In 1988 Walter Bischoff opened his Stuttgart gallery, and soon after, another gallery in Berlin. In 1997, he converted the Knight’s Hall of an old castle in Zell, Germany, in the Black Forest into a Museum. Bischoff is proud to note that this museum was established exclusively with private funds. The Villa Haiss Museum boasts a collection of international art that represents some of Germany’s most fascinating contemporary artists: Beuys, Bazelitz, Penk, Richter. There are some big name American artists in the collection too: Warhol, Dine, and Mel Ramos, Cindy Sherman.
Walter Bischoff with a Valerie Koshlyakov sculpture in the barn-studio at his San Jose ranch.
Valerie Koshlyakov is part of the collection, of course, as he is one of Bischoff’s stable. Now an important artist of international stature, Koshlykov is one of Bischoff’s “discoveries.” In 1992, Bischoff took a group of his artists to show in Moscow in the Soviet environment, There, he met Koshlyakov who could not get art materials and was working on the sheets of cardboard that have become more or less his trademark. Bischoff became Koshlyahov’s patron, mentor and representative to the Western art world, and to this day maintains a watchful eye over his life. Bischoff is unique among gallerists in the supportive role he assumes towards his artists. He lives his life largely for the advancement of their careers. (more…)