Opt Art is a Swiss publishing company founded in 1993 by photographer Bruno Hausch and Christine Messer Hausch with the aim of producing high-quality periodicals and limited edition books that emphasize the art in culinary arts.
Their first series to emerge was the semi-annual Opt Art magazine. Each issue—with text in French, English, and German—showcased restaurants and chefs around the world with biographical material and examples of the food and recipes from their restaurants. Bruno’s striking full-page photography emphasized the elegance of plated dishes.
Opt Art magazine organically evolved into Culinary Chronicle, a hardcover, slipcased annual book series with the same vision as the original magazine—and a larger budget. They also went on to publish a handful of monographs in the meantime. The whole project, however, came to an abrupt end in 2004 when Bruno Hausch died in a mountaineering accident—though Opt Art, now headed by managing partner Dirk Wallenburg and photographer Ferenc Dancsecs, did indeed rise again last year with a new issue of Culinary Chronicle.
We offer here a complete set—previously owned and Very Good, shelfworn—of the magazine that started it all. Volumes 1–5 are 11” x 14 ½ ;” volume 6 is slightly smaller at 9 ½” x 13 ½ .”
Volume 1 (1993) includes profiles of chefs Émile Jung of Au Crocodile in Strasbourg, Annie Féolde of Enoteca Pinchiorri in Firenze, Georges Blanc of his eponymous restaurant in Vonnas, Harald Wohlfahrt of Schwarzwaldstube in Baiersbronn, Santi Santamaria of El Raco de Can Fabes in Sant Celoni, Raymond Blanc of Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxford, and an interlude about the favored Bresse chicken and another on Spanish painter Antoni Tàpies.
Volume 2 (1994) includes profiles of chef Sirio Maccioni of Le Cirque in New York, Pierre Gagnaire of his eponymous restaurant in Saint-Étienne, Dieter Kaufmann of Zur Traube in Grevenbroich, Jean-Pierre Bruneau of his eponymous restaurant in Bruxelles, and Marc Haeberlin of Auberge de L’Ill in Illhaeusern, as well as on Spanish painter Miquel Barceló and another on oysters.
Volume 3 (1994) includes profiles on chefs Eckart Witzigmann of Aubergine in Munich, Joël Robuchon and Guy Savoy of their eponymous restaurants in Paris, Helmut Österreicher of Steirereck in Wien, Guido Alciati of Da Guido in Costigliole D’Asti, German painter and sculptor Markus Lüpertz, and another on Barolo.
Volume 4 (1995) includes profiles on chefs Roland Pierroz of Hotel Rosalp in Verbier, Roland Jöhri of Jöhri’s Talvo in St. Moritz, Bernard Loiseau of La Côte D’or in Saulieu, Heinz Winkler of his eponymous restaurant in Aschau, as well as one on the Valais region of Switzerland and another on the Provence region of France.
Volume 5 (1996) shifts focus to different geographic regions, profiling the area, people, cuisines, and wines of Mallorca, Amsterdam, and lower Austria, finishing with a piece on the wines of New Zealand.
Volume 6 (1996) also takes a broader scope including a piece on the Alta Badia valley in the Dolomite Mountains, a piece on the people and culture of Belgium, another on sturgeon, and a profile of Belgian chef Roger Souvereyns of Scholtenshof in Stevoort.