Interview / Pferde & Falken
"Our gallery brings together the Arab tradition of falconry and noble horses with the European affinity for painting."
Interview with Simone Al-Halabi
Pferde & Falken - Gallery Front (Photo: Petrus Entertainment)
The gallery's name "Pferde & Falken" (engl. Horses & Falcons)
is nobly encarved over the window front in both arabic and latin letters and it describes precisely the sujet of the art inside.
Entering the unpretentious store in Hamburg-Rotherbaum, just off the Alster riverside,
one wouldn’t assume "Pferde & Falken" is actually one of the best selling galleries in Germany.
Simone Al-Halabi and her husband are doing successful business world-wide and have specialized in the United Arab Emirates -
with a very dedicated and unique field of interest. Opening hours are only by appointment, so we were
happy to get one despite the owners’ full schedule.
When did you start "Pferde & Falken"
"My husband and I have rented the space 20 years ago and built up the business from scratch.
At the time we went to the Emirates almost every week to meet clients and strenghten the bonds.
Today our children live on site and correspond on a daily basis, while we live in
Hamburg and run our domicile here. Many of our clients come to Germany several times a year
for business, or they bring their families to spend the holidays in Europe.
Hamburg’s maritime flair and its openness is why we - as well as our clients -
appreciate this city so much."
Why horses and falcons?
"I grew up in Hamburg, but I have an arab background and my husband is an Emirati.
Falconry forms an important part of Arab culture; it used to be of existential
importance for the beduines and is still kept as a living tradition with great enthusiasm.
The Arab world’s passion for horses is not a secret either, and is cultivated intensly,
especially in sophisticated circles. Besides that, both horses and falcons are beautiful creatures.
It seemed natural to us from the beginning, to foster those cultural features in Europe and to combine
it with our affinity to arts."
Are you working on commission as well?
"Actually there’s quite a lot of commissioned works, when clients wish the beloved
animals from their falconries or stud farms to be portraied. We work with a selected
circle of international painters, who meet the high standards of our clients. Besides that we
have specialized in historic paintings of famous steeds from prestigious breeds."
© Fusaichi Pegasus, 2015, oil on canvas, 60 x 40cm
How would you describe your relation to the contemporary art market? Do you participate in fairs?
"Due to our gallery’s more traditional approach this would not really make sense.
But we are indeed passionate collectors ourselves and travel to the most interesting art fairs and exhibitions,
if our schedule allows it. Especially young emerging art form the Asian and Arabic countries
is something we really go for at the moment."
How do you see the future of the gallery?
"We’re in the lucky position to have children that share our enthusiasm for art
and the gallery business and hope that "Pferde & Falken" will persist for a long time.
At the moment we’re simply happy that we can work with what exites us,
especially in a city like Hamburg. That’s more than we could have hoped for."