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Zurich’s Dolder Grand: The Art of Hospitality

Overview of the Dolder Grand’s main lobby, with Andy Warhol’s “Big Retrospective Painting” on the right side above the reception counter. Credit Dolder Grand.

By Paul Clemence

After mostly curtailing the pandemic crisis, Switzerland has been slowly re-opening the country, albeit with careful preventive protocols in places. Recently the country re-opened its European land borders and larger gatherings (of up to 1000 people) and public activities are now allowed, with guidelines for contact tracing and required mask-wearing. In Zurich, the renowned art museums have been open since mid-May, but if a more extreme social distancing is preferred, The Dolder Grand offers a great alternative for a more private yet inspiring art-viewing experience.


Detail of Warhol’s “Big Retrospective Painting.” Credit Dolder Grand.

Founded in 1899 and having undergone a sweeping update and expansion in 2008 by celebrity architect Lord Norman Foster, the Dolder features a top-notch art collection with pieces from some of the world’s most important artists. The work is in a variety of medium ranging from paintings to sculptures and photography and ranges from surrealism to pop and contemporary.

Each floor’s elevator lobby features unique art and views to nature. Seen here is “5 Kontinente,” a wood sculpture by artist Raffael Benazzi. Credit Dolder Grand.

Scattered through the hotel, from the lobby to the spa area, are works by the artist like Henry Moore, Julian Schnabel, Robert Motherwell, Alexandra Exter, Jean Tinguely, Donald Judd, Tamara de Lempicka, Murakami, René Magritte, Lucio Fontana, Anish Kapoor, Gerhard Richter, Robert Indiana, Fernando Botero, Man Ray, Salvador Dali.

Stained glass “Chapel of Remorse” by Artist Jani Leinonen. Credit Dolder Grand.


Without a doubt, one of the most striking pieces is Andy Warhol’s “Big Retrospective Painting”, from 1979, hanging overhead in the long hallway by the reception area.


Lobby hallway with Andy Warhol’s “Big Retrospective Painting.” Credit Dolder Grand.

Over 36 feet long, the painting is indeed a mini-retrospective of Warhol’s work, featuring sections of some of his most iconic and recognizable pieces like the Marylyn’s, the daisies, the cows, the Campbell Soup cans, and of course, self-portraits.


Artist Charles March’s “High Wood” photographic series. Credit Dolder Grand.

And not to be missed, artist Charles March photography series “High Woods”. On display at the annex’s hallway, March’s painterly images engage in an interesting play with the projected shadows of the metal screen covering the hallway’s curtain wall, further highlighting the photo’s abstract quality.

For the hotel’s current health safety protocols and procedures, please visit www.thedoldergrand.com.


Paul Clemence is an award-winning photographer and writer exploring the cross-section of design, art and architecture. A published author, his volume Mies van der Rohe’s FARNSWORTH HOUSE remains to this day the most complete photo documentation of that iconic modern residential design, and a selection of these photos is part of the Mies van der Rohe Archives housed by MoMa, New York. He is widely published in arts, architecture and lifestyle magazines like Metropolis, ArchDaily, Architizer, Modern, Casa Vogue Brasil and others. Archi-Photo, aka Architecture Photography, his Facebook photo blog quickly became a photography and architecture community, with over 970,000 followers worldwide. An architect by training, Clemence is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

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