Design & Decoration S04 ep7 : Karsten Greve, Greve Gallery, [Cologne]

Interview with Karsten Greve

Karsten Greve, born in 1946, studied law and art history in Cologne, Lausanne and Geneva. He started his career as an art dealer and publisher in 1969. Since 1970, together with Rolf Möllenhof, he operated the Möllenhof/Greve gallery. He opened the first of his own galleries at the beginning of 1973 with a debut showing of a solo exhibition by Yves Klein in the gallery building at Lindenstraße, Cologne. His intimate face-to-face contact with foremost artists, such as Cy Twombly, Jannis Kounellis, John Chamberlain, Louise Bourgeois and others, provided the basis for his program’s quality, which is defined by international avant-garde after 1945. Apart from Twombly, Kounellis, Chamberlain and Bourgeois, this includes artists like Joseph Cornell, Jean Dubuffet, Willem de Kooning, Pablo Picasso, Louis Soutter and WOLS. During his 40 successful years as an international art dealer, Karsten Greve significantly contributed to the worldwide recognition of artists like Louise Bourgeois, John Chamberlain, Lucio Fontana, Gotthard Graubner, Jannis Kounellis, Piero Manzoni and Cy Twombly. In addition to this, the gallery also represents "young artists" for many years, like Norbert Prangenberg, Paco Knöller, Peter Schmersal, Leiko Ikemura, Loic Le Groumellec and Carole Seborovski, as well as the photographers Sally Mann, Adam Fuss and Lynn Davis.


My ideas, now since forty-two years, to look after the spirit of things and also creating here a
specific idea about artist, their works and the interactions between the artists.07:12

Great artist and great actress, they need your support. I always say to very good collection this
artist; they understood that I was interested in their work. Maybe less in their personality, artist
they need critical friends.07:43


From the beginning when I bought it, I never had an idea what kind of resale price would be
possible, what kind of profit. It's just this adventure to find something wonderful and then to
find somebody else who might have also the vision and the surprise to understand it. 08:14

Paintings in theroom by Louis Francois, sculptures and paintings by Shakiro, but also by Monte
ran, we have a few on one wall, painting by Louis Coring from 1920 and next we have
Twombly works from 1985. To see how the art is developing from one generation to the next
and all great artist they love to see and they were always interested, I guess as a artist especially
other generations.08:59

Henry Dunay Jewellery

I remember when, having seeing Daikon looking on Alaska’s. I met a lot of tourist artist like Sy
Twombly or artist Joseph in nature museum shows and having their comment and their feeling
and their secret looking ways. 09:34

I bought in 1964, this cute my first family and then I saw his first paintings and I was totally
shocked what I discovered and for me he was always a sensational good artist. He had two very
two close friends in his life, not more.10:04

I'm advising younger collectors not to have personal connection with artist. They should start
their collection just looking and being surprised and reflecting in a critical way, then after a
while, maybe it's nice to meet the artist, but if you meet the artist and you say," oh this is a very
sympatric one and this is a nice one and this is a unpleasant one, your decision will be
transformed, as in the wrong directions.10:51

Henry Dunay Jewellery

If you have a show at Tate Modern ok, you might have two hundred, three hundred, four
hundred thousand visitors. If you would have you paintings in London,at the Court auldInstitute
ok, there are far less visitors but maybe have some more sophisticated visitors. The question is
what is nature also changing? 11:26

It's true in our commercial days, if you are too drastically critical as an artist, they will not like
it and they will punish you in one or the other way.If you get up and you say,"Oh I can sell
everything, let's get everything, I say do your own job. You have to keep your own integrity and
you have to advice the artist in the long run and not on a short run. 12:08

Cologne was one of the first cultures, contemporary art centers in the world and this stopped in
89. London is seeing this British young artist movement and this change of England as a
financial sector. There's a lot of fast money, and fast money is like fast food, that is you spend it
easily. New York is still the biggest market, but now we see also the, something growing
between Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tepee, the question is what we will be seeing the next ten years.

Henry Dunay Jewellery

When I started the gallery,I was thinking, oh, is this artist or this artist, is this good? No, is it
good in twenty years? Will it remain good in fifty years? Or a hundred or two hundred years?
Lot of dealers today, they are not feeling the sponsors, being now forty-two years in the
business,talking about two or three generation and any import invention, needs two or three
generation to go through other works .13:50

Henry Dunay Jewellery

I had to six paints couple times, if you show one specific painting to one specific museum
director, or to the acquisition committee of major museum and you see they are looking blind
through the piece and the price let's say, was ten,if you show the same painting ten years later,
the same people, the same group and you see they are,open eyes, open mind and they are so
happy to see it and they might tell you, "oh,if you have something like this you should call us."
and they are happy to pay ten times or a hundred times. Sometimes you’re doing shows, it's too
early, and they’re not getting it. 14:59

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Karsten Greve, Greve Gallery, Cologne