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Jean-François Jaeger: Key Gallery Owner of Post-War Paris

On December 26, Jean-François Jaeger, a purebred gallery owner, died in Marminiac (Lot). Galerie Jeanne Bucher Jaeger has reported this, which four days later reported the disappearance, the very morning he was buried, of Muriel, his wife. Both, victims of Covid.

Jeanne Bucher (1872-1946) was one of the best Parisian gallery owners of her time. Installed first on rue du Cherche-Midi, and then on Boulevard Montparnasse, it exhibited Arp, Baumeister, Campigli, De Chirico, Domela, Ernst, Fontana, Freundlich, Giacometti, Hayter, Kandinsky, Laurens, Léger, Lipchitz, Lurçat, Mondrian , Picabia, Picasso, Anton Prinner, Reichel, Tanguy or Torres-García. He also edited absolutely extraordinary bibliophile books, highlighting 'Il était une petite pie', by Miró, or 'La septième face du dé', by Georges Hugnet.

Directed from 1947 by the Strasbourg Jaeger, great-nephew of the founder, and former combatant of Free France, the gallery ended up moving, in 1960, to a large space, hidden at the end of a courtyard, rue de Seine. He exhibited lyrical abstracts such as Bazaine, Bissière, Debré, Fred Deux, Manessier or Nicolas de Staël; and to sculptors like Dodeigne, Hajdu or Stahly. His star-artist was Dubuffet; I still remember the impact that the show 'Sculptures monumentées' had on me in 1968. He also took great care of the unforgettable Vieira da Silva and Arpad Szenes, inherited from his aunt, as was otherwise Staël, another pillar. For our Fermín Aguayo he fought the unspeakable, with two other conspirators, José Uriel and Jean-Louis Arnaud. He also taught the Americans Tobey and Louise Nevelson; the Canadian Riopelle; the Danish Asger Jorn; the Polish Magdalena Abakanowicz; the Irishman Le Brocquy; to the Argentines Roux and Seguí, to the Brazilian Arthur Luis Piza … Today the gallery is run by his sons, with another Rive Droite room, and another … in Lisbon, adds contemporary names to its classics.

Among the writers and critics who collaborated on his catalogs, always cared for typographically: Butor, René Char, Claude Esteban, Charles Estienne, Foucault, Jean-Clarence Lambert, Gilbert Lascault, Lassaigne, Jean Lescure, Mandiargues, Annette Michelson, Bernard Noël, Michel Peppiatt, Gaëtan Picon, Pleynet, Michel Ragon, Tzara, Dora Vallier, Guy Weelen, Zervos … Together they draw an anthology of the word about art, in a certain abolished Paris. Jaeger, an immovable figure of the same, used to have lunch in forceful bistros in the neighborhood, places of a lifetime, such as Au Chaix de l'Abbaye or the disappeared Les Charpentiers, places, streets through which one walks as if on automatic pilot. He was not an easy person, but he had emotional moments: I remember him taking a Torres toy from its box. On the history of this legendary room, the catalogs of two major exhibitions should be consulted, the one from 1994 at the Strasbourg Museum, and centered on the time of the founder, and the one from 2017 at the wonderful Musée Granet in Aix, covering the entire trajectory .

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