The reigning bad boy of art dealers, Koenig reps a slew of European artists and emerging talents.
The art business is in Koenig's blood: His father is renowned German art curator Kasper Koenig, and his uncle is art-book mega-publisher Walther Koenig. After moving to New York in 1997 to avoid mandatory military service in his native Germany, Koenig used his family connections to land internships with gallerists Paula Cooper and David Zwirner. A night of snorting vodka (yes, snorting) with Lithuanian artist Aidas Bareikis helped convince him to open a gallery of his own, which he did in Williamsburg in 1999 at the tender age of 25. He later decamped to Tribeca—a space that was once the studio of Civil War photographer Matthew Brady—and then Chinatown, before finally settling in Chelsea in 2005.
Koenig's gallery focuses on painting and sculpture, and reps relatively under-the-radar artists like Kelli Williams, Tom Sanford, and Marcin Maciejowski. But he's carved out a nice little business for himself (he bragged that sales topped the $10 million in 2005) and has also made a number of secondary-market deals, thanks in no small part to his family connections. A couple of years ago, he brokered a purchase by British collector Andy Hall of a work by Georg Baselitz. The $7 million dollar deal—of which Koenig took 10 percent, of course—reportedly helped foot the bill for his latest Chelsea space.
The 6'4" gallerist has been dubbed "the Paris Hilton of Germany" by one more than one snide art-world wag for his scion status and hard-partying ways. You'll find him rocking out in Williamsburg and Chelsea wearing his signature accessory—suspenders.
Koenig lives with his longtime girlfriend, artist Debora Warner, in an apartment over his old Chinatown gallery space. Do make sure you're nice to Warner if you see her out: Koenig was once arrested for punching a DJ who was mean to her at a Brooklyn club following an opening.