Art Basel kicks off next week and one of the most important faces on the scene is Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim of HG Contemporary. The Daily will be hosting a dinner with the renowned gallery owner at The Faena to kick off the fair, but first we thought we’d dig a little deeper with the name to know in the art world right now.
Tell us about your background!
Born in France, raised in Germany. I grew up traveling many parts of the world, mostly due to my parents and having family spread out. My mother was with the embassy of Senegal for many years and my father did landscape architecture all over Southern Europe. I grew up in Bonn, which was the German capital and gave great exposure to culture and diversity. Later I went to a business college in Cambridge and then moved to New York about 15 years ago. I Love New York City with everything it has to offer.
You have a background in finance. How did it prepare you for the art world?
I did financial controlling as a senior analyst for about 30 hotels at Hyatt and it was a very good experience that helped me understand numbers and the importance of synergies. Synergies between various people, roles and departments. I believe synergies are very relevant in the art world as well. The actual artwork is a beautiful story reflecting the artist input on his or her upbringing, cultural environment, impacts, and the collector that sees it. They are all synergistic.. Then of course the art world and running a gallery demand a financial understanding that help create a platform where artists can blossom.
What is your relation to Solomon Guggenheim?
It’s distant. The Guggenheim family is originally Swiss and in the mid 1800s immigrated to America and France. I’m from the French side whereas Solomon made a significant name for himself and his family in America many years ago. My mother’s family name is Guggenheim and she came from a family of industrialists.
How often are you asked about your last name?
How long have you been coming to Basel and why is it important for you to be there?
For years now. Basel Miami is quite different from the Basel fair where it originated from yet it is just as important. The Who is who In the art world is here to collect and mingle. It’s very dynamic and you have to be there at least for a couple of days if not longer.
What pieces are you bringing this year?
A very important sculptor and painter Zurab Tsereteli. Tsereteli’s large scale sculptures are very well known and have become monumental in cities all around the world. He also holds the position as president of the Russian academy of arts. We are going to show his sculptures smaller in size but just as impressive around the theme of a “Garden of Eden” of animals. I’m very much looking forward.
What is unique about your gallery?
We have done shows other galleries may have not taken on as they may have been perceived as not commercially viable enough. However, we are in it for the long term. We very much strive to create advantageous positions for artists and our patrons and collectors alike. When working for the artists essentially you work for his viability and career which creates value. That’s always our goal. Then we have very special projects that get us as a gallery attention such as the mural above the renown Empire restaurant in Chelsea NY recently painted by Brazilian painter Kobra. But this is us as the gallery creating opportunities for artists that we can align with.
What’s your personal art collection like?
Very synergetic to the shows we exhibit. It reflects my belief and support of the artists I represent or work with. That is not to say that i don’t buy what i like. It has expanded over the years.
What is your favorite thing to do in Miami during Art Basel?
Walking the fairs and enjoying curated events just like the event and collaboration between Daily Front row and HG Contemporary at Faena. It’s a great opportunity to meet great and interesting people. I’m glad Courtney Daniels made the connection.
What do you have lined up for next year?
2018 has been exciting with Madrid opening and spaces in Napa Valley and Williamsburg. 2019 will be just as exciting with another space opening hopefully and more amazing shows that cement our position in the art world as one of the striving galleries. I’ll let myself be surprised, but the best is coming.