WHEN: April 13-17
WHERE: Hall 11, Koelnmesse Exhibition Center
HIGHLIGHTS: Billed as the world’s oldest art fair, Art Cologne was
founded by gallerists Hein Stünke and Rudolf Zwirner in 1967 and
welcomed 60,000 visitors last year. The event suffered a decline in
prestige during the aughts, but fair director Daniel Hug restored its
former luster when he took the helm in 2009, creating a more welcoming
experience with a slightly trimmed gallery roster. Among this
edition’s highlights is New Contemporaries, focusing on young galleries,
whose participants will be competing for the Maurice Lacroix Art Award,
which will fund the winner’s participation in next year’s fair. Open
Space, a juried-exhibition section for a limited number of galleries in
the fair’s bar and meeting area, will be organized around the theme
Books’ P(a)lace, with an emphasis on knowledge, stories, and texts. In
addition to regional exhibitors, there will be galleries from 24
countries, including Spain, Switzerland, France, and the U.S.
Hotel im Wasserturm
This renovated water tower became a hotel in 1990. Although the
circular shape creates some odd configurations, the rooms have been
beautifully appointed by French designer Andrée Putman. The 11th-floor
restaurant, La Vision, offers views of Cologne Cathedral and the city
from its roof terrace.
RATES: FROM $180
Excelsior Hotel Ernst
Located next to the city’s celebrated cathedral, this 19th-century
hotel prides itself on attentive service. Its piano bar, winter garden,
and collection of Old Master paintings provide an air of old-world
sophistication, and its restaurant, Hanse Stube, serves first-class
RATES: FROM $285
Popular with business travelers, the Dom has a lovely terrace café
during warm weather. One can admire the adjacent cathedral from the
corner suites, Le Mérou restaurant, and Sir Peter Ustinov’s Bar, which
is decorated with photos and memorabilia of the late British actor and
has live entertainment five nights a week.
RATES: FROM $260
Located in Cologne’s Deutz neighborhood, on the right bank of the
Rhine, this luxury hotel is within walking distance of Art Cologne. The
spacious and modern structure offers a lovely glass atrium, a great
fitness center, and 306 stylish rooms and suites. Its Biergarten, which
opens for the season in April, offers splendid vistas of the city on
RATES: FROM $220
Grandhotel Schloss Bensberg
How often do you get to spend the night in a castle? Located on a
hill nine miles outside Cologne, this Baroque palace was built at the
dawn of the 18th century, but all the rooms have been updated with
modern conveniences. Relax by the fireplace in the stately lobby, or
take advantage of the spa and gorgeous pool. The Vendôme, helmed by chef
Joachim Wissler, is regarded as one of the top restaurants in Germany.
Cars, with or without drivers, are available for guests’ use.
RATES: FROM $285
For more than 20 years, Le Moissonnier has brought a taste of Paris
to Cologne. French chef Eric Menchon gives tradition a contemporary
twist in such dishes as venison with Asian spices and suckling pig
with soba noodles. Friendly service and a charming setting make this
restaurant a favorite with locals.
25 KREFELDER STRASSE
Located in the Excelsior Hotel Ernst, Hanse Stube has earned a
reputation as Cologne’s gute Stube, or "good room," for its French- and
German-influenced cuisine. Mouth-watering dishes include Alsatian goose
for four (which must be ordered in advance) and gilt-head bream with
saffron gnocchi and Riesling foam.
Das Kleine Stapelhauschen
It doesn’t get more authentic than this. Situated in the charming
dining room of a quaint timbered house and hotel, Das Kleine
Stapelhäuschen serves classic German cuisine. Try the roast beef
marinated in a dark brown vinegar sauce with raisins and almonds and the
potato soup, a regional favorite.
After checking out the shops in the Neumarkt neighborhood, stop by
this spacious and welcoming café for organic coffee and delicious apple
strudel. If you crave heartier fare, there is a full menu of dishes made
with local ingredients as well as an extensive wine bar. On Thursday
and Friday evenings, enjoy live piano music under the elegant
Wallraf Richartz Museum & Fondation Corboud
This modern, boxy structure houses an extensive collection of
medieval and Renaissance pictures, with excellent examples of the panel
painting that flourished in Cologne from 1300 to 1550, as well as
Baroque, Realist, and Romantic works. In addition, by merging with the
Corboud Foundation in 2001, the museum acquired the largest collection
of Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist works in Germany. In April it
hosts a show of paintings by the overlooked French academic painter
Explore Cologne’s Roman heritage through such articles of everyday
life as jewelry, portraits, pottery, and the largest assemblage of
locally produced Roman glassware in the world. The collection highlight
is a stunning mosaic of Dionysus from the 3rd century a.d. that was
discovered in 1941 during construction of an air-raid shelter. Since
it would have been difficult to move the work without damaging the
tiles, the museum was constructed around the site where it was found.
Located next to the cathedral, this museum has an incredible
collection of art from the 20th and 21st centuries, including the
world’s third-largest Picasso holdings (after Barcelona and Paris). In
April it will show work by American sculptor Joel Shapiro.
Kathe Kollwitz Museum
Devoted to the works of its namesake painter, printmaker, and
sculptor and located on the second floor of the Neumarkt Passage
shopping arcade, this museum celebrated its 25th anniversary last year.
Its extensive holdings are exhibited according to such themes as war,
mothers and children, and self-portraits, with the highlights being
Kollwitz’s socially engaged prints and 15 bronze sculptures.
Galerie Karsten Greve
At his gallery, founded four decades ago, Karsten Greve shows an
impressive array of artists, including Tony Cragg, Robert Ryman, and Cy
Twombly, and he continues to seek out new discoveries among the younger
Galerie Michael Werner
Michael Werner will be honored with the Art Cologne Prize this year
for his exceptional work during his nearly 50 years as a dealer. His
roster of artists includes Georg Baselitz and Sigmar Polke.
Perla Zayek Modedesign
The Lebanese-born Perla Zayek showcases her timeless evening and
wedding gowns, elegant footwear, and handcrafted bags in her boutique in
the Neumarkt Passage shopping arcade.
WaltHer Konig Bookstore
Walther König is Europe’s largest independent bookstore, with a
branch in London’s Serpentine Gallery. New titles from its staggering
selection include books on Cologne resident Gerhard Richter, Maurizio
Cattelan, and the fabric works of Louise Bourgeois. The shop also has
its own imprint and recently published a beautiful catalogue of Anish
Kapoor’s outdoor sculptures.
Located on a great shopping street in the Neumarkt neighborhood,
Lothar Heubel is known for furniture and other home-decor items from
China, India, Thailand, and several African countries, as well as fine
fabrics and handcrafted accessories. But what really makes shoppers
swoon is the jewelry, especially new and antique silver.
118 BREITE STRASSE
For more destinations, go to indagare.com
"When in Cologne ... for Art Cologne" originally appeared in the March 2011 issue of Modern Painters. For a complete list of articles from this issue available on ARTINFO, see Modern Painters' March 2011 Table of Contents.