The Globaltrotter in Heels

By |Published On: August 23rd, 2016|

Marion Wild is one of our Modern Iconic Moms with a global mind, adventurous heart and a life on purpose. Today she lives with her family in Zurich, runs a contemporary art gallery and enjoys from time to time her short escape in serenity of the Swiss mountains. We tried to catch her during one of her normal working days at the gallery and talk about family, living with intention and motherhood.

Idea Tsitaliya Mircheva
Styling Kathy Patellis-Schmidt
Photography Ruth Hofmann 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been fascinated by female art collectors, bohemians, and socialites. Therefore, whenever I get the chance I really like to ask them about their lives. So when a friend introduced me to another friend of hers who runs a contemporary art gallery in Zurich, I was in complete awe of such an opportunity and was so excited to sit down with her and chat. Upon first meeting her, Marion looks like she belongs in a fairy painting influenced by Shakespeare’s fantasy themes. She looks so innocent but discerning and spirited, a remarkable blend of both fragility and strength. Her beauty is quiet, but deep and intelligent.

I try to imagine her typical day bouncing between the ordinary family household as mum and wife to the abstract visually striking art scene.

When I ask her about her typical day Marion is not quite idyllic about it. She says that the gallery she runs is small and this means that she, as a gallerist, is responsible for a wide spectrum of tasks. Her responsibilities include things such as choosing the represented artists, writing press releases, organizing events, curating, hanging art pieces (which does involve using a hammer and nails), installing new shows, and following up with clients and prospects who are interested in artwork they’ve seen in the gallery. No task goes left undone by Marion. “There is no typical day really, they are all wonderfully unpredictable!”, adds Marion.

She tells me that no one in her family has ever been into art. She wanted to become a tailor, then designer and of course she also dreamt of studying in Florence. “I learned sketching and drawing, but I thought I am not good enough to make a living out of it.” This is how Marion decided to try artistry. She was fascinated with textile restoration. Marion studies in Paris for a year and then moved to NY because of her boyfriend (and now husband), who is Swiss, just like her but had been working in NY for many years as a music composer.

After two years of long-distance relationship, Marion decided to quit her job at Gallery Beyeler (Foundation Beyeler today) in Basel, move out of her apartment, and move her life to NYC. Enter the tragedy of September 11th, 2001. That would have to make anyone’s move to a new country a bit more raw, emotional, and unsettling.

When I ask her about her impressions and experience in NY, she says that she was surprised at the beginning at how easy it was to meet new people in NY and even be invited to parties and dinners. It helped that her husband had an extensive circle of friends already established. However, she felt she could not get beyond a certain point in the communication with her new acquaintances. It could have been her English, but it could have been the cultural references as well or maybe a bit of both. In NY Marion felt that she will always be European: “I just love to have long indulging dinners with friends and wine where we can laugh and philosophize over life, simply enjoying the time. In NY the people we met were often going out on double and triple dates sometimes. They would meet us for dinner and after that would plan a movie and then maybe meet another couple for cocktails. I just felt uncomfortable in such situations.” Long term, the city taught me to be more clear and specific about my career and raised a “business mind”.

Thanks to her friend and colleague Claudia from Gallery Beyeler, Marion started a job in NY as the assistant of William Rubin, the curator and director of Painting and Sculpture Department at MoMa (1968-1988). Rubin started writing a book about his professional memoirs and had her involved into this endeavor. “While I was in NY I learned to be a lot more determined and focused. In Switzerland we are not taught to fight, to use elbows and survive in a competitive environment.”

Two years after her son was born, Marion and her husband decided to move back to Zurich. “We often discussed returning to Europe, but at the end it was my husband’s idea to move back. He had spent 30 years in the States, I was there only 8, but the city has changed and a lot of our friend moved. We missed being in Europe, traveling and spending time with close friends and relatives. It also didn’t feel right for our son to grow up there… The school system was different and we didn’t want to send him to private school. The children there had a really different and quite high lifestyle”.

I went on to ask her a series of questions just tipping the iceberg of my fascination with such an iconic woman. Stay tuned for the excerpt from our interview later this week.

Marion is wearing:

Skirt and blouse by Libertine BIG nur Zurich

Burgundy ankle boots Navy Boot

Clutch Navy Boot

Roberto Cavalli Dress available at Globus Zurich

Pink Sand jewellery

Black Coat MM6 Modissa


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