Suzanne Tarasiève, a veteran Parisian gallery owner known for her championship of avant-garde artists and distinctive style, died of cancer this week. She was 73.
“Suzanne passed away peacefully this morning, surrounded by her family, loved ones and the works of the artists she accompanied throughout her life,” Galerie Suzanne Tarasieve posted on its Facebook page on December 27. “Her joie de vivre, her fantasy, her inexhaustible energy and her contagious love for art will be missed by all.”
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The daughter of a radio electrician father and a seamstress mother, Tarasiève grew up in the central French region of Berry. Her parents weren’t interested in art, but three booklets about Edvard Munch, Hieronymus Bosch and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Tarasiève read at the age of 11 in school were enough to spark a lifelong passion.
Tarasiève opened her first shop in the French village of Barbizon in 1978 to “sell the avant-garde“, including contemporary painters Jean-Pierre Pincemin and Christian Bonnefoi. She left in 2003 for Paris after being encouraged by French collector Marcel Brient. She set up the contemporary art gallery and artists’ living space Loft19 in 2008 before settling in the Paris neighborhood of Marais in 2011.
A frequent traveler who was known for her distinctive outfits, fur coats, and “incomparable banter”, Tarasiève also worked hard to please her clients, including allowing young collectors to pay in installments if necessary.
In October, Tarasiève’s gallery displayed the series “Case History” (1997-98) by Boris Mikhailov, the Ukrainian photographer. The exhibit featured dozens of images Mikhailov took during the first years of independence in the country.
“We chose the sweetest photos for the current exhibition, but there are also some pretty horrible images,” she told Vanity Fair France. “Ugliness can be beautiful; this conviction is part of the human commitment that I put into everything I do.”
Following news of Tarasiève’s passing, French culture minister Rima Abdul Malak published a tribute to the gallery owner on Instagram.