The Mother and Daughter Behind Galerie Gmurzynska

Tiffany Lambert
Nov 14, 2013 6:18PM

For Krystyna Gmurzynska and daughter Isabelle Bscher, dealing art runs in their DNA. Gmurzynska’s own mother, Antonina, left her homeland Poland in the early 1960s for Cologne where she opened the gallery that Gmurzynska and Bscher now run, Galerie Gmurzynska. When the gallery first opened, it specialized in Russian avant-garde (with artists like Alexander Rodchenko), but over the years has added a cache of masters like Donald Judd, James Turrell, and Yves Klein—representing the estate of the latter. Now based in Switzerland with a flagship gallery in Zürich, they have clients all over Europe, America, and Asia. “The art world is becoming a much more global marketplace with the amount of easily accessible knowledge that sites such as Artsy are providing,” Bscher recently said.

Their third time exhibiting at The Salon Art + Design, this year Galerie Gmurzynska will showcase a specially curated selection of works by Colombian figurative artist Fernando Botero. “Botero has made a series of fantastic erotic drawings under the title ‘BoteroSutra’,” said Gmurzynska. “They have never been shown before.” A surrounding exhibition of nudes from 1908 to today will include Picasso, Miró, and new works from Scott Campbell.

Gmurzynska and Bscher’s own maternal history in the arts complements their sustained passion to support women in the field. “Women artists of the Russian avant-garde were as autonomous as the male artists,” said Gmurzynksa, who in 1979 put together the first exhibition and accompanying publication on the subject. “Women were always important to me and that is continually reflected in exhibitions we have created in the past to now. For instance when I curated a show of Piet Mondrian and De Stijl I also included works of Louise Loeber. Over the years we have shown a number of great female artists who are very close to my heart, such as Judith Rothschild and Louise Nevelson.”

With proud ties to their past, they’re also decidedly paving paths in new directions. “Someone like Richard Meier who is one of the most recognized architects in the world has been making extremely strong art works for 50 years,” said Bscher. The gallery represents Meier—who will also design their booth for the upcoming Art Basel in Miami Beach fair—along with other superstars like Karl Lagerfeld. “Working with great artists is a real privilege. I can’t imagine doing something else.”

Tiffany Lambert