Gustav Klimt

Left: Gustav Klimt in his studio garden. Circa 1912-14. Photograph.

Right: Poster for the First Secession Exhibition. 1898. Private collection.


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 11, 2017 - October 13, 2017

The Woman Question

Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka

March 14, 2017 - June 30, 2017

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 12, 2016 - October 7, 2016

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 21, 2015 - October 16, 2015

Alternate Histories

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

January 15, 2015 - April 11, 2015

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 15, 2014 - September 26, 2014

Recent Acquisitions

And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market

July 9, 2013 - September 27, 2013

Face Time

Self and Identity in Expressionist Portraiture

April 9, 2013 - June 28, 2013

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 17, 2012 - October 13, 2012

The Lady and the Tramp

Images of Women in Austrian and German Art

October 11, 2011 - December 30, 2011

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 5, 2011 - September 30, 2011

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 13, 2010 - October 1, 2010

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 24, 2008 - September 26, 2008

Transforming Reality

Pattern and Design in Modern and Self-Taught Art

January 15, 2008 - March 8, 2008

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 5, 2007 - September 28, 2007

Who Paid the Piper?

The Art of Patronage in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna

March 8, 2007 - May 26, 2007

More Than Coffee was Served

Café Culture in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna and Weimar Germany

September 19, 2006 - November 25, 2006

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 6, 2006 - September 8, 2006

* Coming of Age

Egon Schiele and the Modernist Culture of Youth

November 15, 2005 - January 7, 2006

Recent Acquisitions

And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market

June 7, 2005 - September 9, 2005

Every Picture Tells a Story

The Narrative Impulse in Modern and Contemporary Art

April 5, 2005 - May 27, 2005

65th Anniversary Exhibition, Part I

Austrian and German Expressionism

October 28, 2004 - January 8, 2005

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 24, 2003 - September 12, 2003

In Search of the "Total Artwork"

Viennese Art and Design 1897–1932

April 8, 2003 - June 14, 2003

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 25, 2002 - September 20, 2002

Gustav Klimt/Egon Schiele/Oskar Kokoscha

From Art Nouveau to Expressionism

November 23, 2001 - January 5, 2002

Recent Acquisitions (And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 26, 2001 - September 7, 2001

From Façade to Psyche

Turn-of-the-Century Portraiture in Austria & Germany

March 28, 2000 - June 10, 2000

Saved From Europe

In Commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

November 6, 1999 - January 8, 2000

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts About Looted Art)

June 9, 1998 - September 11, 1998


Repression and Revolt in Modern Art

March 26, 1998 - May 30, 1998

Recent Acquisitions

A Question of Quality

June 10, 1997 - September 5, 1997

The Viennese Line

Art and Design Circa 1900

November 18, 1996 - January 4, 1997

Breaking All The Rules

Art in Transition

June 11, 1996 - September 6, 1996

The Fractured Form

Expressionism and the Human Body

November 15, 1995 - January 6, 1996

Recent Acquisitions

June 20, 1995 - September 8, 1995

On the Brink 1900-2000

The Turning of Two Centuries

March 28, 1995 - May 26, 1995

55th Anniversary Exhibition in Memory of Otto Kallir

June 7, 1994 - September 2, 1994

Symbolism and the Austrian Avant Garde

Klimt, Schiele and their Contemporaries

November 16, 1993 - January 8, 1994

Recent Acquisitions

June 8, 1993 - September 3, 1993

Naive Visions/Art Nouveau and Expressionism/Sue Coe: The Road to the White House

May 19, 1992 - September 4, 1992

Scandal, Outrage, Censorship

Controversy in Modern Art

January 21, 1992 - March 7, 1992

Viennese Graphic Design

From Secession to Expressionism

November 19, 1991 - January 11, 1992

Recent Acquisitions

Themes and Variations

May 14, 1991 - August 16, 1991

Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka

Watercolors, drawings and prints

January 22, 1991 - March 2, 1991

Recent Acquisitions

June 12, 1990 - August 31, 1990

The Narrative in Art

January 23, 1990 - March 17, 1990

The Galerie St. Etienne

A History in Documents and Pictures

June 20, 1989 - September 8, 1989

* Gustav Klimt

Paintings and Drawings

April 11, 1989 - June 10, 1989

Recent Acquisitions and Works From the Collection

June 14, 1988 - September 16, 1988

From Art Nouveau to Expressionism

April 12, 1988 - May 27, 1988

Recent Acquisitions and Works From the Collection

April 7, 1987 - October 31, 1987

Oskar Kokoschka and His Time

November 25, 1986 - January 31, 1987

Viennese Design and Wiener Werkstätte

September 23, 1986 - November 8, 1986

Gustav Klimt/Egon Schiele/Oskar Kokoschka

Watercolors, Drawings and Prints

May 27, 1986 - September 13, 1986

The Art of Giving

December 3, 1985 - January 18, 1986

Expressionists on Paper

October 8, 1985 - November 23, 1985

European and American Landscapes

June 4, 1985 - September 13, 1985

Arnold Schoenberg's Vienna

November 13, 1984 - January 5, 1985

* Gustav Klimt

Drawings and Selected Paintings

September 20, 1983 - November 5, 1983

Early and Late

Drawings, Paintings & Prints from Academicism to Expressionism

June 1, 1983 - September 2, 1983

Aspects of Modernism

June 1, 1982 - September 3, 1982

The Human Perspective

Recent Acquisitions

March 16, 1982 - May 15, 1982

Austria's Expressionism

April 21, 1981 - May 30, 1981

Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele

November 12, 1980 - December 27, 1980

* Gustav Klimt

March 20, 1970

Austrian Art of the 20th Century

March 21, 1969

* Gustav Klimt

February 4, 1967

The Wiener Werkstätte

November 16, 1966

25th Anniversary Exhibition

Part I

October 17, 1964

Austrian Expressionists

January 6, 1964

Group Show

October 15, 1962

Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka and Alfred Kubin

March 14, 1961

Watercolors and Drawings by Austrian Artists from the Dial Collection

May 2, 1960

European and American Expressionists

September 22, 1959

* Gustav Klimt

April 1, 1959

Austrian Art of the 19th Century

From Wadlmüller to Klimt

April 1, 1950

Small, Good Art Works from the 19th and 20th Centuries

January 27, 1949

Franz Barwig the Elder, Franz Barwig the Younger and Gustav Klimt

March 12, 1948

Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele

September 15, 1945

Saved from Europe

Masterpieces of European Art

July 1, 1940

Group Exhibition

May 1, 1939

Austrian Art

February 1, 1939

Important Paintings

November 29, 1937

Anton Faistauer, Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele

June 1, 1933

Gustav Klimt and Bruno Lauterbach

March 29, 1928

* Gustav Klimt

May 20, 1926


June 7, 1994 - September 2, 1994


Beckmann, Max

Benoit, Rigaud

Corinth, Lovis

Felix, Lafortune

Gerstl, Richard

Hirshfield, Morris

Jungnickel, Ludwig Heinrich

Kane, John

Klimt, Gustav

Kokoschka, Oskar

Kubin, Alfred

Laske, Oskar

Lebduska, Lawrence

Levin, Abraham

Litwak, Israel

Moses, Anna Mary Robertson ("Grandma")

Neder, Michael


Nolde, Emil

Romako, Anton

Scharl, Josef

Schiele, Egon

Waldmüller, Ferdinand Georg



In the years since Otto Kallir, founder of Galerie St. Etienne, died in 1978, we have periodically reminded our visitors of the gallery’s lengthy history. Our most noteworthy efforts in this vein were the Kallir memorial exhibitions mounted in the early 1980s (loan shows on a scale that, given subsequent increases in values, could never be duplicated today) and our fiftieth-anniversary series in 1989. This year’s fifty-fifth anniversary happens to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Otto Kallir’s birth, and the present exhibition is therefore dedicated to his achievements.


Kallir was one of a generation of art dealers who transformed the New York art world in the period immediately preceding and following World War II. When he came to New York in 1939--having been driven from his native Austria a year earlier by the Nazi Anschluss--the American art scene was still surprisingly provincial. The 1913 Armory show and the First World War had occasioned fleeting contact with European modernism, but interest on this side of the Atlantic was confined to a relatively small minority. It would take the mass exodus of European intellectuals spurred by Hitler’s cultural policies, and the subsequent rise of the United States as a global super-power, to make America a full-fledged partner in the modernist enterprise.


Most early champions of the avant-garde--here and in Europe--approached their task with a missionary zeal that was sharpened by the often hostile responses of an uninformed public, but Kallir was unusual in the breadth and eclecticism of his enthusiasms. For one thing, he was almost naively optimistic about the potential of the twentieth century. Modern art was just one facet along a wide progressive continuum encompassing a host of allied cultural and scientific advances. (His collection of aeronautica, a mere sideline to his multiple professional pursuits, won awards in many nations.) Kallir was no dealer in the narrow, conventional sense. He was a publisher of original graphics by such artists as Max Beckmann, Oskar Kokoschka, Alfred Kubin and Egon Schiele, and of literature by the likes of Rainer Maria Rilke and Hugo von Hofmannsthal. He was an organizer of exhibitions on a monumental scale, bringing the work of Lovis Corinth, Käthe Kollwitz, Edvard Munch, Auguste Renoir, Paul Signac, and Vincent van Gogh to Vienna, and that of Gustav Klimt, Kokoschka, Kubin, Paula Modersohn-Becker and Schiele to the United States. And he was an erudite scholar who believed passionately in documenting the work of the artists he represented: he published no fewer than three catalogues raisonnés on the work of Schiele, as well as cataloguing the oeuvres of Richard Gerstl and Grandma Moses.


It was perhaps the diversity of his interests that provided Kallir--forty-five years old at the time of his immigration--with the stamina to start over in a new and very different country. In Vienna, he had supported his predilection for avant-garde artists such as Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel, Klimt, Kokoschka, Kubin, Oskar Laske and Schiele by also exhibiting the decidedly more lucrative work of nineteenth-century painters like Anton Romako, August von Pettenkofen and Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller. In the United States, they were all equally unknown. The Galerie St. Etienne’s inaugural show of “Austrian Masters” was a disaster. In a special room, Kallir displayed a “picture of the month”: Van Gogh’s L’Arlésienne, today in the Sao Paulo Museum of Art. But no one would believe that this humble refugee, who at the time barely spoke English, could legitimately offer such a major piece, and the Van Gogh went unsold, as did a subsequent, equally monumental “picture of the month,” the famous self-portrait Yo, Picasso. To help make ends meet, Kallir started a subsidiary enterprise publishing photographic postcards of American landmarks, for he was convinced that there should be an alternative to the tacky dime-store images then prevalent in this country. Unfortunately, he had no conception of how to establish an effective distribution network in a nation as large as the United States, and the postcard business foundered, along with his attempt to continue his Austrian book and print publishing venture, the Johannes Presse.


Kallir was also initially disappointed in his desire to find compelling contemporary American artists, for by comparison with Europe, the aesthetic orientation here in the late 1930s seemed to him backward and derivative. However, like many modernist pioneers, Kallir had a keenly developed appreciation of self-taught and folk art. In Vienna, he had shown and collected votive paintings (originally brought to wider attention by Wassily Kandinsky in the Blaue Reiter almanac), and one of Kallir’s first excursions into his newly adopted land took him to New Mexico, where he filled his car with Santos and Native American crafts. Hearing of Kallir’s interest in folk art, a fellow emigré by the name of Louis J. Caldor brought him an array of amateur paintings that he had collected on his travels in upstate New York. Among this material was a small group of pictures by Anna Mary Robertson Moses, which Caldor had picked up at a drugstore in Hoosick Falls. Kallir opened the exhibition “What a Farmwife Painted” in the autumn of 1940, and by the end of the year, “Grandma” Moses had been discovered by the national press. It took some time before Moses was firmly ensconced in the public’s imagination, but once there she remained a popular celebrity (the first art-world personality to be perceived as such) until her death in 1961 at the age of 101. Throughout the 1940s and ‘50s, the Galerie St. Etienne was one of the foremost specialists in self-taught art, showing both nineteenth-century material and the work of such living painters as Morris Hirshfield, Abraham Levin and Israel Litwak. But Grandma Moses far outshone the others, and in a very real sense helped make it financially possible for Kallir to indulge his passion for Austrian Expressionism.


Of the Austrian artists whose work Kallir had brought to the United States (Expressionism, banned by Hitler as “degenerate,” could be freely exported), only Kokoschka had an international reputation. The Galerie St. Etienne mounted Schiele exhibitions in 1941 (his first in the United States) and 1948, and featured the artist in a number of group shows, but the work at first was sold mainly to refugee dealers: in one such bulk sale, twelve drawings went for less than $300, total. Klimt, whose posters are today a fixture in college dorms from coast to coast, did not even have his first American exhibition, at this gallery, until 1959. Here, as elsewhere, it was Kallir’s skill, not exactly as salesman but as proselytizer, that paved the way. To get Klimt and Schiele into American museums, he sold at bargain prices or, when need be, literally gave away their work to such institutions as the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Fogg Art Museum, the Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art and the National Gallery of Art. By 1957, he was able to mount his first truly successful Schiele exhibition, and in 1960, collaborating with Thomas M. Messer, he organized the first traveling museum showing of Schiele’s work in this country. In 1965, with Messer now at the Guggenheim, Kallir initiated a major Klimt/Schiele exhibition--to this day the largest assemblage of works by both artists ever seen in the United States.


Kallir lived to see the beginnings of the “Vienna 1900” boom in the 1970s: the publication of the first truly popular monographs on Klimt and Schiele by Alessandra Comini, and the first significant interdisciplinary study of the field, Wittgenstein’s Vienna, by Allan Janik and Stephen Toulmin. However, it was left to Kallir’s successors at the Galerie St. Etienne to carry the torch into the 1980s. In the last fifteen years, we have greatly expanded the practice of organizing museum-level exhibitions, both on our own premises and for outside institutions. The gallery has hosted landmark loan shows of Lovis Corinth, Richard Gerstl, Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Egon Schiele, the Wiener Werkstätte and many others. We are perhaps proudest of the exhibitions that we organized for the Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien in 1986, documenting Kallir’s activities; for the Österreichische Galerie in 1990, on the occasion of Schiele’s 100th birthday; and of the current Schiele traveling show, which just closed at the National Gallery of Art and may be seen at the Indianapolis Museum of Art through August 7, and at the San Diego Museum of Art from August 27 to October 30. Our commitment to self-taught art has also grown in recent years. In 1984, we added the estate of John Kane to our roster, and more recently we have organized broad surveys of so-called outsider art that included paintings by Europeans and Haitians as well as Americans. In the mid 1980s, we sent a John Kane retrospective to five museums, and in the past decade, we circulated three different Grandma Moses exhibitions to museums across the United States and in Japan. The gallery has also been responsible for an increasing number of scholarly publications, most notably the first comprehensive Schiele catalogue raisonné, published by Harry N. Abrams in 1990.


Although many of the Galerie St. Etienne’s most spectacular exhibition and publication projects are of fairly recent vintage, the fact is that the dealer’s educational role has been severely eroded since the 1940s and ‘50s. The financial stakes today are much higher, and there is accordingly much less incentive to cater to a broad-based public. The focus has become more narrowly commercial, with the emphasis on auctions and art fairs geared almost exclusively to active collectors. In part, this is an outgrowth of the general economic retrenchment characteristic of the 1990s, but we need to remind ourselves that such trends can become permanent. For those of us who value the educational mission of the public gallery, the present may well prove to be a watershed era. Now, more than ever, it is important to commemorate and appreciate the accomplishments and spirit of impresarios such as Otto Kallir.