The Basel-based Galerie Knoell will see parts of its business assumed by Hauser & Wirth from January next year. The mega-gallery will take over the lease of Knoell’s space at Luftgässlein 4, in the city centre, and hire its founder, Carlo Knoell, as a senior director.
Knoell, the son of the esteemed Basel-based framer Thomas Knoell, began his gallery in 2011. It focuses mainly on the secondary market dealing of 20th-century art, and handles work from a number of estates of artists from Switzerland and nearby countries, including those of Méret Oppenheim and Verena Loewensberg. Hauser & Wirth represents the estates of several artists whose work is sold or exhibited by Knoell, including Max Bill, Sophie Taeuber-Arp and Georges Vantongerloo.
With its main space now under the Hauser & Wirth umbrella, Galerie Knoell AG will cease its exhibitions and fairs activity, but “will continue to manage its own inventory and the estates and collections entrusted to it”, Knoell says. It will retain its second space in Basel, in Erasmus House at Bäumleingasse 18.
Knoell will lead Hauser & Wirth’s new Basel gallery, with its “exhibition and business activities” under his direction, he says. A spokesperson for Hauser & Wirth says it has not acquired Galerie Knoell. Nor is Hauser & Wirth taking over representation of artists or estates that Carlo Knoell works with at Galerie Knoell, the spokesperson says.
“Carlo brings fresh perspectives to our secondary market activity—an essential part of our gallery’s activity for over 30 years,” says James Koch, a partner and executive director at Hauser & Wirth.
“The relationship between Hauser & Wirth and our gallery has grown steadily over recent years,” Knoell says, adding that his personal dialogue with Hauser & Wirth’s president and co-founder Iwan Wirth “has consistently brought to light that we not only share the same passion for art, but also our entrepreneurial spirit. For me, joining Hauser & Wirth therefore represents a natural progression of our cooperation.”
The move allows for Hauser & Wirth to strengthen not only its existing secondary market presence, but also its ties to Basel. While the gallery maintains six locations across Switzerland (four in Zürich, and one each in Gstaad and St Moritz), and has long participated in Art Basel, this will be its first permanent location in the city. Until now, the only mega-gallery to maintain a permanent presence in Basel has been Gagosian, which opened a space there in 2019.