Hauser & Wirth Somerset has announced ‘Unconscious Landscape – Works from the Ursula Hauser Collection’, an exhibition focused entirely on female artists. Over the course of four decades Ursula Hauser has assembled a deeply personal collection of works that brings together a remarkable overview of late 20th century modern masters in dialogue with contemporary artists. This is the first time the collection will be shown in a major presentation outside of Switzerland and marks the occasion of Ursula Hauser’s 80th birthday. The exhibition, which is co-curated by Ursula Hauser’s daughter Manuela Wirth, spans all five galleries in Somerset, presenting 70 works by female artists and artists’ estates including Louise Bourgeois, Maria Lassnig, Alina Szapocznikow, Lee Lozano, Eva Hesse, Sylvia Sleigh, Carol Rama, Heidi Bucher, Meret Oppenheim, Sheila Hicks and Sonia Gomes.
Ursula Hauser has always been drawn to work by visionary female artists and this impulse has shaped her collection. She has built long-standing relationships with many of the artists whose work she acquires, from her close friendship with Louise Bourgeois, through to her restoring the home of Sylvia Sleigh. The collection is intrinsically linked to her own personal trajectory and often she has unconsciously sought out female artists that she feels an affinity with, compiling in-depth bodies of work that span their careers.
Ursula Hauser founded Hauser & Wirth gallery in 1992 with Iwan Wirth and her daughter Manuela, but now focuses primarily on her collection, regularly lending works to museums and public institutions. ‘Unconscious Landscape – Works from the Ursula Hauser Collection’ follows a series of Hauser & Wirth exhibitions that celebrate some of the world’s most outstanding art collections, offering unique insights into the visionary individuals behind them. Previous exhibitions have included the Lauffs Collection, the Onnasch Collection, the Goetz Collection, and the Perlstein Collection. This non-selling exhibition includes many works of art historical significance including Meret Oppenheim’s ‘Fur Gloves with Wooden Fingers’ (1936), Eva Hesse’s ‘H + H’ (1965) and Louise Bourgeois’ ‘Spider’ (1996).
Manuela Wirth comments:
‘I’m thrilled to be celebrating my mother’s visionary approach to collecting by bringing works by these remarkable female artists to Somerset, where I live. The works on show are interwoven with my mother’s own life story, and it is my honour to have the opportunity to tell a little of that story through this exhibition of her extraordinary collection.’
Ursula Hauser grew up in St. Gallen, Switzerland, where she co-founded and directed a family retail business. She began collecting art forty years ago, acquiring modern masters and developing an interest in contemporary art that burgeoned into a true passion. Ursula Hauser’s support of local Swiss artists has continued uninterrupted across the decades as her engagement with other artists from around the world has increased. She is celebrated as a major patron of the arts and the visionary behind an exemplary collection of modern and contemporary art in dialogue.
In 1992, together with her son-in-law Iwan Wirth and her daughter Manuela, she founded the gallery Hauser & Wirth. Today, Ursula Hauser focuses primarily upon her collection, with its special emphasis on female artists. She is an active lender to exhibitions worldwide and is a committed cultural philanthropist. Her active engagement with artists and her collecting of their work in depth, has helped make her collection a unique resource for scholars and arts professionals.
In recent years, works from the collection have been included in exhibitions at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Germany, and in the MDD, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens in Deurle, Belgium, among many others. In 2012 an important exhibition of works from the collection by eight leading female artists was held in a former locomotive depot in St. Gallen called the Lokremise.
Hauser & Wirth Somerset
25 May – 8 September 2019
Opening: Friday 24 May 2019, 6 – 8 pm