Scheyer, Galka E. (1889–1945) By Wünsche, Isabel
Galka E. Scheyer was a German-American painter, art dealer, art collector, and art teacher. Born into a middle-class Jewish family in Braunschweig, Germany, Scheyer studied painting, sculpture, music, and languages in Munich, London, Paris, and Brussels. In 1916, she became acquainted with Alexei Jawlensky’s work at an exhibition in Switzerland. Inspired by Jawlensky (who gave her the nickname “Galka,” meaning blackbird), Scheyer abandoned her own artistic career to promote his art and between 1919 and 1924 organized a series of travel exhibitions, which she accompanied with lectures, press coverage, an artist’s monograph, and sales of art works. In 1924, at Scheyer’s initiative, the artists’ group The Blue Four (Lyonel Feininger, Alexei Jawlensky, Wassily Kandinsky, and Paul Klee) was founded. It was Scheyer’s plan to arrange exhibitions and offer their work for sale while on an extended stay in the United States. Following her arrival in New York in May 1924, Scheyer devoted herself to promoting the art of the Blue Four through exhibitions and lectures in New York and later on the West Coast. Between 1925 and 1929, she lived in San Francisco and was part of the modernist art scenes in the Bay Area.