Art in the kitchen

When it comes to artwork in the kitchen, opinions are divided. There are those who feel that form follows function and prefer to have pots, utensils, or shiny equipment as the decoration in their workspace. Others opt for clean lines with no extraneous items cluttering up the walls or counters. Some people like to have beautiful items in all areas of their home and the kitchen is no exception. If you are among that group, there are plenty of options when it comes to prints or paintings to display. 

pie painting

The most recent item to catch my eye comes from Cook's Illustrated. If you've ever subscribed, you know that the back covers contain beautiful illustrations of various fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Over the past 20 years, renowned illustrator John Burgoyne has produced more than 150 of these hand-drawn images for the magazine. For the first time since the magazine's inception, ATK (parent company of Cook's Illustrated) is offering prints of these gorgeous illustrations in three sizes. All pieces come framed, matted, and ready to hang - but they are not inexpensive. A framed 6x7 inch print will set you back $95 USD, and the 16x20 version costs $245 USD. 

Another option to consider is the artwork of Jacques Pépin. The chef has dabbled in painting for decades, and he offers limited edition prints as well as original paintings on his website. Each print offered by Pépin is part of a limited edition run of 150-200 and is individually  signed and numbered by the chef himself. Again, these are not trivial purchases. The 11x14 inch prints sell for $180 USD without a frame and $330 USD framed and matted.  An original painting will set you back between $3000 and $5000 USD. It's worth noting that a portion of sales from these artworks support  culinary education and sustainability.

If those prices cause a bit of sticker shock, you may want to look closer to home. I stumbled on the whimsical mixed-media piece above during an "art crawl" that featured  paintings, sculpture, pottery, clothing, jewelry and photography from local artisans. This original painting (of a subject near to my heart) cost considerably less than either of the two options above. Local art schools or colleges are other sources to investigate. 

You may wonder how well these hold up in the harsh environment of a kitchen. Most framed prints have protective UV coating on the glass so they fare pretty well. Original oils, acrylics, or watercolors that are not protected by a frame and glass can suffer from exposure to heat, sunlight, or airborne contaminants (think about how your cabinet doors can sometimes get an icky film on them), so you will want to hang them in a location that is somewhat protected. 

2 Comments

  • hillsboroks  on  5/1/2019 at 8:45 AM

    I love art and color in my kitchen but have always been careful about what I choose. For many years I have had a large framed print (under glass) of an elephant playing in a colorful garden which was done by a local Northwest artist. I Also have several large art tiles in brilliant colors of salmon and other fish which seemed just right for a kitchen. Recently I sent my cousin one of Grandma's handmade aprons and some of her handwritten recipes. She plans to frame them in a shadow box for her kitchen.

  • sir_ken_g  on  5/2/2019 at 10:53 AM

    We have many things hanging in our kitchen. Nothing that that valuable. Photos I took of Japanese meals. A Cambodian water lily An advert for Heinz Mandalay sauce A lacquer village scene from Hanoi Postcards of Wallabies A Lao naga thread work etc etc

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