History

The Michael Werner Kunsthandel was established by Michael Werner and Rolf Unkel in 2008. The Werner Gallery with its long tradition on the Gertrudenstrasse in Cologne will continue to function as the offices and exhibition space for the art dealer business.

Michael Werner opened the “Werner & Katz” Gallery together with Benjamin Katz on the Kurfürstendamm in 1963. The first exhibition showing works by Georg Baselitz was closed down and two of the paintings, “Die große Nacht im Eimer” (“The Big Night Down the Drain”) and “Nackter Mann” („Naked Man“, now in the Ludwig Museum in Cologne) were seized by the public prosecutor’s office for “offending public decency”. In 1968 Michael Werner moved to Cologne. Ever since, the gallery has represented both German and international post-war artists such as Georg Baselitz, Marcel Broodthaers, James Lee Byars, Jörg Immendorff, Per Kirkeby, Eugène Leroy, Markus Lüpertz. A.R.Penck, Sigmar Polke and Don Van Vliet. The gallery also places an emphasis on so-called “classical” modern art including Otto Freundlich, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Henri Michaux and Francis Picabia. The Michael Werner Gallery in New York’s Upper East Side opened in 1990 with an exhibition of Georg Baselitz’s “Hero” paintings.

In the last 4 years, the Michael Werner Kunsthandel has put on important solo shows of artwork by Sigmar Polke, Georg Baselitz, Per Kirkeby, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Markus Lüpertz, A.R.Penck and Wilhem Lehmbruck. 2011 saw the beginning of a close co-operation with the Ernst Wilhelm Nay Foundation. In 2012, a solo show was set up in collaboration with the American artist Jeff Cowen.

Based on our excellent German and international contacts, we are in a perfect position to provide competent advice and utmost discretion in dealing with art sales and purchases.