Isabelle Bscher, an art historian with a master’s degree from Sotheby’s, is the third generation to run Galerie Gmurzynska, taking over from her...

Woman-owned art world powerhouse

Isabelle Bscher, an art historian with a master's degree from Sotheby's, is the third generation to run Galerie Gmurzynska, taking over from her mother and her grandmother, who founded it in 1965. The family built it into an art world powerhouse, representing the likes of Picasso, Donald Judd, Robert Indiana and James Turrell, as well as architects Zaha Hadid and Richard Meier, actor Sylvester Stallone, and designer Karl Lagerfeld. Isabelle recently had a booth at TEFAF in NYC and shows regularly at Art Basel. She will take her gallery there from December 7th to 10th. Bscher is planning something special for Art Basel Miami, but it's too early to reveal specifics. "We always try to surprise people, to do something different, something interesting."


Christo will join Isabelle when she brings his work to her gallery's booth during Art Expo Chicago in September. Christo famously wrapped Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art in 1969. "It's a city that from very early on in his career has been very important to him," said Bscher who will display three of Christo's works from that period, and host a dinner in his honor at Untitled Supper Club. "I'm told they make the best cocktails," she says.


The Swiss gallery will also show rare pieces by Joan Miró and Fernand Léger. This is a stellar roster by any measure, but these blue chip artists were also selected because they each have a strong connection to the Windy City, explained gallery owner Isabelle Bscher. Miró had to struggle to find the funding to erect his now-iconic sculpture "Miró's Chicago" in the Loop back in 1981. Today, the piece, affectionately called "Miss Chicago" by locals, is a major tourist attraction. "It's very beloved by the people, and we're bringing the maquette back here for that piece," says Bscher, adding that her model is one of the few in private hands, as most related Miró works are in major museums.


A 1931 Léger piece that Bscher will show at the art fair is significant because that year marked the artist's first-ever trip to America, including a visit to Chicago. "People in Chicago, collectors, and the museums were very visionary from very early on supporting artists," says Bscher. "Both these artists have very close ties to the city."

A sensory experience

Antonio Monfreda, who has created major exhibitions for Valentino and Fendi, and was creative consultant for the Metropolitan Museum's AngloMania exhibit, designed Galerie Gmurzynska's Chicago booth. "He thinks looking at art is something very intimate, so he wanted to create something that involves all senses," says Bscher. He created curtains using special fabrics, with custom scents from Santa Maria Novella for a fully sensory experience with the master works.

Future exhibitions

Upcoming at the gallery's four locations in Switzerland are major exhibits on Alexander Rodchenko and Roberto Matta, and one on photographer Wayne Maser.

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