Huub Hannen Gallery

From passion to profession

Interview with Huub Hannen

Huub Hannen deserved his credits in the financial world, where he worked for years as an Executive Board (EB) vice chairman at Achmea. Galerie Huub Hannen is the next step in his career. A gallery for Contemporary Art at a unique spot in Maastricht. The city that has so much potential left for art.

Contemporary Art is a broad concept, do you make any choices in this?
‘the whole palette of contemporary art fascinates me: sculptures, the art of painting, photography and glass as well…it all has my interest. Within this broad scala I choose what I find exciting, intriguing, diversifying and beautiful. Moreover I find the relationship with the artist an essential element. There has to be a click between us. The choice I make, is that by any means I want to make room for young innovative people to show them to a bigger public. Even if it still is experimental and it doesn’t sell well yet.`

How did you end up in this world?
’15 years ago I bought my first painting. Soon the second came. And from then my fascination with art was born, and I got into it very deeply; I started to visit museums and galleries, read books and meet artists, after which it became a passion. It developed as a need to do more with it.`

More in the meaning of business?
‘yes, that may be the entrepreneur in me. I’ve spent much time in the business world, and that obviously leaves its marks.`

It’s not just a hobby from someone who is looking for a decent hobby after his retirement?
‘No, if this would be the case then I would embarrass the confidence that the artist has in me. I am the point of mutual interest, I represent the artist. He has the right to know that I serve his interests by leading the gallery in a professional, sophisticated manner. The gallery has to be a success business-wise, but if you don’t handle it professionally, you will be implausible. An artist has a right to sell. I consider it as form passion to profession’.

What’s a man from the Province of Brabant doing in Maastricht?
‘Maastricht has had a important place in my heart for already fifteen years. This is how long we possess a pied-a-tierre here. Maastricht is a city of contacts. The city is situated at an intersection of countries. You could rather say: in the middle of Europe. A city with ambition to go beyond borders. An ambition which I share. Regarding the gallery, I point myself at relations form Germany and Belgium as well. To me Art Brussels and Art Cologne are even as important as Art Amsterdam’.

But Maastricht isn’t a Walhalla for the Art lover …
`For the Art lover as well as the Art professional there’s still a big challenge in Maastricht. Luckily the city takes the chances it gets. The time is now. The infrastructure is there: An Art academy, culture sciences at the University and the unique TEFAF. At the TEFAF contemporary Art get’s more attention each year. That offers chances as well.`

Let’s get back to the gallery. How are you going to manage this organisationally?
`I am not the man who sits himself behind a designable table from glass and waits until someone shows up. I focus on my artists, their sellers en their public. You will not often find solo expositions in my gallery. Rather duo and sometimes trio expositions. I am looking for interesting combinations. It’s all about the contrasts, maybe even the confrontation. But also the harmony, the resemblance and the communality can be exciting.`