Luxury hotels often have artists in residence to capture significant moments and guests. This is nothing new. Having an artist in residence is a historic feature of the luxury hotel business. Iconic hotels such as The Savoy can include names such as Claude Monet amongst their list of previous employees. Here we consider the role of the resident artist in the 21st century.
David Downton, Claridge’s
David Downton has been granted the honour of being Claridge’s first resident artist. Downton could be described as a kind of official anti-paparazzo. It’s fair to say the paparazzi have received a fairly bad press in recent years. The move by Claridge’s to install a resident artist reflects the hotels desire to re-enforce its image as a luxury brand. Downton will sketch famous guests to the hotel, which have included Victoria Beckham, Kate Moss, and Sarah Jessica Parker.
Stuart McAlpine Miller, The Savoy
In 2012 The Savoy made the decision to appoint the little known artist Stuart Miller as artist in residence. Having struggled to sell his paintings for 20 years, Miller enjoyed a late career boom thanks to the appointment. Stepping away from tradition, The Savoy chose Miller due to his unusual artistic technique which layers images of women over coloured cartoons, in a commentary about the superficiality of fame. The Savoy’s choice of this very modern artist suggests that the historical institution is hoping to modernise its image.
The Swatch Art Peace Hotel
Modern hotels such as The Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai have developed projects that provide accommodation to a number of artists, in return for a donation of their work. Artist’s applications are welcomed from around the world, regardless of their notoriety. A panel ensures that a wide variety of different artistic styles and nationalities are selected. The hotel focuses on contemporary art, and has a thoroughly modern feel throughout.
Marc McGreevy, The Mayfair Hotel
The Mayfair hotel is another historical establishment that has recently decided to appoint its first resident artist. To celebrate its appointment as the official hotel partner of Art13 London, the hotel appointed British fashion and celebrity portrait artist Marc McGreevy to capture the sights of the iconic hotel. Art 13 London celebrated the dynamic London art scene, which is known for its vibrancy and uniqueness. McGreevy’s association with the high-fashion world makes him the perfect fit for the lavish hotel.
Fairmont Hotels is a historic hotel chain that has adopted the idea of an ‘artist in residence program’. Each month an artist will be chosen to live and paint in the hotel for one week, giving guests the opportunity to watch the art develop. Artists will be asked to create work that is either inspired by or tells the story of The Fairmont Banff Spring.
Luxury hotels have adapted the fashion of having an artist in residence to the 21st century. Some hotels are appointing their first ever artist in residence, possibly in response to the backlash against the paparazzi.This restores luxury to the art of image capturing.
There is also an evident move by historical hotels to associate themselves with up and coming modern artists, and to run pioneering programs to open their doors to aspiring artists from around the globe.
Can you think of any other luxury hotels which use an artist in residence? Share in the comments.
Image by Loz Flowers