Departures magazine takes note of the not-so-new trend of art restaurants using art as an attraction. It started with places that accepted artwork in lieu of payment for meals and lodging. The slide-show features the granddaddy of that, La Colombe d’Or. But there’s a recent counter trend that really seems to have launched art into a new realm :
At first, world-class restaurants simply started popping up in museums. In 2005, the Museum of Modern Art debuted The Modern, in which restaurateur Danny Meyer elevated institutionalized museum fare to a Michelin-starred level in a setting overlooking works by Alexander Calder, Auguste Rodin and more in MoMa’s Sculpture Garden. Wolfgang Puck has been dabbling in the museum restaurant arena for years as well, setting up shop in Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and Washington; the view from his 20.21 restaurant at Minneapolis’s Walker Art Center (now a new bôite called Gather) was the cherry on top (literally—diners had a view of Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s iconic sculpture Spoonbridge and Cherry).
These days, though, you don’t have to eat at a museum to see excellent art. Restaurants around the world are attracting patrons with their own art collections and rotating exhibitions. In Zurich, Kronenhalle’s original owner, Hulda Zumsteg, and her son, Gustav, spent decades amassing a personal art collection, filling the restaurant with art by German and Swiss painter Paul Klee, Russian Abstract painter Wassily Kandinsky, Swiss painter Ferdinand Hodler and others. The furniture is also priceless: The tables in the bar area are by Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti.
Best Restaurant Art Collections (Departures)