Andy Meets Mary Rozell, Global Head of UBS Art Collection & curator Lucian Freud: Closer

In light of the new Lucian Freud: Closer, Etchings exhibition from the UBS Art Collection, I meet Mary Rozell, Global Head of UBS Art Collection and curator of this exhibition. Topics we discuss cover Lucian Freud, master of figurative painting, and the exhibition in Berlin, the great initiative of UBS towards art & culture and the “future of art collecting”.



UBS Art collection’s mission is to build and maintain a seminal body of work that provokes thought while being inspirational. What aspects did you take into account while curating Lucian Freud: Closer (also in regard to Berlin as a choice of location and the Martin-Gropius-Bau?)

Thank you Andy – you describe the mission of the UBS Art Collection nicely. We are so excited to have all of these important works on view in the city of Freud’s birth and at the Martin-Gropius-Bau – a historically symbolic building and one of Europe’s renowned exhibition spaces. I must give credit to Poul Eric Tøjner and Anders Kold of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art who recognized the power of these works and first provided them with a public platform in 2015.  Dr. Gereon Sievernich, Director of the Martin-Gropius-Bau, felt that this group of works would resonate in this city. This exhibition marks the first time these works will be seen by audiences in Berlin.

You have been leading the UBS Art Collection team for around two years now: how has your experience so far been in managing a corporate collection? What have you enjoyed most/ what have the challenges been?

It‘s hard to believe that it has been almost two years since I started. The experience has been extremely positive. As Global Head, I am responsible for all aspects of the Collection from stewardship and new acquisitions to loans, publications and commissions. I also am charged with developing ways to share the Collection with the public. It is very rewarding to see how deeply engaged the public has been with Freud works in this show.  The greatest challenge is trying to meet the incredible demand for art within our business and beyond.

If any/ which of Freud’s 51 exhibited works has particularly caught your attention and why ?

There are a total of 54 works in the exhibition – 51 etchings and three paintings. As with all of Freud works, these are not easily consumed. They are all so powerful and raw, yet at the same time delicate and extremely intimate.  It is hard to choose just one.

What do you think of artists such as Freud, whose style remains remarkably consistent throughout their career?

Like most artists of Freud’s stature, there was a process of development.  His earliest works, which recall Surrealism, Neue Sachlichkeit, and German Expressionism, are hardly recognisable as Freuds.  Once he found his unique artistic signature, he did stick with it for many decades.  That’s what make these etchings so interesting.  Freud only started working in the medium in earnest in the 1980s once he was fully established as a painter. The etchings provided an important new challenge and a new means of expression for the artist, becoming an essential element of his overall oeuvre.  They are unmistakably Freud and yet they are very distinct from the paintings in the precise use of line and the almost complete elimination of contextualising backgrounds.

Is there a notable recent acquisition of art for UBS Art collection which you would like to highlight and if so which artwork/ artist would it be?

We have acquired a lot of very interesting work in the last year and are proud of the number of women artists we have been able to support.  One in particular that comes to mind is a piece by the Paris-based American artist Sheila Hicks entitled Mining Red Slate from the Depths, 2017. Although Hicks’s international stature has only recently begun to climb, she has long been considered one of the most important contemporary artists working with textiles. Hicks creates highly tactile pieces, revealing a truly painterly approach to light and color, as well as keen awareness of the interplay with architecture.

How influential are you in your own decisions for the acquisition of new artworks for the UBS collection & how does the acquisition process work? Do you take decisions as a team?

More than anything, the collecting process for UBS is based on need. The focus now is on building a collection that reflects our businesses today. I’m fortunate to have a global team on four continents to help manage the Collection and source works. It’s wonderful to have a continuous dialogue about artists we discover and care about.

How important is art (material) in acquiring new art for the UBS Art collection: How flexible are you in acquiring artworks such as sculptures, neon or other art installations? 

In a corporate environment, we have to be considerate about the placement of art, so material plays a big role. It’s not a museum, so we can’t have delicate pieces. It’s also important to consider the longevity of artwork; I always consider what a piece is going to look like in 50 years.

The artworks are being hanged at the UBS offices around the world: how important are decorative purposes and aesthetics vs. art which criticises society and current global issues  (including topics of war, hunger, sexual exploitation, refugees). Where do you draw a line?

As you mentioned, the vast majority of our works are on display in our offices around the world. We want the work to be thought-provoking and inspiring, but there are some limitations due to the corporate environment. We avoid acquiring works where the content includes subjects like overt violence, sex or politics. That’s not to say that there are not potent underlying messages.  Sometimes sensitivities are regional.

Can interested people book a tour to view the artworks of the UBS Art collection; how accessible is the collection to art enthusiasts during the year? (regardless of the exhibitions)

We host private tours for UBS clients and international art and education groups in our major locations in New York, London, Zurich and Hong Kong. We also share our Collection with our clients, prospects and guests at our VIP lounge at Art Basel in Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong. There is great demand to view our Collection and we try to accommodate as many requests as possible.  It is also rewarding for us to open up the dialogue around the works that we care for.

Do you use social networks to identify new artists & artworks; do influencers, “online curators” play a role in the future. As far as the “digitalisation of the art world”: what model(s) do you think will prevail?

Social networks do not play a large part in our identifying new artists and artworks. One of our missions is to support the artist directly, so we mainly acquire from galleries on the primary market. We stay abreast of developments through art periodicals, both print and online, and have regular conversations with curators, dealers and other knowledgeable individuals whose opinions we value.

Finally a Warhol related question:  As far as I know, the UBS Art collection comprises of  Andy Warhol works. What comes to your mind in regard to Andy Warhol, his art and legacy?

The UBS Art Collection currently has two works by Warhol: Campbell’s Soup I, 1968, a portfolio of ten screen prints and Joseph Beuys, 1984. (Mao, 1973 and Cagney, 1962 were recently donated by UBS to the Museum of Modern Art, New York, as part of a major corporate gift of 44 works, fully realised earlier this year.)

Warhol is clearly a major figure of the last century and we are fortunate to have acquired these works at the time of their creation.  He has had a huge influence on our understanding of contemporary art, one that resonates with artists to this day.

Thank you very much Mary and best of luck with the exhibition.

Thank you, Andy.

Further info:

Lucian Freud: Closer
Etchings from the UBS Art Collection

Niederkirchnerstraße 7
10963 Berlin

22 July – 22 October 2017

Opening Hours
Wednesday to Monday 10:00 – 19:00
Closed on Tuesdays
Special Opening Hours: open on Tuesday 3.10

Join the conversation:




Click here for German version. 

Art & Eyewear in the Swiss Alps: STEIMANDLI with Götti

Standing out in the mountainous area of Andermatt in Switzerland is Steimandli: the new sculpture by Ugo Rondinone is a landmark for the region. I explore the art & breathtaking beauty with Götti Switzerland.






The trip

The pulsing region of Andermatt coupled with an iconic STEIMANDLI artwork of Ugo Rondinone caught my attention for further exploration.
The region is currently going through fascinating developments. As such it is slowly but steadily developing into an international tourism destination.
On a sunny day we made our way by from Zurich. Wearing my rimless Perspective sunglasses by Götti Switzerland & with several bottles of water, we made our way to Andermatt. The drive from Zurich is swift, passing the lakes of Zug as well as Vierwaldstädter See/ Lake Luzern, before entering the breathtaking rocky area of Andermatt. One of the entrepreneurs actively involved is Mr Samih Sawiris, who has actively invested in the region.

The nature is pristine..

The art

Ugo Rondinone`s new artwork belongs to the series Human Nature, and is built out of stone. It shall symbolise the impressive development of the Andermatt region as an international holiday destination.
Having seen the sculpture only on several pictures, I was astonished by its size. It is over 7 meters high and is placed in a roundabout before entering Andermatt.
I personally think it fits greatly the breathtaking views of the region, showing the diversity of cultures in the Urserental: combining Swiss with international cultures, old with new (norms & traditions), as well as drawing parallels of humans to the impressive & unique rocky landscape of the region.

The eyewear

A pair of sunglasses was certainly an important factor of the exploration to the Swiss Alps: Götti Switzerland`s rimless sunglasses fit perfectly the minimalistic, powerful as well as art related characteristics of the project.
The Red Dot design winning brand manufactures everything by hand, and counts art powers such as Hans Ulrich Obrist, as its ambassadors. I am wearing the rimless round Perspective glass in black which come in a beautiful packaging by artist Bruno Bischof.
Not only it fits my face impeccably, but I share the same values with the brand which are minimalistic, innovative and design oriented. Also, they are made of titanium and are super light & comfy to wear, while hand-made in Switzerland.

Ugo Rondinone

Ugo Rondinone is no stranger to the international art scene. The Swiss-born artist (Brunnen/SZ) has been developing polymorphic work (sculpture, installation, painting, photography and video) since the mid-1980s. His work is focused on human beings, their psyche and their emotions. What is more, his artworks are influenced by art history, land art, literature, theatre or music and also to popular culture. I have repeatedly shared some of his artworks around the world on my Instagram.

More info:

How to get to Andermatt:

My tip: You can easily park your car at Gotthardstrasse close to the sculpture where there is plenty of parking space.



Trenta Optik
Augustinergasse 30
8001 Zürich

Götti Store 
Mühlenplatz 1
6004 Luzern

Take care & write to you soon.

P.S. Special thanks to Michelle & Caroline, NEUTRAL Zurich


Me and my team had the honour to attend the 48th edition of Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland. Art Basel is one of the most prestigious art fairs in the world and features nearly 300 leading galleries from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa. More than 2,500 artists present their paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, photographs, video and editioned works.

As the only Swiss Art Blog represented, I present my favourite works & impressions from the exclusive Media reception.

Art Basel announced its gallery list for the 48th edition in Basel, Switzerland, taking place from June 15 to June 18, 2017. This year, 291 international galleries present works ranging from the early 20th century to contemporary artists (click here for the full list of galleries attending).

The Basel show, whose Lead Partner is UBS, presents galleries from 34 countries and six continents. UBS has been supporting the fair for more than 20 years.

I attended the media reception & preview and here are some of the vast impressions of the preview day.


Before entering the Unlimited section, Barbara Kruger’s red work Untitled (Our people are better than your people) caught my eye. While entering, Otto Piene’s huge inflatable sculpture Blue Star Linz transferred me into an under-the-sea-environment. This was just the start to the exploration of a very-well curated Unlimited Art Basel section by Gianni Jetzer:

Top 10 works which caught my attention:

  1. Imi Knoebel Konstellationen, 1975  

    Imi Knoebel Konstellationen

    Imi Knoebel Konstellationen, 1975 Galerie Bärbel Grässlin , Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder , Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac ©ANDYMEETSWARHOL

  2. Nick Cave Speak Louder, 2011 

    Nick Cave Speak Louder

    Nick Cave Speak Louder, 2011 Jack Shainman Gallery ©ANDY MEETS WARHOL

  3. Tobias Rehberger Performance of two lonely objects that have a lot in common, 2014  

    Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 20.28.59

    Tobias Rehberger Performance of two lonely objects that have a lot in common, 2014 Galerie Urs Meile, neugerriemschneider

  4. Thomas Huber vis-à-vis II, 2014  

    Thomas Huber vis-à-vis II

    Thomas Huber vis-à-vis II, 2014 Skopia / P.-H. Jaccaud

  5. Julio Le Parc La Longue Marche, 1974
     Julio Le Parc La Longue Marche, 1974, Perrotin, Galeria Nara Roesler
  6. Julian Charrière + Julius von Bismarck, Objects in mirror might be closer than they appear, 2016

    Julian Charrière + Julius von Bismarck, Objects in mirror might be closer than they appear

    Julian Charrière + Julius von Bismarck, Objects in mirror might be closer than they appear, 2016, Sies + Höke, Galerie Tschudi ©ANDY MEETS WARHOL

  7. Subodh Gupta Cooking the World, 2017   

    Subodh Gupta. Cooking the World

    Installation view of ‘Subodh Gupta. Cooking the World’, 2017, Galleria Continua, Hauser & Wirth

  8. Sylvie Fleury Skylark 

    Sylvie Fleury Skylark

    Sylvie Fleury Skylark Galerie Mehdi Chouakri, Karma International , Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac ©ANDY MEETS WARHOL

  9. Chris Burden Ode to Santos-Dumont

    Chris Burden Ode to Santos-Dumont

    Chris Burden, Ode to Santos-Dumont, 2015 Gagosian Gallery ©ANDY MEETS WARHOL

  10. Otto Piene Blue Star Linz, 1980 

    OTTO PIENE Blue Star Linz, 1980

    OTTO PIENE Blue Star Linz, 1980 Sprüth Magers Berlin ©ANDY MEETS WARHOL

Media reception

Remarks by:

  • Marc Spiegler, Global Director, Art Basel
  • Jürg Zeltner, President UBS Wealth Management
  • Gianni Jetzer, Curator Unlimited, Art Basel
  • Maxa Zoller, Curator Film, Art Basel
  • Samuel Leuenberger, Curator Parcours, Art Basel

Watch the video below:

The media reception was well structured, informative, yet not tiring. Particularly Maxa Zoller’s speech and inclusion of work’s by Andy Warhol in this year’s film programme was notable. Andy Warhol’s films are one of the program highlights of this year.


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the latest updates. #ANDYMEETSBASEL #ARTBASEL #ANDYMEETSWARHOL

Take care & write to you soon.

Pictures: Sebastian Magnani


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