Interview with Hania Bailly

Interview with Hania Bailly


Tell me a bit about yourself ? Your background and origins?

I was born in Poland, grew up in London and Warsaw. I am pretty much a nomad soul as I have lived, studied and worked in several countries, speak 7 languages (not all fluently though!)and I love to travel and adapt easily to new surroundings.

How are you enjoying your life in Geneva? What are your favorite addresses in Geneva?

When I first moved to Geneva it was quite hard as I was used to living in big cities where I could go to see an exciting exhibition, musical, ballet but now, I admit I really enjoy it. Geneva is an excellent base, it is close to the mountains (great for weekend skiing escapades in the winter) and also lovely in the Summer thanks to the lake, it’s placed centrally in Europe so traveling is easy I am lucky enough to be travelling a lot for work and leisure so it is convenient. Favorite address: I love running near the lake in the Summer, Café Vivel for a quick tea with friends, Theresa at BG beauté gives amazing facials, Chez Phillippe for a nice lunch, Izumi for dinner and I love Laderach  chocolates any time of the day!

What made you decide you wanted to work in the art world as a gallerist rather than an artist (having seen your drawings you could have easily made it as an artist too!!)?

I graduated from law school and did a post-grad in art history in London. Art is one of my many passions.

I think in order to be an artist or at least a great artist you have to give yourself entirely to your creation. It is like a child, it determines you, leaving very little space for anything else… I did not desire or feel I could be a great artist and did not want to be a mediocre one so my art is just for my pleasure. Which does not mean I am not using my artistic sensitivity in my work and life.

As a gallery owner, in a mostly male dominated sector, how do you get people to take you seriously, specially being a young, blond, good looking female? LOL

Again thank you for the compliment. 

I believe that no matter how you look, if you have the knowledge, are professional and passionate about your work people will see it. And build their opinion based on that. Bottom line it is all that matters and thankfully so far works quite well for me. 

As an entrepreneur, a wife (working with your husband!), and mother of two adorable children, how do you juggle it all?

I am not going to lie, at times it can be a challenge but like in everything the right organization is key. We have a very professional and wonderful team at the gallery that I can rely on and I also have help at home. I do work with my husband but we take care of very different things within the gallery. Sometimes I feel as though we have our own separate lives, we both travel a lot and sometimes don’t even see each other for days or even weeks. I think this gives us independence in our professional lives. When I am not working I try to be as much as possible with the kids. 

After a bad day… what do you do…?!

I work out to get rid of stress, take a bath and read a good book – I am a real bookworm. 

I also often draw…

Which period inspires you the most and your all-time favorite artists?

I love XXth century art, I feel art is a reflection of its time and the XXth century was such an intense history especially the post-war period. I also adore renaissance paintings as well as XVII th century art. Artists : Caravaggio, Bernini, Schiele, Picasso, Calder, Keifer, so many…

What do you think of the current art market? What are the trends to look out for?

The market is very strong when it comes to the greatest names in art history and established artists. Especially in modern and post-war which is my domain. And contrary to what you may think one does not have to spend a fortune to obtain a wonderful piece. Works on paper as well as for example ceramics by various artists (especially Picasso) can be still affordable and are thus selling extremely well.

In the art world which artists do you currently find most exciting?

You mean in terms of contemporary art? Kara Walker, Avery Singer, also the work of young polish artist Alicja Kwade…

What advice would you give to a woman who aspires to become an artist?

I suppose no matter male or female either you are an artist or not. If you are aspiring to be one I don’t think you will go very far. 

And to a young woman who would like to work in a gallery?

Read as much as possible to be aware of what is happening in the art market. Be organized while staying open minded, focused and never judge people by their 

What tips would you give to someone who would like to start collecting but may feel overwhelmed by the art world?

Try to determine which periods and art styles excite you the most, then read and explore as much as possible (art newspapers and magazines, exhibitions) and finally talk to people who share that passion and specialize in that field as gallerists, curators other collectors.  

There are so many art fairs out there, which ones do you recommend?

It is a tricky question as again in depends on what you are interested in. As an exhibitor I love BRAFA and Masterpiece Art Fair and would recommend visiting them because there is a big diversity in exhibited objects ranging from antiquities through design, to contemporary art, and the fairs are elegant, beautiful with a nice atmosphere. But Art Basel is a must, TEFAF, FRIEZE – the best pieces are usually shown at the most important fairs.

What are you currently working on?

On several things, preparing our stand for Design Miami/Basel and Masterpiece Art Fair London plus the preparation of two exhibitions for our Parisian and Geneva galleries!

What seduces you about jewelry?

As somebody working in the art world I am very sensitive to beauty. Jewelry not only accentuates ones beauty or character but can be an art work in itself. I love statement pieces.

What is your jewelry pet peeve or you would never be caught dead in…?!

I guess maybe a nipple ring – because ouch…?

Define elegance and which woman do you admire in your entourage? And who do you look up to in terms of public figure?

True elegance is a quality that is just as physical as it is mental. It is an allure that can never be faked or bought. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by many smart, strong and talented women who are usually my closest friends (and yes of course my rock – my mom!). I admire women who are not afraid of reaching for their dreams, women who push themselves and support others while at it. Miuccia Prada, Amal Clooney, Gwyneth Paltrow

From Nomad Jewels’ various collections, which one do you like the most and what does it evoke to you? Which piece would you choose as your talisman?

Honestly I love all of them. And rarely leave home without wearing at least one piece. I do particularly like my diamond bracelet which can be worn with jeans and a t-shirt and a beautiful evening gown.

When you travel how do you pick which jewelry pieces to bring with you and which ones do you never leave without?

Obviously it depends where I’m going. If I should keep it simple or can I go a bit more wild as I love to stack up my jewelry.

What do you wear when you travel? And as you are always on the go, what are your essentials when you pack?

Again it depends on where I’m going, but I guess I always have comfortable skinny jeans, Golden Goose sneakers, a cashmere sweater and leather biker jacket or a nice oversized blazer. Essentials – sanitizer (I am a germaphobe), passport and kindle preferably all put in a Chanel bag! Oh wait did I mention my Nomad jewels..? 

What is the perfect outfit for an art event? And what is on your wish list for this spring/summer?

The great part about art events is that you can really let your imagination run wild, and wear whatever your heart desires and nobody will ever judge you. Personally I like simple and classical elegance with a twist (like an original piece of jewelry!)

You mean like a fashion wish list for this spring/summer? Honestly already the  possibility of wearing sun-dresses, sandals or a bikini are a wish in itself that I am looking very much forward to!…

Favorite collaboration between art & fashion/accessories?

Don’t get me started…  impossible to choose one! The site-specific Prada installation by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset which is an pretty much an ironic take on luxury shopping , The stunning Picasso pendants, one of which I own and love. Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dali evening gown… to mention a few!

What are you currently reading?

“That Will Never Work” by Marc Randolph” and “Creative Visualization” by Shakti Gawain.

A must read art-related book you absolutely recommend?

  • “The Story of Art” by Ernst H. Gombrich, everyone should read it to
  • have a basic understanding of art and art history, 
  • “ Dark Side of the Boom” Georgina Adam.

Your next destination on your bucket list?

Marfa Texas and Mexico. 

Your goals for 2020?

I prefer to show my results over my plans ☺

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