The Massimo Bottura’s Collection


    The chef with the passion for art

    “The most important ingredient of the future is culture”: this is why Massimo Bottura has made art into a philosophy of life and business.

    Massimo Bottura, volcanic chef and founder of the Osteria Francescana in Modena, awarded with three Michelin stars and elected twice (2016 and 2018) as the best restaurant in the world in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants ranking, shares with his wife Lara Gilmore not only an ethical philosophy for cooking, but an extraordinary passion for art.

    The love for art and collecting pushes the couple to try their hand at new projects that involve their taste and vision of beauty materialize in entrepreneurial initiatives destined to be successful.

    The starred chef loves to collect works of art and old vinyl records, and explains that “collecting does not concern possession, but the will to preserve and share, because the desire to surround oneself with art is a stimulus to look at the world from a other perspective “.

    Bottura’s art collection began in 1995, but the first true contemporary work of art was acquired in the Modenese gallery of Emilio Mazzoli, still his great friend, with a work by the artist Marco Cingolani. Over time the collection grows, based not so much on the impulse of owning objects, as on letting yourself be overwhelmed by the works and artists with which Bottura and his wife create indissoluble bonds of friendship such as that with JR, Maurizio Cattelan, Maurizio Nannucci, Simon Sterling , Carlo Benvenuto, among the most loved artists, Vik Muniz or Shirin Neshat.

    Bottura’s parterre de rois could be envied by many international museums, in fact it includes works of modern and contemporary art with the likes of Joseph Beuys, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Sandro Chia, Enzo Cucchi, Mimmo Paladino, Vanessa Beecroft, Mario Schifano, Jonas Wood , Cindy Sherman, Shirin Neshat, Julie Mehretu or Tracey Emin, which find space in the places most lived by the Bottura family such as houses and restaurants in a continuous osmosis of inspiration.

    In fact, the relationship between the good and the beautiful is pulsating in Bottura’s vision, so much so that he decided to exhibit his art collection in his restaurants – which embody the ethical concept of the Refectory – where “the quality of food is also the quality of ideas “.

    There is no shortage of restaurants that even bear the name of some works of art such as the one in Dubai called “TORNO SUBITO”, inspired by the title of a 1989 work by Maurizio Cattelan – a sort of happening that consecrates the artist’s success, to beginnings of his career.

    The real excellence of the union between art and catering is the Osteria Francescana, where art finds its place not only on the walls, but also in the extraordinary dishes freely inspired by the works. Many names of the artists involved such as Marcel Wanders, Dan Colen, Giuliano Della Casa and even Damien Hirst

    A few kilometers from Osteria Francescana Massimo and Lara have opened Casa Maria Luigia, a resort with the soul of a museum. Contemporary art, design, music, vintage and antiques are the real protagonists of the spaces, which house precious works of art such as the Lego triptych by Ai Weiwei, “Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn”, in which the performer is depicted while breaking a two thousand year old Chinese vase. This work is very significant for Bottura, a metaphor for his creative process that sees art as the kitchen: “To evolve, the chef / artist must have a look at the past and the will to recreate the future”.

    Massimo Bottura’s interest in art does not end with collecting.

    In 2019, in fact, he was exceptional curator for the Sotheby’s “Contemporary Curated” auction, selecting some of his favorite pieces from the over 300 lots on sale.

    Among the names chosen Alighiero Boetti, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Ugo Rondinone or Alex Katz.

    In addition, his love for art is such that he has made a tattoo with the work of Nannucci “No More Excuses”, written in neon which also appears at the entrance of one of his Refector.

    And you, did you know Massimo Bottura’s passion for art?


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