Art collector, curator, writer, and Art In The Park creator, Gigi Kracht, recalls the exact moment that Baur au Lac hotel’s internationally recognized sculpture was born.
Sixteen years ago, Mrs. Kracht, wife of Andrea Kracht, the sixth-generation owner of the Zurich hotel, was meeting with artist Fernando Botero on Baur au Lac's picturesque Rive Gauche terrasse. She was writing a story to be featured in Views, the hotel's in-house magazine, about the Colombian artist and sculptor, a frequent guest of the hotel. Gigi recalls: "On a magnificent summer morning over breakfast, Fernando himself suggested the idea of concocting a sculpture exhibition in our own park on Talastrasse."
Many of the works featured in Art in the Park over the years have been created especially for the show.
The most recent event, Art in the Park XV, featured works by Spanish painter, Joan Miró; Allen Jones, Mel Ramos; Rotraut Klein-Moquay, widow of French artist Yves Klein; and American actor and painter, Sylvester Stallone. Over the years, many artists have created pieces specifically for Baur Au Lac’s annual show.
"Art in the Park was incepted with no less than The Fat Lady! by Fernando Botero towering over our park, together with several other artists. Today, the two month-long display holds its own amidst the buzz of Art Basel," says Gigi, referring to the outdoor exhibition's reputation as a prelude to the international art fair (the Art in the Park vernissage is the weekend before Basel begins). Since its beginning, Art in the Park has been co-curated with the Galerie Gmurzynska in Zurich.
Since the beginning, the hotel has drawn artists to its unique location in the heart of the city overlooking Lake Zurich, and the Alps—perhaps thanks the original proprietor, Karl Kracht's passion for culture in Zurich. Under his patronage, the Künstlerhaus Zürich was opened on the Bӧrsenstrasse in 1895. Today, Art in the Park continues the senior Kracht’s commitment to the arts, and is an integral part of Zurich's cultural fabric.
"Steeped in 173 years of tradition, and owned by the same family for six generations, we honor the importance of giving back to society," says Gigi. Each year, the exhibition attracts art connoisseurs to view works from newly emerging and established artists from all over the world. "The quintessential, all-cloth spider from the immortal Louise Bourgeois, and the iconic Numbers 0-9, and LOVE sculptures by Robert Indiana, have been on display here, as well as those of newcomers Jani Leinonen and Marco Perego," she saysi. "All within the park of Baur au Lac, where the colors of the skies, and the balmy swaying of century-old trees brings visual magic to the air."
To learn more about Baur au Lac, or to attend the annual Art in the Park summer exhibition, please contact the concierge upon making a reservation.