and I feel terrible about it. Things have just been so busy, but I've got a back-log of things I want to share and discuss, so to start tipping the scales in the right direction I thought I'd share this week's blog post from Thomas Jayne's Blog Decoration- Ancient & Modern
This week's post is about the Merchant's House Museum in the East Village. I visited this museum right before I moved to New York and fell in love with it...
I mean, Duncan Phyfe chairs covered in horse hair?
And a Chippendale mirror flanked by callalily gas sconces?
I think we all know by know that I have an affinity for drapery or tassels especially when rendered in materials other than fabric or thread. These 18th century French consoles are particularly beautiful and unusual.
Future husbands please note: if I don't already own these, don't waste your time on a ring.
I stumbled upon these fantastic 1970s gold and bronze glazed tiles in the 34th Street subway station. I hope when this subway is renovated in the next 20 years and these are removed I'll be in position to acquire them for whatever amazing property I'm inhabiting.
The auction house where I grew up offered these chairs for sale this morning. A pair of Herter Brothers chairs designed for the drawing room of the Vanderbilt Mansion on 5th Avenue, circa 1883-84. The upholstery is original and is described in accounts and period images of the house.
Their provenance is as follows:
Provenance: William H. Vanderbilt, New York, 1881
Cornelius Vanderbilt III, New York, 1885
Private collection of a lady El Paso, Texas
Bequeathed to the Centennial Museum at her death in 1969.
Property deaccessioned from the Centennial Museum at the University of Texas at El Paso to benefit the Museum Collections Fund. (Accession #E69.26.347 and E69.26.348)
The estimate, shockingly low in my opinion, was 10,000 - 20,000
The pair sold for 250,000. I really hope someone purchased these for the Metropolitan Museum of Art to ensure their conservation.
Also included in the sale were a pair of Herter Brothers ballroom chairs. Their provenance does not tie them back to the Vanderbilt Mansion, but they were purchased by the same woman who bought the above chairs and donated all of them to the museum in El Paso.
They were estimated to sell for 2,000 - 3,000
Again, incredibly inexpensive for what these are...
I really dislike Degas. What can I say, pastel Ballerinas just don't do it for me. However, mythological/biblical images of women with scarlet ibises really peak my interest. I vaguely remember reading some short story in middle school about a scarlet ibis, and ever since then I've always loved these bizarrely shaped red birds.
I stumbled upon this painting a few weeks ago at work while doing some research and have been fascinated since. It's in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and dates from the early 1860s. Degas made sketches for this painting in Rome between 1857-58. Between 1860-62 he added the ibises. The Met's description mentions that he also added similar birds to his historical painting "Semiramis Building Babylon" around the same time (I don't see the birds, google it and check for yourself. However, be warned- the name is more impressive than the actual painting which leaves MUCH to be desired).
I love the vague Oriental cityscape in the background...
This painting has singlehandedly reformed my opinion on Degas.