Sep 17, '20
Featured in 4th edition of Luxeat Insider

4 restaurants with wonderful art collections

Art and food have always had a harmonious relationship, showcasing art in restaurants is hardly a new concept. Starting with the days when chefs-proprietors and artists were swapping food and drinks for artworks to hang in the dining room to today’s many modern restaurants which are still showcasing all forms of art.
Here are four restaurants with art collections that are as good as their food.

Kronenhalle restaurant

The Kronenhalle restaurant and its legendary bar are famous all over the world. Since 1924, it has been Zurich’s preferred meeting point for friends, artists, writers, designers and architects. The restaurant became popular with the local establishment and names such as Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti and Richard Strauss.

The restaurant owners were known to swap food for artworks, cause of this, now the Kronenhalle displays a priceless collection of artworks.
Together with its classic Swiss-German cuisine and hospitality, this feature forms an inseparable part of the overall experience. In the restaurant could be found artwork by Georges Braque, Robert Rauschenberg, Marc Chagall, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and Pierre Bonnard.

Portraits of Paul and Baptistine Roux ( the founders of La Colombe d’Or ) by Hélène Dufau
La Colombe d’Or

La Colombe d’Or is a family-run hotel and restaurant in the Riviera hills located in an old building filled with character. The restaurant serves traditional Provençal food. The spot is also famous for holding art exhibitions, which started over a hundred years ago, during WW1. 

The friendly atmosphere together with owner’s Paul Roux deep interest in the arts brought the visit of many artists like Léger, Braque, Matisse, Picasso, Calder and Miró, and the walls were soon covered by paintings, which often were exchanged for a stay or a few meals, which turned the hotel and restaurant into a treasure of masterpieces.

Osteria Francescana
“Oops I dropped the Lemon Tart” at Osteria Francescana

For restaurant’s chef Massimo Bottura, contemporary art is his lifelong muse which can see on a plate and on a restaurant wall. “We use colour like Damien Hirst in his spin paintings,” he says. The walls of Osteria Francescana, three Michelin-starred Italian restaurant are filled with artworks by Hirst, Beuys, Holler, Murakami, Hanson, Vezzoli, Ai Weiwei and so on. 

“We (Bottura and his wife Lara) started collecting artworks that were personal, that inspired us, and we started putting them on our walls at home.” Later they realised that they could go further. “The art had a place in Francescana. The works could be a little clue for our diners to understand the thinking that goes into the dishes: why we are cooking in that way, why we are greeting people in a certain way.”

“Dad in front of TV set” by Liu Wei
China Club restaurant hall

The China Club is a retro-chic, Shanghai-style, art-heavy private member club and a restaurant in Hong Kong. It serves an extensive menu of classical Hong Kong Chinese foods in a colonial-type environment and has a great collection of Chinese contemporary paintings. When you get there, you feel like you have just been transported to the 1930s Hong Kong and Shanghai.

The art collection on the walls is impressive, it covers a wide range of painting and sculptures by Chinese contemporary artists, over 350 pieces. Some of the works were purchased by the Club, while some were kindly loaned by members. The collection comprises masterpieces, such as paintings by Zeng Fanzhi, Zhang Xiaogang, Fang Lijun, Li Shan, or Lui Wei the elder. It is worth to come only for that. 

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