The Original Neue Galerie
The history of the Kallir Research Institute dates back to 1923, when Otto Kallir (1894-1978) established the original Neue Galerie in Vienna (namesake of the New York museum for Austrian and German Art founded by Ronald Lauder in 2001). “Newness” was a hallmark of the modernist art movements that flourished in German-speaking Europe during the first decades of the 20th century. In 1909, Egon Schiele founded the Neukunstgruppe, a coalition of colleagues who exhibited together sporadically over the course of the next few years. Kallir opened the Neue Galerie with Schiele’s first major posthumous exhibition.
In 1938, Otto Kallir and his family were forced into exile by the Nazi Anschluss. His secretary, Vita Künstler, took over the Vienna gallery in a rare case of friendly “Aryanization.” After World War II, Künstler returned the gallery to Kallir, and it continued under various directors until 1956. Subsequently its premises on the Grünangergasse were taken over by the still-extant Galerie nächst St. Stephan.
The Galerie St. Etienne
Founded by Otto Kallir in Paris in 1939, the Galerie St. Etienne relocated to New York later that year, taking along the French name. (St. Etienne, St. Stephen in French, was a reference to Vienna’s landmark Stephansdom.) The gallery introduced the Austrian modernists—Richard Gerstl, Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, Alfred Kubin and Egon Schiele—to the United States at a time when they were completely unknown here. Co-Director Hildegard Bachert (1921-2019) saw to it that the gallery gave equal time to female artists such as Käthe Kollwitz and Paula Modersohn-Becker. Working in tandem with Bachert, Kallir’s granddaughter Jane Kallir (b. 1954) continued her family’s commitment to scholarship. She is the author of over twenty books, ranging from monographs on Gustav Klimt and Grandma Moses to the first comprehensive Schiele catalogue raisonné, Egon Schiele: The Complete Works. Jane Kallir has curated exhibitions for dozens of museums worldwide.
The Galerie St. Etienne closed its exhibition space in 2021 and became an art advisory. The gallery’s archives and library were donated to and are administered by the Kallir Research Institute.