An Ode To Rouge: Our Female Artist Collection

17 April 2024

London has always been a leading destination for art lovers, but 2024 is set to be a vintage year, particularly for female artists, with a Yoko Ono retrospective, and exhibitions celebrating Angelica Kauffman and Judy Chicago. Alongside these major shows, The Connaught’s own Red Room offers a sanctuary where art, design and hospitality come together in perfect harmony.

A view of The Red Room, with its works of art and comfortable armchairs give a warm atmosphere in a luxurious interior.
Soft creams, blush pinks and pearl blues form a soothing palette that can be seen in the modern interior of the Red Room.
A view of the Red Room bar. 4 bar stools are tucked behind a pink onyx bar, with shelves of spirits lit up behind it.

What is the best way to experience art? Museums and galleries often hold hundreds, if not thousands of artworks. From knowing where to start to how much time you’ll need, viewing art can be overwhelming. Citing research that found that most gallery visitors spend just 8 seconds viewing each work, London’s Tate organisation advocate a ‘slow looking’ approach. Their advice is that to really get the most out of a piece of art, ‘you have to spend time with it’. A stance shared by the minds behind The Red Room, where a collection of women-led art is best enjoyed slowly, over a glass of wine. 

Make your way through The Connaught’s Champagne Room and you’ll spot an enticing velvet-curtained doorway nestled in the far corner. Cross this threshold, and you’ll unveil a soft-hued room in pinks and reds, with a dazzling rose onyx bar, cosy nooks, and organic curves. Hidden away, yet open to all, the Red Room has a distinct lack of hard edges, and a cocooning feel. With a relaxing atmosphere and soothing palette, this is a space with a purpose – the ideal place to slow down, to lose yourself with a carefully curated wine list, and to experience art at a more leisurely pace.

The Red Room has the feeling of entering an art collector’s living room. The music and lighting are relaxed, and guests are really fascinated by the artworks.

Oscar Angeloni, Bar Manager

The artists behind the collection

Amid the calming cream and blush tones, splashes of red reveal the art itself, a collection in crimson, by four female visionaries. 

Red abstract painting with a white outline and hung on the wall in a black frame.
Triangular lamp with a red crystal-like base sat on the pink onxy bar, with spirits in the background.
Abstract painting comprising of varying colours of red, hung on the wall in a thin red frame.

Louise Bourgeois

Drawing the eye through the room, Bourgeois’ watercolour and gouache work ‘I am Rouge’ takes centre stage, a striking piece of word-art that typifies the artist’s recurring use of the colour red. With a career that spanned eight decades, Louise Bourgeois was a central figure in the contemporary art world. For her, art was a form of therapy, and her work often reflected her childhood experiences. Another of her works, an untitled holographic piece, features a scarlet-saturated, dreamlike scene of a chair encased in a bell-jar.

Jenny Holzer

New York based artist Holzer’s ‘Benghazi’ is a modification of previously-censored US government documents in brilliant shades of red. With a studio in Brooklyn, her interest in declassified documents developed after the events of 9-11. Words (or their absence in this case) often play a central part in her work.

Ti-a Thuy Nguyen

A mass of roiling red clouds, Ti-a Thuy Nguyen’s ‘Scarlet Mist’ dominates another wall of the bar. Inspired by global warming, it represents a degradation of the natural environment. Hailing from Vietnam, Nguyen’s art draws on a wide range of cultural references, and is executed across a broad range of mediums, from installations to paintings, drawing, film and fashion design.

Trina McKillen

McKillen’s ‘Composition #8’ is the only photographic work to feature in the collection. Raised in Belfast amid the era of The Troubles, McKillen’s childhood was one of two halves. At home, there was safety and love, while danger and chaos pervaded the streets. Her work often reflects this early experience, featuring a dichotomy of opposites existing side by side.

From visuals to victuals

Martini with a red base on a marble table.
Red cocktail in a small glass, with a bottle of rose wine behind it.
Glass of red wine with the bottle placed behind.
Red cocktail in a glass with a stem.

The selection of modern art is complemented by another curated collection, this time in the form of rare vintages and first growths. At the heart of the Red Room lies its wine list – an exquisite selection drawn from The Connaught’s legendary cellars (featuring a healthy number of reds, naturally). And, in keeping with the laid-back atmosphere, many of these celebrated wines can be enjoyed by the glass.

The Red Room may be the best wine bar in Mayfair, but it caters to all tastes. For the ultimate in artistic immersion, dip into the unique cocktail menu. Inspired by ‘I am Rouge’, The Red Cocktail is a work of art in itself; a deep russet blend of Remy Martin XO, Pisco, and Morgon 2021, topped with a dramatic white and red chocolate garnish. Strikingly minimalist and echoing Bourgeois’ hologram piece, The White Cocktail features Connaught Bar Gin, a dash of Sancerre, and pink grapefruit juice, and is cleverly garnished with a dot of red cocoa butter that projects from the bottom of the glass. 

Whether dropping in for a catch up with friends, or continuing the buzz of an afternoon at Frieze, The Red Room offers what so many museums and galleries can’t – something more akin to a private viewing, an experience to luxuriate in. A place to realise that when it comes to art, the longer you look, the more you gain.


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