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Galerie Karsten Greve AG

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Karsten Greve, born in 1946, studied in Cologne, Lausanne and Geneva. He started his career as an art dealer and publisher in 1969. He opened the first of his own galleries at the beginning of 1973, his debut being a solo exhibition by Yves Klein in the gallery building at Lindenstraße, Cologne.

Today, Galerie Karsten Greve is located in the heart of Cologne, close to the Diocesan Museum Kolumba, the MAK and the Cologne cathedral. Karsten Greve opened his other galleries in Paris in 1989 and in St. Moritz in 1999. His intimate face-to-face contact with foremost artists, such as Cy Twombly, Louise Bourgeois, Jannis Kounellis, John Chamberlain and others, provided the base for the quality of his program, which is defined by international avant-garde after 1945. Apart from that, it has come to include artists like Joseph Cornell, Jean Dubuffet, Willem de Kooning, Pablo Picasso, Louis Soutter, Lucio Fontana, and Piero Manzoni.

Insights From The Exhibitor

Karsten Greve began building his own art collection as a student, acquiring his first painting by Cy Twombly in 1966. By the age of 23, he had bought works by Cy Twombly, Joseph Beuys, Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein, Willem De Kooning, Joseph Cornell, and Jannis Kounellis.

Karsten Greve founded his first own gallery in 1972 in its original Cologne Lindenstraße 20 Galeriehaus location, and became the sole proprietor of Galerie Karsten Greve in 1973. The gallery’s inaugural exhibition presented 6 large scale works by Yves Klein from his Anthropometry series.

During his career of more than 50 years as an international art dealer, Karsten Greve significantly contributed to the worldwide recognition of artists such as Louise Bourgeois – as the first to exhibit her in Europe - John Chamberlain, Lucio Fontana, Jannis Kounellis, Piero Manzoni and Cy Twombly, of which up to two thirds of the works in todays market were sold by him initially. His intimate friendships with these artists provided the basis for the gallery’s program. Karsten Greve earned a reputation for his carefully curated presentations at art fairs and museum quality exhibitions and has been lauded for his ability to recognize the relevance of artist’s work long before their rise to international stardom.

Karsten Greve was also among the first to set up an exhibition space in the Marais in Paris during the late 1980s and was also the first to open a gallery in St. Moritz, which unlike other galleries in the Engadine, hosts exhibitions throughout most of the year.

Galerie Karsten Greve self-publishes catalogue editions to accompany exhibitions as well as monographs and catalogue raisonnés. Greve holds the Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana (Cavaliere Ufficiale), which he received in December 1998.

From its onset, the focus of the gallery’s program was not so much on the more mainstream protagonists in the art world but rather focused on more singular positions of the international avant-garde. This included American-born Cy Twombly - who later emigrated to Italy - or Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, Alberto Burri as well as Greek-Italian artist Jannis Kounellis, with Arte Povera becoming a central pillar of the gallery’s program. Regarding the artist selection process, Greve has stated that like every good dealer, he also had the continual ambition to discover exceptional talent, driven by a persistent fear of suffocating in normality, making him particularly interested in the more maverick-type artists: „I am interested in apparent inconsistent positions of art, whose common denominator recovers incidents and extension, (…)“.

After its founding in 1973, the gallery moved into the former space of Aenne Abels at Wallrafplatz 3 in 1980, staging an inaugural exhibition titled Cy Twombly – Jannis Kounellis – Hans Brosch – Piero Manzoni – Lucio Fontana.

In 1989 Galerie Karsten Greve opened its Rue Debelleyme exhibition space in the Marais district of Paris, in close proximity to the Musée Picasso. Since then the area has become a popular location for galleries and has undergone extensive redevelopments. The gallery space, situated in a 17th century palais, built around a Cour d'honneur, consists of a large main gallery and another, smaller, three-storey exhibition space. Architect Yannis Tsiomis was responsible for remodeling the entire interior of the property. Its inaugural exhibition – including a catalogue publication – featured works by Josef Albers, Carl Andre, Jean Fautrier, Lucio Fontana, Jannis Kounellis, Willem de Kooning, Sol LeWitt, Piero Manzoni, Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso and Cy Twombly among others.

In 1992 the Cologne gallery expanded its exhibition space to what used to be Rudolf Zwirner’s Albertusstrasse 18 gallery, designed by architect Erich Schneider-Wessling. The space was inaugurated with a Dan Flavin show. Karsten Greve was led by the ambition to further promote Cologne as an international art market location and the fact that the exhibition space provided an ideal setting to showcase large-scale works and especially sculptures by artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Lucio Fontana or John Chamberlain.

In 1994, Karsten Greve opened a third gallery space in the Via Santo Spirito in Milan in the historical city centre near Via Montenapoleone dedicating the first show to Cy Twombly. Among the artists exhibited were Piero Manzoni, Lucio Fontana, Alberto Burri, Nicola de Maria, Osvaldo Licini, Francesco Lo Savio, and Mario Nigro. The space closed in 2002. In 1999, Karsten Greve opened his fourth gallery space at Via Maistra 4 in St. Moritz, Switzerland - Galerie Karsten Greve AG - as one of the first in the region. The former Posthaus Hotel in which the gallery is located, was redesigned by British architect Norman Foster. Its inaugural exhibition was showing works by Josef Albers, Joseph Cornell, Barry Flanagan, Wols, Karl Prantl, Lucio Fontana, Bill Traylor, Louise Bourgeois, Cy Twombly et al.

Galerie Karsten Greve Cologne moved to its main location, Drususgasse 1 - 5, in 2000. The lower floors of the 1950s landmark building, located in the centre of Cologne, were remodeled by French architect Yannis Tsiomis. Its inaugural exhibition - opening September 30, 2000 - was titled Künstler der Galerie. While the Albertusstrasse location is no longer an exhibition space, the gallery still uses its Wallrafplatz space to stage exhibitions.


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Galerie Karsten Greve Köln
May 20–Aug 28, 2021
Galerie Karsten Greve Paris
Apr 10–Aug 21, 2021
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Galerie Karsten Greve AG St. Moritz
Apr 3–Jun 19, 2021
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Galerie Karsten Greve Köln
Mar 5–May 15, 2021
Photographs (1928 - 1935)
Galerie Karsten Greve Paris
Feb 27–Jul 31, 2021
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Galerie Karsten Greve Paris
Jan 21–Mar 20, 2021
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Galerie Karsten Greve AG St. Moritz
Dec 29–Apr 3, 2021
Galerie Karsten Greve Köln
Nov 18–Feb 27, 2021
Galerie Karsten Greve Paris
Nov 13–Feb 20, 2021
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Lucio Fontana
Galerie Karsten Greve Paris
Sep 5–Nov 7, 2020
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Ding Yi
Galerie Karsten Greve Cologne
Sep 4–Nov 7, 2020
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Qiu Shihua
Visible... Invisible
Galerie Karsten Greve Paris
Aug 28–Oct 9, 2021
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Sally Mann
Galerie Karsten Greve Paris
Aug 28–Oct 30, 2021
Georgia Russell
Galerie Karsten Greve Köln
Sep 3–Oct 30, 2021
Young-Jae Lee
Galerie Karsten Greve AG St. Moritz
Sep 10–Oct 30, 2021


  • Josef Albers
  • Eugène Atget
  • Roger Ballen
  • Ilse Bing
  • Pierrette Bloch
  • Louise Bourgeois
  • Brassaï
  • James Brown
  • Thomas Brummet
  • Alexander Calder
  • Lawrence Carroll
  • John Chamberlain
  • Lovis Corinth
  • Joseph Cornell
  • Lynn Davis
  • Willem De Kooning
  • Ding Yi
  • Yuri Dojc
  • Jean Dubuffet
  • Lucio Fontana
  • Gotthard Graubner
  • Loïc Le Groumellec
  • Leiko Ikemura
  • Raúl Illarramendi
  • Mimmo Jodice
  • Paco Knöller
  • Yiorgos Kordakis
  • Jannis Kounellis
  • Lucia Laguna
  • Catherine Lee
  • Young-Jae Lee
  • Herbert List
  • David Malin
  • Sally Mann
  • Piero Manzoni
  • Fausto Melotti
  • Henri Michaux
  • Giorgio Morandi
  • Claire Morgan
  • Manish Nai
  • Mario Nigro
  • Robert Polidori
  • Norbert Prangenberg
  • Qiu Shihua
  • Gideon Rubin
  • Georgia Russell
  • Joel Shapiro
  • Shen Fan
  • David Smith
  • Pierre Soulages
  • Louis Soutter
  • Cy Twombly
  • Luise Unger
  • Sergio Vega
  • Wols
  • Zhou Tiehai