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Eberhard W. Kornfeld
Birth Date: 
Birth Place: 
Basle, Switzerland
Swiss print dealer and collector Eberhard W. Kornfeld is also the author and publisher of artist catalogues raisonnés, artists’ books and other works about art. Born in Basle in 1923, Kornfeld first studied to be an architect and then worked for the art dealer August Klipstein (1885-1951) in Bern. Klipstein’s gallery traced its origins to the Stuttgart gallery of H. G. Gutekunst (1832-1914), founded in 1864. After Klipstein’s death in 1951, Kornfeld took control of the firm. Galerie Kornfeld mounts exhibitions, holds auctions and is an active dealer specializing in prints and drawings, particularly those of 17th century Dutch, 19th century French and 20th century artists. Kornfeld actively promoted modern artists such as Marc Chagall (18887-1985), Sam Francis (1923-1994), Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966), and Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). No doubt his friendship with Francis led Kornfeld to publish Walasse Ting’s ground-breaking 1964 book of illustrated poems 1¢ Life, edited by Francis, which contained sixty-two color lithographs by twenty-eight American and European artists, all responding to Ting’s poetry. The book is notable for including works by Abstract Expressionists, Pop Artists and former members of the CoBrA group. Kornfeld was the author of catalogues raisonnés of Chagall’s prints and Paul Klee’s (1879-1940) prints and watercolors, and a catalog of works by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938) in the Kirchner Museum, Davos (which Kornfeld helped to establish). With others he wrote catalogues raisonnés of Paul Gauguin’s (1848-1903) prints and the graphic works of Paul Signac (1863-1935). Kornfeld’s firm has published catalogs raisonnés of the prints of Max Beckmann (1884-1950), Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945) and Kirchner. Kornfeld’s honors include an honorary doctorate from the University of Bern (1982), the Great Federal Cross of Merit from the Federal Republic of Germany (1984) and a Knight of the French Order of Arts and Letters (1991). In 2009 the Albertina Museum in Vienna mounted an exhibition of his private collection in honor of his 85th birthday. (TNB 5//2014)