Dr. Georg and Josi Guggenheim Foundation
Georg Guggenheim, born 1897 in Zürich, and Josephine (called Josi) born 1905 in Marburg in Germany, represented the type of art collectors who combined a keen sense of quality with an innate capacity for giving a tangible expression to their creative impulses. Georg’s father, Hermann Guggenheim, originated from the very same Swiss village from where the American Guggenheims, a stirps of the family, had emigrated to the USA in the middle of the 19th century. He was a respected attorney and President of the Zurich Jewish Community (ICZ) from 1899 to 1908. While the other son, Paul, pursued an academic career as a professor of law in Geneva and Justice on the International Court in The Hague, his brother Georg followed in the footsteps of his father as an attorney with a successful practice but with a marked inclination for the graphic arts. He had originally even been tempted to become an architect or a painter himself.
It was a fortunate coincidence that during a winter holiday in Arosa he met Josephine Strauss, the offspring of a prominent family of private bankers in Marburg and Frankfurt who where devoted to the arts and owned a fine collection of works, mainly by German expressionists. The marriage of Josi and Georg was the beginning of a lifelong endeavour to jointly discover works of art, collect them, acquaint themselves personally with the artists, be in constant touch with the leading art dealers and gallery owners all over the world and share their passion with as a large a number of connoisseurs as possible. Having foregone the wish for children under the imminent threat of Nazism, they decided that after their death one part of their collection should be shared between the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and two museums of their home country, Switzerland, and the other part be auctioned for the benefit of the Dr Georg and Josi Guggenheim Foundation, one of the principal objectives of which is to further art.