Galerie Gmurzynska

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Galerie Gmurzynska
Galerie Gmurzynska in Paradeplatz, Zurich..tif
Formation 1965 in Cologne, Germany
Founder Antonina Gmurzynska
Purpose Art Gallery
Headquarters Zürich, Switzerland
Owners Krystyna Gmurzynska
Mathias Rastorfer

Galerie Gmurzynska is an art gallery in based in Zurich, Switzerland that specializes in modern and contemporary art and work by the Russian avant-garde. It has additional branches in Zug and St. Moritz.


The gallery was founded in 1965 in Cologne, Germany by Antonina Gmurzynska. It held an exhibition of Japanese art in its first year. The following year, the gallery presented the work of David Burliuk. Until 1971, the gallery's program focused on the Russian avant-garde. Gallery founder Antonina Gmurzynska reportedly developed contacts with the artists' families, and snuck artwork that was banned by the Soviet regime out of Russia.[1]

The gallery buys and sells mostly works by modern and contemporary artists. Occasionally it sells pieces at art fairs by better-known artists such as Pablo Picasso, Kurt Schwitters, Fernand Leger, Lyonel Feininger, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Sylvester Stallone and Fernando Botero. The gallery works with the estates of Yves Klein, Wifredo Lam, Louise Nevelson, Karl Lagerfeld and Robert Indiana among others.

Galerie Gmurzynska made its name as a supplier of avant-garde Russian art to Western collectors.[2] From December 1979 to March 1980, the Galerie exhibited Künstlerinnen der russischen Avantgarde/Women Artists of the Russian Avante-Garde 1910-1930, the first exhibition in the West to concentrate on the work of female Russian avant-garde artists.[3] The exhibition included the work of Liubov Popova and Varvara Stepanova.[4]

Krystyna Gmurzynska took over the Cologne gallery with her business partner Mathias Rastorfer following her mother Antonina's death in 1986.[5]

In 2005, the gallery relocated from Cologne to Switzerland and opened a gallery on Zürich's Paradeplatz. The gallery arranged with the building's owner to restore the facade, built in 1880, to its original style with large windows. The windows are glazed with armoured glass.[6] The gallery publishes books and catalogues for its exhibitions.[7]

In 2010, the gallery held an exhibition entitled "Zaha Hadid and Suprematism", which was designed and curated by Hadid and Patrik Schumacher. The installation was designed to be viewed through the gallery's window on Paradeplatz.[8]

The gallery was the first to exhibit collages created by American architect Richard Meier in Europe.[9] Meier had mentioned in conversation to Isabelle Bscher, daughter to gallery owner Krystyna Gmurzynska, that he made collages, and Isabelle, Krystyna and Mathias Rastorfer visited Meier in his New York City apartment where the art was stored.[9] In 2013, the trio hosted shows of Meier's work in Zurich and Zug.[9] In October 2014, a show entitled "Richard Meier: Collages" opened at the State Russian Museum.

At the 2014 Art Basel in Miami Beach, to celebrate their 50th anniversary, the gallery's booth was designed by film director Baz Luhrmann, costume designer Catherine Martin and music producer Nellee Hooper. The exhibition was titled "A Kid Could Do That!".[10]


In 1993 the gallery's present owners were involved in the removal of a major collection of documents, drawings and paintings by Russian Futurist artists estimated at around £100M belonging to Nikolai Khardzhiev and his wife Lidia Chaga. The gallery arranged the packing and removal of the couple's possessions to Amsterdam. Half of the archive of documents was seized by Russian customs officials at Moscow airport.[1][11]

In 2007 New York dealer Asher B. Edelman loaned a work by American painter Robert Ryman to Galerie Gmurznyska for exhibition. Edelman claimed the work was later returned damaged.[12] In 2009, a U.S. district court judge awarded Edelman a default judgment of $765,000.[12] Later that year, four of the Galerie's paintings were seized and held for two days until the Galerie paid the judgment.[13]

In 2013, the gallery came under investigation by the Swiss Federal Customs Administration regarding VAT on imported artworks worth 85M Swiss France supplied to the Dolder Grand Hotel, owned by Urs Schwarzenbach.[14][15][16]


  1. ^ a b Norman, Geraldine. "A tragic flight to freedom". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  2. ^ John E. Bowlt; Szymon Bojko. Von der Fläche zum Raum: Russland 1916-24/ From Surface to Space: Russia 1916-24. 
  3. ^ Alexandra Exter. Amazons of the avant-garde. 
  4. ^ Lambert, Tiffany. "The mother and daughter behind Galerie Gmurzynska". Artsy Inc (US). Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  5. ^ "In blauer Fülle" (in German). Zeit Online. Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  6. ^ "Eröffnung der Galerie Gmurzynska am Paradeplatz: Russische Avantgarde in Zürich". Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Retrieved 2015-09-21. 
  7. ^ "Galerie Gmurzynska Publications on artnet". Retrieved 2015-09-21. 
  8. ^ Heathcote, Edwin (2010-06-29). "Zaha Hadid and Suprematism, Galerie Gmurzynska, Zurich". Financial Times. ISSN 0307-1766. Retrieved 2015-09-21. 
  9. ^ a b c "Richard Meier On Collages, Picasso, and, Well, Sex". Artnet News. 30 October 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  10. ^ Duran, Jose D. "Baz Luhrmann dazzles at Basel while local gallery snubs us". Miami New Times. Retrieved 30 September 2015. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b "Seized the Day". 2010-02-04. Retrieved 2015-06-02. 
  13. ^ Pollock, Lindsay (2009-12-03). "U.S. Marshals Seize Degas, Miro Works at Miami Fair (Update1)". Retrieved 2015-06-02. 
  14. ^ "Hotel Dolder Grand and Galerie Gmurzynska raided - In The Local News - ZURICH4YOU.CH - THE NEW ENGLISH WEBSITE FOR EXPATS IN ZURICH". ZURICH4YOU.CH. Retrieved 2015-06-02. 
  15. ^ "Galerie Gmurzynska blitzt vor Bundesgericht ab - News Zürich: Region". Retrieved 2015-06-02. 
  16. ^

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