The Swiss independent curator, art dealer and collector Christian Schneeberger died in mid-May after fighting a rare form of cancer; he was 50 years old and during the last years of his life had been focusing on building a collection of vernacular photography. Born in north-eastern Switzerland, where in recent years he had lived in a village in the vicinity of St Gallen, in the 1990s Schneeberger operated the Snow Gallery in that regional, commercial-cultural centre.

As a dealer, Schneeberger showed a range of artworks and became known, in part, for his interest in and knowledge of art brut and outsider art forms, including the work of the Swiss outsider Hans Krüsi (1920-1995), which he championed. In addition to showing Krüsi’s paintings and mixed-media works and helping to call attention to their significance not only within the context of Swiss art history but also as part of the broader, international story of outsider art, Schneeberger became the artist’s close friend and his care-taker at the end of his life.

After closing his gallery, Schneeberger amassed high-quality holdings in such specialised fields as antique cameras, classic-movie posters and vernacular photography, a still-evolving field in which his interests were diverse. Schneeberger co-founded Timecaps, a stock-photography company that made vernacular-photo images available to advertising agencies, publishers and other clients. He also worked as a collaborator of New York’s Andrew Edlin Gallery at the Outsider Art Fair in New York and at numerous other international art fairs.

“Christian played a vital role in the relationship between the European and American sides of the outsider art market,” Edlin recalled. “He was well-informed and shared his knowledge enthusiastically. His easy smile, hearty laugh and generous spirit touched all who were lucky enough to cross his path.” Schneeberger is survived by his wife, Claudia, and their daugher, Lucy.

 

by Edward M Gómez

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