The tall, French/German born New York Art Gallery owner not only wears a black Dries Van Noten suit to perfection (his signature), he leads one of the most talked about art galleries in the capital of the world right now: his sixteen-month-old Hoerle-Guggenheim Gallery in the heart of the Chelsea High Line right there at the nexus where 23rd Street meets 11th Avenue. With that ancestry-famous art world last name – Guggenheim and that angular Franco-Teutonic frame the New York City hoi polloi is in full swoon over this dude.
‘The Guggenheim family is originally a Swiss family,’’ he tells me. There were four of them and two of the brothers went to America where they made their fortune in the mining business. The two other brothers went to France. My mother’s tree and hence mine, extends from the French Guggenheims.’’
That opening night at 527 West 23rd Street was the night when he also had a vintage fire engine red Aston Martin on a red carpet outside the gallery. And after getting to know Philippe rather well — he does indeed have a serious fetish for vintage Aston Martin motor cars. ‘’Aston Martin is a 102 year old classic British heritage business, and in all that time, they’ve manufactured only 75,000 cars.’’ In other words this is the world’s finest example of an exemplary production line honed to absolute perfection.
‘’My favorite one is the Aston Martin DB6. I developed a love for that car at a very early age. As a kid I was a huge fan of James Bond movies, and for me the Aston Martin DB6 is the most beautiful car there is. It is a work of art."
The HG Contemporary is getting buzz for its staple of hot talked-about talent such as RETNA— the hottest artist in the world right now, and who in fact created the album cover for Justin Bieber’s latest hit album. Then of course the aforementioned Massimo Agostinelli whose anagram-infused celebrity pop images completely sold out that night.
‘’Art must challenge the senses,’’ Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim explains. And by so doing, his imprimatur seems to be to gather a stable of artists whose work have one thread in common – wordplay. Whether it’s through the anagrams of Massimo Agostinelli or the use of the very own calligraphy language that signify the work of RETNA or the fabulous work of the artist Jan Larsen whose appropriation of iconic advertising tag lines and imagery is indeed masterful.