Interview White Cube’s Julia Baumhoff Zaouk
German born Julia Baumhoff Zaouk grew up in art city Cologne, Germany. Always passionate about art as well as classical music and opera, she studied Architecture and History of Art and moved to London to study in 1999. After working for a year for Vivienne Westwood and the Formula 1 Team Jaguar Racing, Larry Gagosian asked her in 2005 to set up one of the Gagosian galleries in London (Davies Street). After 12 years working with Gagosian in London and Geneva, she then joined White Cube in 2016. In addition to passionately working closely with her artists and advising private and institutional clients on building their collections, she is an avid supporter of the arts and charitable organisations around the world.
THE WICK: Who is your ultimate Monday Muse?
Julia Baumhoff Zaouk: My ultimate Monday Muse is Tracey Emin. She inspires me on so many levels. Tracey is the most powerful female artist I know. I admire her honesty expressed through her art in a great variety of different mediums, ranging from Installations, neons, paintings and drawings, film, photography, sewn applique and sculpture. Through her work she takes us on her life’s journey, communicating fundamental themes of love, desire , loss and grief.
TW: What is your typical Monday?
JBZ: I love Mondays. It’s the zen after the storm as most weekends are fun-filled, very social and busy. I wake up at 6.45am with my children to get them ready for school. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for me, so we start with a fully set table and calm breakfast session. As the gallery is closed to the public on Mondays, I enjoy working on artist projects and exhibitions, and catching up with my collectors and artists.
TW: What advice would you give to new collectors?
For a newcomer, the sheer breadth and number of galleries and works of art can be overwhelming. The art world is often intimidating for many from the outside and may give the impression that it is only reserved for people that want to spend millions. I am a big believer that, unless you see art predominantly as an investment and asset class, you want to live with works for a long time. It is important to develop your taste and preferences by visiting many exhibitions and museum shows, and only then make a decision for a purchase. As art is a very personal experience, anybody buying art should trust their instincts and take into consideration if an artwork will appeal to them over a longer period of time.
You’ve been known to say, ‘you should never buy anything you don’t love’. What did you first fall in love with?
JBZ: My grandmother was a great supporter of the Ludwig Museum in Cologne and my sister and I were regular visitors of the museum from a young age. I remember admiring Picasso’s ‘Harlequin with Folded Hands’ (1923).