“I want to share my secret with people all over the world, so they can be touched by something heroic, sublime, outside time.
I have experienced the most monstrous aspects of humanity, and I believe that only beauty can save the world.” – JanKrugier
As a fledgling artist in the late 1940s, Krugier moved to Paris, where he rented the Expressionist painter Chaïm Soutine’s former studio, though another artist, Alberto Giacometti, later famously persuaded Krugier to consider a career as a dealer instead. In 1962, he established his first gallery in Geneva representing several well-known modernists and he was the first gallery owner to stage an exhibition of Picasso’s work following the artist’s death in 1973. Krugier did not limit himself to one artistic field, however, and chose to handle a range of material. Nineteenth and twentieth century paintings hung alongside Old Masters and African sculpture, breaking the confines of the traditional gallery show. It was his bold aesthetic that secured Krugier’s place as one of the most innovative and important gallerists of the 20th century. Through his broad perspective, he did much to break the barriers between past and present, classic and modern, sharing his enthusiasm for both with the same intensity and feeling.
Jan Krugier’s personal collection reflected this eclectic style. At the time Krugier began collecting with his wife, Marie Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, many works on paper were both underrated and undervalued, allowing them to build one of the most important groupings of drawings in the world. As he grew his collection over the years, the masterpieces he would acquire rivaled some of the world’s most prominent museums. His 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 those who had perished in the Holocaust, as well as to the men and women like himself who had survived, to anyone “forever locked in the prison of their memory.”