Defining New Realism

I realized after I wrote my last post about the Galerie Sonia Zannettacci that not everyone knows what New Realism is.  The Gallery features New Realism as one of its main attractions, and it’s certainly a type of art that people should know about and be able to appreciate.

Called Nouveau Realisme, or New Realism, it’s a movement that was founded in October of 1960.  A number of artists, who actually signed their names on a declaration together, said that they were coming together for a new awareness of their “collective singularity.”  Their goal was to capture everyday reality without any idealism clouding the portrayal.  The original term Nouveau Realisme was coined by art critic Pierre Restany during an early exhibition he did in May of 1960.

The reason that it was seen as being “new” rather than as simply being realism is because it was connected to the new and growing urban consumer society.  Similar “new” forms of expression were taking place in fiction with the Nouveau Roman and in the New Wave in film.  It also focused on the presentation of an object that was chosen by the artist, rather than on the making of an image.

Artists who spearheaded this field included: Yves Klein, Arman, Francois Dufrêne, Raymond Hains, Pierre Restany, Daniel Spoerri, Jean Tinguely, Jacques de la Villeglé, César, Mimmo Rotella, Niki de Saint Phalle and Gerard Deschamps.

The art above is that of Martial Raysse, Soudain l’été dernier (Suddenly Last Summer), 1963.

Galerie Sonia Zannettacci on the To-Do List

Another gallery that I didn’t have the pleasure of seeing is the Galerie Sonia Zannettacci at 16, rue des Granges.  I realized after our trip in Switzerland that you simply can’t do everything the first time around. So, during a future trip, I certainly hope to be able to visit this lovely gallery that’s been open since December of 1980.

The gallery focuses on three main trends in European art. They fancy Surrealism, New Realism and Figuration Narrative.  They also enjoy featuring Photography as part of their central mission.

Some of the artists who are most strongly represented at Galerie Sonia Zannettacci are Horst Janssen, Piotr Kowalski, Olivier O. Olivier, Yvan Salomone and many others.  Right now they are featuring Kosta Alex.

I’ve been most taken with the New Realism movement and with artists such as Raymond Hains, Cesar, and Arman. Another thing to put on my to-do list for our next visit to Geneva!


The Galerie Rosa Turetsky

We didn’t get to the Galerie Rosa Turetsky while we were in Geneva last time – but I have it on my list for our next visit!  The Galerie began in the early eighties and is committed to helping young artists to confront matter, concept and use of space.

The space where the Galerie is today was opened in November of 2005 and they focus their energies on contemporary art.  I am particularly interested in seeing one artist who has been featured at the Galerie Rosa Turetsky – Roger Ackling.  Using wood found on beaches and in river banks, Ackling focuses heat on these wood pieces with a magnifying glass.  He creates intense sculptures with the natural energy of the sun, emphasizing inner energy and the natural surroundings.

Another artist whose work I’d love to catch at the Gallerie is Joan Hernandez Pijuan.  His paintings and printmaking are supposed to evoke the landscape and nature with the use of uniform neutral colors.  He draws interesting, modern waves, zigzags and diamonds that create simple but expressive impressions on viewers.

It’s always good to dream – and seeing these exceptional artists at the Galerie Rosa Turetsky is high up on my list of dreams!

Artwork by Joan Hernandez Pijuan.

A Feast for the Eyes…TACTILe Gallery

While we were in Geneva, we obviously couldn’t spend every second of the day looking at ancient art and antiques.  One place that was a must-enjoyed change of pace with the TACTILe Gallery.  They’ve been open in Geneva since 1998 and they specialize in contemporary jewelry from around Europe.

Now, I’m not a jewelry hog and I don’t spend much money on items of this sort, but it was so much fun to look through their extensive collection and to enjoy the creativity of their artists. They feature a huge range of contemporary art from: Iris Bodemer, Sophie Bouduban, Esther Brinkmann, Cathy Chotard and many others.

They are located at 8, place du Grand-Mézel and they are really a feast for the eyes…and for the pocketbook if you’ve got the cash to spend!

Picture is earrings from Annette Ehinger – boucles d’oreilles 2012 or 585, tourmaline rose, quartz enfumé

Antique Maps in Geneva

One thing that I became smitten with while we were in Geneva is old maps.  I’ve never been particularly into maps, but there was an amazing little shop in Geneva called the Village Antiques.  While we were there, I came across antique maps dating as far back as the 16th century.

One of the maps that they had, for instance, was a rare map of Henricus Hondius’ from around 1630.  It’s actually the only version of this map in which the Indian that’s standing on the right turns inward to face the Cheapeake.

Another map that they have is from their 17th Century collection and it is engraved by Peter Kaerius.

While I’m quite a historian and lover of antiques, maps are, quite honestly, something I’ve never thought too much about. It was fascinating to see how these antique maps can create insight into the time period in which they were made and into the people who interacted during that period.

Another eye-opening experience in Geneva!


Map: Copperplate engravings by Peter Kaerius (P.Van Den Keere, 1571-1646). Published in Amsterdam, around 1620

A Visit to the Jan Krugier Gallery

When I was last in New York I had the joy of visiting the Jan Krugier Gallery.  It was a major fixture in the community for decades and was located, most recently, on Madison Avenue.  I always enjoyed seeing the 19th and 20th century art and the original prints that they displayed and I loved when I’d get to see a museum-quality exhibition.

I was surprised to hear, in 2010, that the New York gallery would be closing and that everything would be centered, soon, at the Galerie Krugier & Cie in Geneva.

So, of course, it was an obvious choice while we were in Geneva to stop by and see the Geneva branch.  Tzila Krugier explained this transition and move as follows: “I have decided to center the Krugier company in Geneva where I live and where the family’s business has been conducted since 1962. Of course we will continue to be very active in New York and in the United States. Our clients here will continue to be very important to us, and our relationships with galleries and dealers, developed over the past 40 years, will be preserved and made even stronger. But I have decided that the most efficient and effective way to conduct our business is to consolidate all operations in Geneva.”

The Geneva gallery was as lovely as I remembered the New York one being.  It features many of the stunning originals that made the Jan Krugier Gallery so well known.  They explained at the gallery that Ms. Krugier is planning, at this point, to devote a good deal of time to develop the Jan Krugier Foundation which will be established in honor of her father.  The Foundation will be organizing exhibitions of the family’s incredible private collection of paintings, drawings and prints and will have them at various museums throughout the world. Now that will be something worth following!

For now, I soaked in the Picassos and greatly enjoyed the Klee that was on display. I’m hoping to catch more of their work as they start up with their Foundation.  What a treat!

Enjoying Flemish Paintings

I don’t have much time today, but wanted to recount a lovely experience we had at the De Jonckheere Gallery.  I had visited their gallery in Paris and was excited to see the new one they just opened in Geneva.  They’re located at 7 rue de l’Hôtel de Ville and specializes in the study and sale of 15th, 16th and 17th century Flemish paintings.

The new gallery is as beautiful as the one in Paris, right in the heart of the old town in Geneva.  When I visited the Parisian gallery I was struck by their detailed knowledge of paintings of this era and by their extensive catalogue of painting offerings.

Now, I was similarly impressed with the De Jonckheere Gallery.  They are incredibly knowledgeable about Flemish painting and it was a pleasure to look through the gallery and hear from their staff about their extensive selection and offerings.  Quite a good day!


A Detour to Gallerie Interart

While we were eating breakfast in our hotel one morning in Geneva, we struck up a conversation with the guests at the next table.  They were raving about their visit to the Gallerie Interart in the Old Town. While it wasn’t on my original agenda, we decided to check out this Gallery after hearing such great things.

And we definitely weren’t disappointed. Established in Geneva’s Old Town in 1992, Interart shows works of art by modern and impressionist masters.  I was immediately wooed by their impressive list in their permanent exhibition.  It includes Impressionnists and Post-Impressionnists like Monet and Pissarro, artists of the major Modern Art movements like Braque, Derain, and Gleizes and artists of the Surrealist Movement like Ernst, Dali and Brauner.

In addition, on display at the time was a collection called Selection 1950-1970 which featured major figures and movements from the post-war art period.  They showed fifteen works that can mostly from private collections. The main focus was on Vieira da Silva, de Staël and Poliakoff,  They also had a major work by Dubuffet and one by Sam Francis.

We were definitely not disappointed by our breakfast neighbor’s recommendation and were happy to be sidetracked for a few hours with their suggestion!

Picture taken from

The Gallery Grand Rue and the Gallery Patrick Gutknecht

One of the most fascinating days that we had incorporated the Gallery Grand Rue and the Gallery Patrick Gutknecht.  The Gallery Grand Rue is a gallery that specializes in the work of art on paper, with emphasis on the 18th and 19th centuries.  They are open at quite tricky hours, so it’s very important to check ahead before setting out.  The Gallery, now owned by Marie-Laure Rondeau, has quite an eclectic mix of items from Swiss art to hiking books.

Their most recent exhibition was of Neapolitan Gouache which included a brilliant and vibrant selection from a large range of artists.

From the Gallery Grand Reu, we made our way to the Gallery Patrick Gutknecht. I had heard that Patrick had the most unusual collection of decorative canes and I was looking forward to seeing the display.  I was not disappointed.  The Gallery Patrick Gutknecht has one of the largest and most comprehensive selections of decorative canes from the 17th century to the 1930s. They also have a vast selection of other antiques from the 20th century, making for a refreshing and unusual exploration.

While still in the art district of Geneva, this Gallery is a refreshing change from the regular offerings in a traditional art gallery.

Gagosian Gallery – Featuring Richard Serra

One morning in Geneva, we gave ourselves plenty of time to enjoy the Gagosian Gallery, one of the more well known locations on the European art market row.  I had been to the Beverly Hills and Madison Avenue locations, so I was looking forward to seeing what the Geneva Gallery had in store.

On display in their stunning studio were drawings by Richard Serra. Unfortunately, they were a bit disappointing.  While I happen to truly enjoy his sculptures and to value him as the famous sculpter that he is, I didn’t quite understand why they were focusing on his mundane drawings instead.  They featured a number of drawings from his Greenpoint series, namely Dreiser and Artaud, both of which take up expansive canvases but offer very little in creativity or energy.

Other works in the exhibit were Stratum 12 and Tracks #47 that were supposed to show the play of light and darkness and to give the viewer a sense of mass and volume.  I think I’ll have to wait until he has a sculpture exhibit to truly appreciate his genius.

(This drawing is by Richard Serra; Tracks #47, 2008; Paintstick on handmade paper; 40 x 40 inches (101.6 x 101.6 cm))