Best Restaurant Painting, Revisited San Francisco 2000 - The Kiss II
Last year, we gave this honor to The Butler's in Love -- Absinthe, at Bix, by artist Mark Stock. But a funny thing happened while we were researching the award: Staff at Bix provided a postcard depicting Butler, plus another of The Kiss II, which also hangs at Bix and was also, as it so happens, painted by Stock. We put both on our desk, contemplated them for a year, and while the eerily smoldering Butler is still one of our favorite restaurant paintings, there's something about Kiss we just can't get over. A simple portrait of a clown kissing a ballerina (and vice versa), the painting seems to comment on the roles we play in life, and how easily they dissolve in the throes of passion. Or maybe Kiss is saying all men are clowns. Regardless, it's one hell of a painting.