“Zurich 1 – Galleries around the Kunsthaus” is a new association of galleries in Zurich’s Kreis 1. David Chipperfield’s extension and the relocation of several art spaces to the immediate surroundings of the Kunsthaus Zurich reaffirm the cultural importance of this district.
A New Art Cluster Around Rämistrasse
A joint appearance of the Kreis 1 galleries strengthens the identity of the new art cluster and at the same time Zurich as an art destination. Thanks to the initiative of several gallery owners, "Zurich 1" was launched in autumn 2022 - a community of galleries in Zurich's Kreis 1 around the new Kunsthaus, all within walking distance. The newly founded association invites visitors to discover the lively gallery district. A gallery map and a website provide information about current exhibitions. In addition, joint opening weekends are planned.
Over 100 Years of Art Dealing in Kreis 1: A Retrospect
At the beginning of the 20th century, Kreis 1 was the hub of cultural life in Zurich. The very first art institutions in the Limmatstadt were established in this district. In the 1910s, for example, the first galleries that offered modern art for sale and also engaged in international trade, set foot in Zurich. In 1910 the Kunsthaus was opened, which to this day holds one of the largest art collections in Switzerland. Karl Moser's building on Heimplatz underwent several extensions over the years. In February 1916, in the middle of the First World War, the Cabaret Voltaire was founded on Spiegelgasse. The Dadaists heralded a radical questioning of social and artistic ideas. The creative humus of Kreis 1 was also contributed to by various meeting places for creative artists, such as the Café Odeon (opened in 1911), the Restaurant Kronenhalle (taken over by Hulda and Gottlieb Zumsteg in 1924) and the Café Select (1935).
Even during the Second World War, many cultural workers from nearby countries found refuge in Zurich. In 1950, the "Städtische Kunstkammer" was opened in the Haus zum Strauhof. This was followed in the late 1950s by the opening of several art galleries in the centre of Zurich, which were also dedicated to contemporary art. Founded in 1959, the Ziegler Gallery is one of the pioneers of the scene. Also active to this day is the Annemarie Verna Gallery, whose origins also lie in Kreis 1. Not far away, the Charles Lienhard Gallery was domiciled. Galerie Gimpel & Hannover, run by Anne Rotzler, was active from 1962 to 1984, while art historian Bruno Bischofberger first opened his doors on Pelikanstrasse in 1963. The early pioneers brought contemporary international art to Switzerland for the first time. In 1970, the Paris-based Galerie Maeght became the first foreign gallery to open in Zurich.
A New Gallery Scene
At the beginning of the 1990s, various cultural institutions as well as artists' studios were located in the Schoeller-Areal in the industrial quarter of the city. The opening of the nearby Löwenbräu in 1996, which marked an important career step for many galleries still active today, played an important role in establishing the new gallery scene. Eva Presenhuber, for example, began working there as a gallerist.
Like Peter Kilchmann, who opened his gallery at the Schoeller Areal in 1992 and later also moved to the Löwenbräu, Eva Presenhuber decided to move back to Kreis 1 in the wake of the imminent opening of the Kunsthaus extension. Victor Gisler was an early believer in a location in the centre of the Limmatstadt; his gallery Mai 36 has resided on Rämistrasse since 1996. Among the first galleries to make the move from the industrial quarter to the city centre was Lange + Pult. In the course of the Kunsthaus expansion, Maria Bernheim also settled on Rämistrasse. As a newcomer, Fabian Lang had already moved to Kreis 1 with his newly founded gallery in 2019; not far from there, Galerie Rumbler opened in 2021. Tobias Mueller Modern Art and Galerie Bernhard have established themselves on Waldmannstrasse. Like the latter, Sommer Salon Zurich is not located on the ground floor, but on an upper floor. In spring 2021, Larkin Erdmann also moved into the rooms on the upper floor of the former Jecklin building on Heimplatz. The latest addition to this quarter will be in autumn 2022, when Galerie Tschudi from Zuoz opens its second location in Zurich.