While Chicago’s museums are a treasure trove of impressive works, its hotels also offer museum-worthy pieces. Here are four top hotels for browsing art.
PHOTO: BRANDON BARRE
Located off Michigan Avenue, The Gwen pays homage to sculptress Gwen Lux not only in name, but also in design. A sculpture commissioned in the likeness of Lux–a Chicago native who designed the mythological stone bas reliefs on the McGraw-Hill building in which The Gwen is located–commands attention in the lobby while a stencil of one of Lux’s gazelle drawings (shown above) similar to the ones on the exterior of the historic landmark graces each guest room. The hotel also houses a number of the artist’s pieces in clay, wood and bronze that were donated by her family.
WALDORF ASTORIA CHICAGO
PHOTO: WALDORF ASTORIA CHICAGO
The ever-elegant collection in the Waldorf Astoria includes photography, paintings and sculptures that embody a sense of timeless glamour, subtle mystery and storied history and were chosen in conjunction with Patti Gilford Fine Arts and the Simeone Deary Design Group. Le Passage (above), a sculptural wall of polished stainless steel with cast translucent glass, installed in the main lobby, greets visitors and offers an unforgettable first impression of the craftsmanship found throughout the hotel. Meanwhile, a large-scale oil painting by Herbert Brandl is given pride of place behind the front desk. The extensive expanses of color create a sense of calm and relaxation, exactly what one should expect when staying at the Waldorf Astoria.
PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER VILLANO
Artwork at the iconic Blackstone Hotel, which has famously hosted presidents as well as other notable figures, took its cues from the hotel’s celebrated history and its Beaux Arts architecture. Selected works include Chad Wys’ Brutalized Gainsborough 2 (above) and Justin Henry Miller’s Tumor Turban, an oil-on-vintage photograph. The unexpected yet luxurious selections are reflective of a residential atmosphere allowing visitors to feel as if they are a part of the hotel’s ongoing legacy, explains Ali Bacon, project designer with the Gettys Group, which recently led the hotel’s design renovation.
PHOTO COURTESY RITZ-CARLTON, CHICAGO
Inspired by the design philosophy of the neighboring Museum of Contemporary Art, the art collection at the Ritz-Carlton, Chicago, is as diverse and sophisticated as the community surrounding it. On the ground-floor lobby, for instance, Roy Lichtenstein’s Wallpaper with Blue Floor Interior shares a space with the Ellsworth Kelly lithograph Dark Gray Curve and Matt Devine’s sculpture Cradle, while the Flying Wave sculpture (below)–a wave-like piece made of handblown glass in blue tones reminiscent of Lake Michigan–hovers above the main lobby seating area.