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Werner Jerke, photo Andrzej Świetlik

photo Andrzej Świetlik

WERNER JERKE — 

Art collector and founder of the Jerke Museum, a Polish art museum in Recklinghausen, Germany.

Born in 1957, in Wielowieś, near Gliwice, he obtained his master’s degree in geography from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. He moved to Germany in 1981 and studied medicine in Bonn. Since 1996, he runs his own ophthalmology practice in Herten, near Recklinghausen. He also completed a post-graduate art market programme at the Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Academy in Kraków.

He’s a collector of Polish contemporary art and a propagator of Polish culture in Germany. The Jerke Museum in Recklinghausen (in the Ruhr-Area), which he established in 2016, boasts about the collection of works by some of the greatest artists of the 20th and 21st century. Pieces from his collection are presented on exhibitions all around the world, including the works of Alina Szapocznikow which featured on the artist’s retrospective exhibition at the MoMA in New York, as well as in Brussels, Los Angeles and Columbus, Ohio. In addition, the exhibition of Katarzyna Kobro and Władysław Strzemiński, which was held in Centre Pompidou in Paris, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid and Kunstmuseum Den Haag (former Gemeentemuseum Den Haag), did also include both artists’ pieces from Jerke’s collection.

Over eighty artworks from Werner Jerke’s collection were presented in Atlas Sztuki, Łódź (2015). While the abstract pieces were showcased in Düsseldorf in the spring of 2014. For many years, Werner Jerke has sponsored several meetings of Polish artists focusing on geometry (e.g. in Radziejowice and earlier in the Centre of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko).

The latest project of Werner Jerke had its premiere at Zachęta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw (November, 2019). He has written the script and directed The Power of Art, a film that shows his subjective point of view on Gruppa, one of the most important Polish artistic formations of the 1980s.