski, along with the advice and assistance of international art expert Janet Briner and Krugier gallery director Evelyne Ferlay. In all he touched, Jan Krugier gave an example of courage, strength and conviction, which can only inspire all those who will now discover, or re-discover, his extraordinary life and vision. Jan Krugier possessed a deep and profound love for art, a cultural practice he deemed the "secret language" of the human spirit. It was universal, timeless, and sublime, revealing the beauty still present in a shattered world. Through art, Krugier said, he could "escape the nightmares" that haunted him as a Holocaust survivor, and uncover the most inspiring aspects of the human condition. It was a moving example of strength and courage, a lifelong passion that yielded one of the greatest collections of the modern era. Survivor Jan Krugier was born in 1928 in Radom, a small city in central Poland. His mother died when Jan was just five, leaving him under the care of his father, a Jewish businessman with a modest collection of French Impressionists. Leafing through black and white reproductions from his father's library, Jan Krugier learned the tenants of art through the great masterworks of world culture. As war loomed over Poland, Krugier's father refused to abandon his homeland, and by 1942 all of the immediate family had been killed. The sole survivor, the young Jan was transported to a labor camp from which he managed to escape, only to be recaptured after taking part in the Polish resistance. While small miracles continually saved Krugier from death, they also forced him to witness unimaginable atrocities. At Auschwitz-Birkenau, he experienced horrific suffering and death on a daily basis; he became part of a "death march" through Germany, where he was imprisoned for the last time before liberation. Krugier bore his prisoner identification number on his arm for the rest of his life, a physical reminder of the tragedies through which he had somehow survived. Margaret Bleuler, a Swiss philanthropist who worked to bring Polish survivors of the camps to Zürich, gave Krugier a new life in the aftermath of the war. She introduced the troubled young man to the prominent Jewish thinker Martin Buber and the Bauhaus painter Johannes Itten, two figures who would become lasting influences in Krugier's life. Although he would never escape his memories, it was the remembrance of beauty, of a joy that was visible and tangible, that drove Krugier toward art, an expression he saw as man's finest achievement. Dealer Krugier held a belief in the power of aesthetics that stayed with him throughout his life. As a fledgling artist in the late 1940s, he moved to Paris, where he rented the Expressionist painter Chaïm Soutine's former studio. The insightful, charismatic Krugier was soon mingling with international luminaries such as Samuel Beckett, Jean Dubuffet, Alberto Giacometti and Peggy Guggenheim. Krugier's aspirations to become a painter were soon replaced with an extraordinary career as an art dealer. In the broad range of creative minds he represented, Krugier found a personal and intellectual fulfillment that a career as an artist would not have given him. In 1962, he established his first gallery in Geneva representing artists like Giacometti, Wifredo Lam, Bram van Velde, and Alexander Calder. At the time, works by those such as Giorgio Morandi--Krugier staged the artist's first show outside of Italy--were a difficult sell. Yet the dealer's personal charm and inherent passion for the work propelled him to great success. With Modern artists in particular, Krugier perceived a search for authenticity that he found appealing; they managed to convey the volatility of life with which Krugier was so acutely acquainted. Jan Krugier was soon handling a range of material as varied as his interests in art itself: 19th- and 20th-century paintings hung alongside Old Masters and African sculpture, breaking the confines of the traditional gallery show. It was a bold aesthetic that secured Krugier's place as one of the most innovative and important gallerists of the 20th century, and testified to a belief in embracing the totality of the human experience. Few individuals could grasp the traces that ran throughout the art historical canon--invisible narratives of creation and elucidation both ancient and contemporary--than Jan Krugier. It was a skill that lent itself brilliantly to one of the most challenging and transcendent of all modern artists, Pablo Picasso. Krugier was the first to stage an exhibition of Picasso's work following the artist's death in 1973. The dealer fostered a close relationship with the artist's granddaughter Marina, who enlisted Krugier as an advisor in the distribution of her grandfather's estate. He helped her assemble a vibrant collection that included some of the most important works in the artist's uvre. In the process, Krugier became one of the world's foremost Picasso dealers, showcasing diverse and rare materials such as notebooks, sculptures, paintings, drawings, prints, and ceramics. Krugier would later represent the Estate of Joaquín Torres-García on behalf of the artist's grandchildren, who were inspired by the dealer's exceptional understanding of art and the workings of the market. For decades, he ran his business out of Geneva and New York, where he continued to show a wide range of artists with his signature innovative exhibitions. The galleries were staffed with a team of dedicated individuals carefully trained by Krugier himself; his daughter Tzila Krugier works alongside her father for more than 15 years. Collector For Krugier, art was a form of human expression that could be fully inhabited, and the astounding personal collection he amassed with his wife was a testament to the couple's connoisseurship. At the time the Krugiers began collecting, works on paper were both underrated and undervalued, allowing them to build one of the most important groupings of drawings in the world. The couple acquired their first work, a harmonious Seurat landscape, during the first year of their marriage. They then moved to a figure study by Tintoretto, a depiction of a galley slave by Carracci, a Raimondi drawing of a bird's skull, and inherited a serene Parmigianino Madonna from Mrs. Krugier-Poniatowski's grandfather. The collection of drawings grew to span half a millennium, from Carpaccio, Tiepolo, and Rubens, to Rembrandt, Poussin, David, and Constable. Even modern artists such as Cézanne, Kandinsky, De Kooning, and Hopper were represented. It demonstrated the ways in which basic techniques were mastered across continents and generations; Krugier himself called the collection "rarissime." The dealer saw drawing as the "first cry of the human being," raw manifestations from the artist's hand that harkened to the "first marks our ancestors left behind them on the earth." Krugier would return to his collection again and again, finding comfort in dark times. "The drawings," he said, "are...the biggest expression of the soul. That's why I collect so obsessively. Otherwise, I would never have survived." The Krugiers' superb collection came to encompass drawings, paintings, and sculptures by old and modern masters, as well as ancient, pre-Colombian, and African art. Filled with extraordinary works created over several millennia, the Krugier residence on the outskirts of Geneva could compete with some of the world's finest museums. The couple's collection toured to enthusiastic crowds in Berlin, Venice, Madrid, Paris, Vienna, and Munich in a series of exhibitions entitled "The Timeless Eye." Krugier dedicated these landmark shows to his family and to all those who had perished in the Holocaust, mentioning victims of racism, gypsies and Germans interned for their anti-Nazi convictions, as well as to all the men and women like himself who had survived, especially to anyone "forever locked in the prison of their memory." Inspiration For decades, the inimitable Krugier could be spotted at auctions and art fairs in Europe and New York, tapping his cane and smoking his signature cigars. His staying power in both the art market and the world of collecting was a testament to his scholarship and discerning taste, and Krugier regularly gave lengthy, impromptu lectures (in any one of five languages) on the merits of a particular work or artist. "Jan Krugier can often be heard urging scholars and laymen alike to see what they are looking at," wrote Philip Rylands, director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Indeed, he was as excited to speak to new buyers and young people as he was to sell masterpiece works to curators and prominent collectors; no one walked away without a taste of Krugier's enthusiasm. He was named Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres in 1996, recognizing a lifelong commitment to art and artists. His passion remained, however, a selfless pursuit. "I'm nothing," the dealer remarked. "I haven't done anything special. It's the artists who count, the artists who are important, who truly make a contribution." Yet Krugier's legacy continues to offer an unquestionable contribution to this world: as an embodiment of courage and strength; a model of ground-breaking creative vision; and a reminder of the power of art to heal, teach, and inspire. "I have experienced the most monstrous aspects of humanity," he said. "I believe that only beauty can save the world."
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

Nature morte à la bouteille

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Nature morte à la bouteille
brush and India ink on paper
12 3/8 x 8 5/8 in. (31.5 x 22 cm.)
painted in 1908-1909
Estate of the artist.
Marina Picasso (by descent from the above).
Jan Krugier, acquired from the above.
Josef-Haubrich-Kunsthalle in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Museum Ludwig; Frankfurt am Main, Städtische Galerie im Städelschen Kunstinstitut and Kunsthaus Zürich, Pablo Picasso: Eine Ausstellung zum hundertsten Geburtstag, Werke aus der Sammlung Marina Picasso, February 1981-March 1982, p. 245, no. 63 (illustrated).
Venice, Centro di Cultura di Palazzo Grassi, Picasso: Opere dal 1895 al 1971 dalla Collezione Marina Picasso, May-July 1981, p. 215, no. 81 (illustrated).
Geneva, Galerie Jan Krugier, Picasso: Oeuvres cubistes de la Collection Marina Picasso, April-July 1986, no. 101 (illustrated on the back cover).
New York, Jan Krugier Gallery, Picasso: Cubist Works from the Marina Picasso Collection, October-December 1987, pp. 22 and 106, no. 21 (illustrated, p. 21).
Sale room notice
Please note that Maya Widmaier-Picasso has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

Please note that Claude Picasso has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

Lot Essay

Maya Widmaier-Picasso has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

Claude Picasso has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

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