Monday, August 6, 2012

These things are ridiculous

... and I can't help but love them.

 I stumbled upon this British circa 1850 example at the Philadelphia Museum of Art last weekend...

American, circa 1850. The seat cushions are dreadful...

but the decoration? Superb. 

and per usual Florian Papp always has something incredible...

The upholstery is relatively unfortunate, but again, the decoration is really extraordinary...

I particularly enjoy the Moravian star detail

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Something I'd like to own...

Male Nude, Seen from Behind

Hippolyte Flandrin  (French, Lyons 1809–1864 Rome)

Monday, June 18, 2012

To Die For

A set of four green painted and parcel gilt side chairs, circa 1965
by Pierre Delbee of Maison Jansen


Sold at Christie's London, 2009 for $16,000
$6,000 over their estimate.

Friday, June 1, 2012

I've been awful...

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?

Come on.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


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. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Up at the Villa...

Anne Bancroft is looking fabulous.

Her best line of the film?
" know, sex and champagne in the afternoon or something like that."

And the sets aren't half bad either... 1930s fascist architecture and Florentine villa casualness meets Sister Parish chic. Definitely worth a view. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The most sybaritic sale to date

I stumbled across Sotheby's sale of the Collection of Prince and Princess Henry De la Tour d'Auvergne Lauraguais the other day at work. If only I was in London on May 3rd... 
I could definitely find a few things to bring back to New York.

A gilt bronze mounted mahogany green painted and parcel gilt campaign bed, Empire, 1st quarter of the 19th Century

Two pomegranates, Qajar, Persia 19th Century

Three gilt bronze and green painted tole chandeliers, Empire Style, 20th century

A silk and metal thread applique "bohca" panel, Ottoman, Bursa, or Istanbul, 19th Century
(ethnic textiles are a new love)

Emilio Terry (1890-1969) An Ornate Fountain, 1931
A number of these fantastical sketches are included in the sale

You won't be disappointed... the Prince and Princess were studied sybarites.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Who said subways can't be glamorous?

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.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Something fantastic at Beauvais...

While waiting for samples at Beauvais Carpet the other day I stumbled upon this amazing Louis XIV Gobelins Tapestry screen...

I typically don't go for things like this...


I think I could get used to them.

Friday, March 30, 2012

More Herter Brothers

John Tackett over at The Devoted Classicist sent me this image of the Vanderbilt Drawing Room on 5th Avenue which shows the chairs from my previous post in situ. 

The garnet studded onyx columns seen above the chair are now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Herter Brothers for the Vanderbilts

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...
They sold for 60,000.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

As a general rule...

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.