Gunther Sachs, for the love of art

up:date March 4, 2021 by Jans Bock-Schroeder

In 1963 Peter Bock-Schroeder photographed Gunther Sachs in his Paris apartment. A home story for the German magazine, Quick. The Photos from the series show the young enthusiastic, curious and adventurous Sachs, open to life. It is Gunther Sachs at the starting line for a great adventure.

Gunther Sachs
Gunther Sachs 1963 © Bock-Schroeder Foundation

Pioneering art collector with passion and skill

Take part in the moments of delight, in the silent admiration for the charming playboy Gunther Sachs, the educated collector and patron of the arts and the subtle cosmopolitan. The pictures in this photo-essay give an exclusive insight into the life of the art icon.

Gunther Sachs with -Bust of a woman- by Pablo Picasso
Gunther Sachs with "Bust of a woman" by Pablo Picasso

Life of an art icon

His extensive collection included works by Picasso, Jean Fautrier, Andy Warhol, René Magritte, Salvador Dalí, Roy Lichtenstein, Tom Wesselmann, Mel Ramos, and Allen Jones. He also owned important pieces from the Nouveau réalisme school including Yves Klein, Jean Tinguely, Arman, and Martial Raysse.

Gunther Sachs
Gunther Sachs 1963 © Bock-Schroeder Foundation

In the apartment of Gunther Sachs in the Avenue Foch in Paris in 1963, a painting of the probably most famous artist of the 20th century decorated the walls.

Gunther Sachs looking at Picasso's Bust of a Woman
Picasso and Sachs by Peter Bock-Schroeder

Gunther Sachs with Bust of a woman, oil on canvas, 61 x 50 cm, by Pablo Picasso. According to the Catalogue Raisonné, the work was painted in winter 1960 in Vauvenarges.

Gunther Sachs
Picasso and Sachs by Peter Bock-Schroeder

It is certainly rare that an expensive painting by a famous painter like Picasso is shown in such a natural environment, in this case in the home of the young, and aspiring art collector Gunther Sachs.

Gunther Sachs
Picasso and Sachs by Peter Bock-Schroeder

Gunter Sachs, heir to the German Opel car fortune, had exquisite taste and feeling for art. He had the necessary means to acquire the great masters, but also supported young new artists like the then still unknown Andy Warhol

Gunther Sachs
Picasso and Sachs by Peter Bock-Schroeder

During this time, some unforgettable Parties took place in Avenue Foch, also in the presence of Soraya Esfandiary, the former wife of the Shah of Iran, with whom Sachs was rumored to have an affair. According to Bock-Schroeder there were no security personnel at these events. The Picasso on the wall witnessed everything and survived unharmed.

Gunther Sachs
Picasso and Sachs by Peter Bock-Schroeder

Gunter Sachs was an art collector, patron, gallery owner, curator, friend of art and artists. Since the 1950s he began to furnish his luxurious Parisian apartment with works of art. His philosophy was to buy paintings for his own home, and to focus on the highest quality available.

Gunther Sachs
Picasso and Sachs by Peter Bock-Schroeder

He embodied the gentleman playboy like few, but he was more than that. His life was a work of art. He developed his passion for collecting modern art at a time when only a very limited minority in Germany was interested in it.

Gunther Sachs
Picasso and Sachs by Peter Bock-Schroeder

Picasso's Buste de femme was sold by Christie's in London on June 30, 99 as, lot: 523, for £474,500 to an anonymous collector.


He had a great sense of creativity for life, combined with a joy of life and the gift of living it. Gunther Sachs was a playboy, businessman, gallerist, museum director, art collector, film-maker, celebrity, photographer, astrologer, director and sportsman.

Gunther Sachs
Gunther Sachs 1963 © Bock-Schroeder Foundation

He led a life with art, which was reflected in his commitment as a gallery owner, museum director and patron. In 1972, Sachs became an enthusiastic Pop Art collector and established a gallery in Hamburg.

Gunther Sachs
Gunther Sachs 1963 © Bock-Schroeder Foundation

For over half a century, Gunter Sachs was not only one of the most dazzling, but also one of the most misjudged public figures. As much as his extroverted lifestyle stamped him as a playboy, the person behind this public image was profound and cultivated.

The fact is that Sachs was actually much more a lover of the fine arts than of beautiful women. Aperfectionist, a a patron, a a collector, a lateral thinker between his collection and his own work.

A fascinating personality, of course also thanks to his financial means, an experimenter of the first order who creates revolutionary things

Gunther Sachs
Gunther Sachs 1963 © Bock-Schroeder Foundation

He led a life others only dreamed of. It included both coolness and creativity, he was a much-admired man and surrounded himself with beautiful women, art and celebrities.

In 1991 he collaborated with Claudia Schiffer for a period of six weeks on a celebrated artistic series of the Heroines. The project had its world premiere at the Kunsthalle in Bremen. Many international shows followed.

Gunter Sachs, a knight and romantic, managed to give Claudia's beauty additional facets; he made her shine with all nuances of feminine power and love magic.

Gunther Sachs
Gunther Sachs 1963 © Bock-Schroeder Foundation

Nevertheless, he also helped friends and acquaintances personally and financially. He became involved with people he had never met personally and cultivated his career as a "lover of the fine arts".

Gunther Sachs and Peter Bock-Schroeder
Gunther Sachs + Peter Bock-Schroeder, Autoportrait, 1963

Bock-Schroeder and Sachs got along well. The planned 2-day visit turned into 3 weeks. The results are personal pictures of a young Gunther Sachs at the dawn of his life as an international celebrity.

Gunther Sachs' introduction to photography

During the Photo Sessions Sachs asked Bock-Schroeder to teach him photography. As a farewell gift, Bock-Schroeder gave Sachs one of his Leica cameras as a present, and enabled the young Sachs to enter the world of photography. The photos of Gunther Sachs in this story are unique.


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