Who wants to be educated? That goes too far for me. Interview with Isabella Hund from Galerie Isabella Hund

Published: 12.08.2019
Who wants to be educated? That goes too far for me. Interview with Isabella Hund from Galerie Isabella Hund.
Carolin Denter
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The series by Klimt02 offers space for questions, ideas, and discussions about galleries, artists and the current jewellery market. This is the sixth interview in a series of interviews with gallerists and art dealers from around the world.

We continue with Galerie Isabella Hund. Isabella Hund’s gallery for contemporary jewellery and her workshop have existed in the center of Munich close to the Frauenkirche since 1997.

Isabella Hund only exhibits high-quality contemporary jewellery made by more than 50 outstanding jewellery artists and designers from Germany and abroad. The works of avant-garde jewellery designers are exhibited on a regular basis. For her, jewellery has to reflect the personality of the artist; its powerful and unique radiance must be compelling and underline the charisma of the wearer.

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You founded Galerie Isabella Hund under another name already in 1988 in the center of Munich. The Gallery has shown both, classical positions and lately& more narrative and exceptional concepts. While curating your Gallery, do you have a specific vision in mind? Please describe Galerie Isabella Hund's criteria. 
I have always used this name for the gallery and, since 1998, it has been located at the present address in the city center, very close to the Frauenkirche. In the beginning, I didn’t have a grand vision but rather a very clear feeling: I didn’t want to have to choose between being a jewelry designer or a gallery owner. I wanted to do both. It is very rewarding, even after thirty years of being a goldsmith, to sit at the workbench and realize my own ideas. But it is just as fulfilling, as a gallerist, to discover and exhibit talented artists. It’s this diversity that distinguishes me and my gallery.

You are running Galerie Isabella Hund already since 31 years, last year you celebrated the gallery’s 30th birthday. You are seen as one of the most experienced and successful gallerist for contemporary jewellery. Every year, you promote about 70 artists represented by the gallery, you dedicate your time and energy in annual exhibitions. You keep the quality of the shown works, and the setting really high.Please tell us more about running a gallery, what does it mean for you?
It’s my baby! Everything in my entire life is centered on the gallery, everything that inspires me flows into this space. I travel quite a lot and spend a great deal of my private time in museums, exhibitions. I’m interested in modern architecture, furniture, music. Every artistic idea and its implementation excites me – which certainly also benefits the gallery. For me, there is no classic distinction between professional and personal life. When I discover new shapes, like on my last trip to Japan, and then later design earrings at my worktable, all of the inspiration flows into my work.

Galerie Isabella Hund in Munich

Even though you are one of the most experienced gallerists for contemporary jewellery, among few others, are there still challenging moments for you? What major successes and challenges have you had this year?
Anyone who has been in business for more than thirty years like me knows all the ups and downs. Perhaps I am still around because life is like a very long river for me, always in motion. You have to be able to observe and predict and then adapt to the waves. Which doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t remain true to your own curve! But I’ve always approached change rather playfully and see more chances than risks. For example, digital innovations such as Instagram offer me completely new opportunities to showcase design for a younger audience. Here I feature jewelry, art, design and also personal things. And this year, I also worked for three months on a new website and am very happy with it.

Talking about quality, did you notice any changes, to good or bad, in your time as a gallerist?
As I said, everything is in flux. To only talk about quality here would be too one-dimensional for me. For all these years, I feel really privileged. I work with artists I value and experience my customers’ enjoyment of exceptional jewelry in the gallery every day. That’s great luck.

Besides selling pieces, how do you see the role of the gallerist in the artist-gallery relationship? What do you think is missing at the moment and what do you think should cease to exist, if any?
Because I always wanted to be both an artist and a gallery owner, the question doesn’t really arise for me. But it has certainly never hurt my relationship to artists that I am also a jewelry designer. Maybe you have more understanding of the work, find it easier to convey the artistic idea, don’t see the business end first and foremostly.

You said once in an interview, buying jewellery is not like buying bread, it asks for reflection it is a process. Your Gallery is located in the city center of a vibrant city in Germany: Munich. Does this setting make it easier for you to promote and sell contemporary jewellery? Please explain to us a bit more about your marketing concepts.
In my case, it is more about an artistic concept than marketing. That’s also how I understand my exhibitions in the gallery or my presence online. Above all, these activities are meant to inspire and draw attention to extraordinary design. Fortunately, in Munich there is an audience who is open-minded and cosmopolitan and, of course, also equipped with the necessary loose change. I can definitely say that the interest in contemporary jewelry is increasing rather than declining.

Isabella Hund and some of the galleries exhibition pieces.

Thinking about contemporary jewellery especially, how do you think it is necessary to “educate” the audience, customers, collectors (...) and so on?
Who wants to be educated? That goes too far for me. I want to sensitize, inspire, convey. I’m a facilitator, a mediator for jewelry. I enjoy telling the stories of jewelry and its creators. There are people behind it, great ideas, artistic careers. In addition to this, there is the technical precision, that a piece of jewelry is perfectly crafted. That’s important to me.

Regarding the global contemporary jewellery network, do you feel well connected to other ambassadors of this field, and how do you think the internet and the digital market has a positive/negative effect on the visibility of contemporary jewellery?
My Instagram presence is a real asset for me. At the moment, I think it’s great that things I like and that are important in my life are also liked by 30.000 other followers! The medium lives from powerful images, from grand visual effects, from the video. Take a look at how perfectly you can stage jewelry in motion. That is a very clear advance – and also important for a younger target group who may not be buying today but are already becoming aware of contemporary jewelry.

Is a professional sales platform that develops and shares your work to increase sales something that interests you? What are your thoughts?
For me personally, that wouldn’t be the right way to go. I strongly believe in inspiration, which happens through Instagram or my website, but a strong picture alone does not make a successful business. In my gallery, sales of jewelry live from personal conversations. My customers are inquisitive and want to know more: they ask about the artist, his or her biography, the concept behind the jewelry. This communication is extremely valuable and cannot be replaced by the internet.

You are a jewellery maker yourself and you have been always rebellious with your ideas and interpretations of jewellery. You were talking about your time in London where you discovered the work with nonprecious metals such as Alumwhich inspired you a lot. For us, it is really interesting to talk about values with you as a gallerist and the artist. Leaving the aspect of passion and beauty aside how do you see the stability of the value of contemporary jewellery from nonprecious metals or conceptual works?
“Stay wild” has been one of my mottos since that time and I’ve done well with it! Of course, I am fascinated by amusing shapes and unusual materials, but as a concept, that’s not enough for me. Purely conceptual art devoid of any connection to my trade is foreign to me. You’ll never find me wearing a rubber hose and declaring it jewelry (laughs). What I really like, for example, is the work of Gerd Rothmann. Here fingerprints are displayed in the jewelry – it doesn’t get any more personal than that. And admittedly, the imprint is made in gold.

Based on your professional experience, what would be your approach to expand, strengthen and change the contemporary jewellery/art market?
We should see digital media as a major opportunity to present contemporary jewelry in a contemporary way. I like to lead by example, so nothing in my Instagram account comes from a team. I do it all myself and have a good time doing it! This form of presentation wouldn’t have been possible before. In combination with the many artist exhibitions in my gallery and the continuous personal exchange with my customers, this is my formula for success for the gallery for years to come.  

About the Interviewee

Isabella Hund, 1955 born in Karlsruhe.
1976-82 Studies at the Fachhochschule für Gestaltung (design academy), Pforzheim.
1982 Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship, 3-month working stay in London.
1983-84 Fulbright Scholarship, USA Postgraduate Studies at San Diego State University, California.
1984-85 Teaching assignment for art and design at San Diego State University, California.
1988-96 Gallery and workshop in Munich, Neuhausen.
since 1997 Isabella Hund, Gallery for Contemporary Jewellery, Frauenplatz 13, entrance Schäfflerstraße, 80331 Munich.

About the author

Denter completed her vocational training as Goldsmith at Master School for Craftsmen in Kaiserslautern in 2013. In 2017 she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Gemstone and Jewellery at University of Applied Science Trier, Campus Idar-Oberstein. After her graduation, she started working as Marketing- and Designmanagement Assistance at Campus Idar-Oberstein at the Gemstone and Jewellery Departement. Since 2015 she is working at, an online platform for the communication of contemporary jewellery. Trough articles and interviews she is developing critical subjects in the field of contemporary jewellery.