Entrepreneurial art gallery founders recognised by RGU

Wednesday 03 July 2024

Manuela and Iwan Wirth at P&J Live, Aberdeen
Iwan and Manuela Wirth, visionary art gallery founders who transformed Braemar’s Fife Arms Hotel into an iconic five-star boutique hotel, have been awarded Honorary Degrees from Robert Gordon University (RGU).

They are also Presidents and co-founders of Hauser and Wirth, a leading international art gallery founded by the couple alongside Ursula Hauser in 1992. It remains a family business with a global outlook and over the past 32 years has expanded to North America, Europe, and Asia. 

Iwan and Manuela Wirth run Artfarm too, an independent hospitality and development firm which owns several venues across the world, including the Fife Arms Hotel in Braemar. The hotel, a Victorian coaching inn, reopened at the end of 2018 with its unique interior drawing inspiration from local people and places. They also support several museums, international art projects and regularly contribute to charities.

Professor Steve Olivier, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of RGU, said: “Iwan and Manuela Wirth are highly successful entrepreneurs with a long track record of success; first, in the world of art and then more recently in hospitality. They are both inspirational and have dedicated their careers to fostering culture, supporting artists and engaging with communities through their projects across the world, as well as a little closer to home here in the North East of Scotland.

“Their international philanthropy is extremely impressive with charities supporting the arts, architecture, the environment, conservation, community, and education all benefitting from their passionate generosity. I am sure that many of the graduates can take a lot of inspiration from Iwan and Manuela Wirth as they step out into the world as socially conscious global citizens.” 

The Wirths topped the ArtReview Top 100 in 2015 and remained inside the top 20 places for 2023. They were also featured as one of the Top Philanthropists of 2019 by Town and Country magazine.

They bought the Fife Arms Hotel in 2016, a Victorian coaching inn in the heart of the village of Braemar, and reopened it at the end of 2018 with its unique interior drawing inspiration from local people and places. Iwan and Manuela Wirth oversaw the project and worked with architects and designers to bring their vision to give the B-listed structure a new lease of life.

The Wirths support a number of charities both in here in the North East and across the world and they have partially funded the ongoing restoration of St. Margaret’s Church in Braemar, and contribute towards the River Dee Trust, Aberdeenshire.

Iwan Wirth was recognised with a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) award, while 
Manuela Wirth was honoured with a Doctor of Letters (DLitt) award at P&J Live, Aberdeen, on Wednesday 03 July 2024.

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