Hauser & Wirth was founded in 1992 in Zurich by Iwan Wirth, Manuela Wirth and Ursula Hauser, who were joined in 2000 by Partner and President Marc Payot. A family business with a global outlook, Hauser & Wirth has expanded over the past 29 years to include outposts in Hong Kong, London, New York, Los Angeles, Somerset, Gstaad, St. Moritz, Southampton (NY), and Menorca. The gallery represents over 80 artists and estates who have been instrumental in shaping its identity over the past quarter century, and who are the inspiration for Hauser & Wirth’s diverse range of activities that engage with art, education, conservation and sustainability.
Hauser & Wirth has built a reputation for its dedication to artists and support of visionary artistic projects worldwide. In addition to presenting a dynamic schedule of exhibitions, the gallery collaborates with renowned curators to present museum quality surveys and invests considerable resources in new scholarship and research. Since its earliest days, the gallery has mounted historically significant exhibitions. The inaugural exhibition in 1992 took place at Hauser & Wirth’s first gallery, located in the first-floor apartment of an Art Deco villa in the heart of Zurich; it united mobiles and gouaches by Alexander Calder with sculptures and paintings by Joan Miró. Since then, the gallery has continued to forge an academically rigorous, ambitious program of historic exhibitions, providing a natural home for a number of major 20th-century European and American artist estates, and encouraging a continued and engaging discourse around their oeuvres. These include Louise Bourgeois, The Estate of Philip Guston, The Eva Hesse Estate, Allan Kaprow Estate, Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts, The Estate of Jason Rhoades, Dieter Roth Estate and The Estate of David Smith.
Hauser & Wirth is widely admired for a sympathetic approach to restoring historic buildings and giving them a new lease of life as contemporary art spaces that invigorate surrounding communities. From the conversion of its first permanent venue in the former Löwenbräu brewery building that became Hauser & Wirth Zürich in 1996, the gallery has developed and sensitively restored existing structures that respond to their environments, connecting international art with local culture through architecture. In 2003, an Edward Lutyens-designed former bank on Piccadilly became Hauser & Wirth’s first London gallery, while a decade later, in 2013, the legendary Roxy discotheque and skating rink became the gallery’s second New York space. In recent years, the gallery has renovated Durslade Farm, a collection of dilapidated farm buildings in rural Somerset, into world-class art center Hauser & Wirth Somerset, as well as redeveloping a 100,000 sq. ft. former flour mill, the Globe Mills complex, in downtown Los Angeles in 2016. In 2018, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles was awarded Los Angeles Conservancy’s highest honor, the Chair’s Award, which recognizes the importance of preserving the historic places that make Los Angeles unique. In 2020, Hauser & Wirth opened its first purpose-built gallery space at 542 West 22nd Street in New York’s West Chelsea art district. In July 2021, the gallery will open a 1,500 sq.m. art center on Menorca after a two-year conservation project, sensitively repurposing existing historic buildings on the island with architect Luis Laplace.
As a publisher specializing in books on modern and contemporary art, Hauser & Wirth has published over 120 titles in its quarter-century history of exhibitions, projects and research. Hauser & Wirth’s publishing activity, brought together under Hauser & Wirth Publishers, consists of monographs, artists’ books, historic exhibition catalogues, collections of artists’ writings and catalogues raisonnés. Hauser & Wirth Publishers works with academics and curators to bring current, leading research to its readers.
A commitment to education underpins the Hauser & Wirth exhibition roster. Every show is accompanied by a series of lectures, interactive seminars, innovative workshops, and special events developed for a range of ages and target audiences. These programs are intended to inspire creativity and foster a passion for contemporary art, nature and architecture within all areas of the community. In Somerset, the gallery has created strong links with local schools, universities and charities, and also provides courses for adults and special interest groups. Hauser & Wirth Somerset welcomes around 100 school groups every year. Events include an annual summer school for young people in collaboration with Bristol Old Vic Theatre, seasonal workshops for adults, such as basket weaving, and Open Farm Sunday, a yearly initiative that opens Durslade Farm to visitors, as well as the annual Pumpkin Festival in celebration of the harvest. This public engagement is mirrored in Los Angeles where the learning program aims to instigate a dialogue between the works on view and the city’s diverse audiences.
Food comprises a pivotal element of the experience of Hauser & Wirth’s galleries. Bringing together Iwan and Manuela Wirth’s passion for art with their enthusiasm for hospitality, gastronomy and community, the galleries sit alongside a series of bars and restaurants conceived as social gathering spaces. Roth Bar & Grill in Somerset and Manuela restaurant in Los Angeles provide informal and convivial atmospheres where honest, seasonal and locally-sourced food is served. Roth Bar & Grill works closely with local farmers, gamekeepers and gardeners, to use entirely local and ethical British produce. Similarly, at Manuela, an urban kitchen garden provides the restaurant with herbs, fruits and vegetables as well as a chicken house and run for the restaurant’s 11 rare-breed chickens.
Also onsite at Hauser & Wirth Somerset is Durslade Farmhouse, a six-bedroom guesthouse within a Grade II-listed farm building, full of character and bold twists that celebrate the natural antiquity of the building. More recently, the Wirths opened The Fife Arms in Braemar, Scotland, an imposing Arts & Crafts hotel that underwent extensive restoration to return the building to its former glory. With their deep-rooted investment in community, history, wildlife and landscape, each of the Wirths’ ventures is embedded in the unique heritage and traditions of its local culture.