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Art

Animalia

Animalia

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The 2016 San Francisco Fall Art and Antiques Show (SFFAS) celebrated its 35th year with a refreshing sense of design, beauty and whimsy.

This year’s fanciful theme of ‘Animalia’ took us back in time to remind us of mankind’s documented allure and fascination of the animal kingdom.   Derived from the Latin word ‘animalis’, animalia translates in part to ‘having soul’.  How fitting to apply this definition to art and antiques which I always refer to as such - ‘having soul’.  These pieces have a story, a history and perhaps most importantly, unique charm.  Animals, in any form of decoration, invoke an immediate sense of character to a room!

Since the beginning of civilization, creators of any sort have been captivated with the animal kingdom and have expressed this in almost every medium imaginable - from stone carvings to pottery to wood carving to canvas, just to name a few.   These influences are evident in art and antiques, from antiquities to the contemporary.

De Gournay wallcoverings and Farrow & Ball paint, both generous sponsors of the SFFAS, enhanced the feel of the show in the most magical way.  The Grand Entry Hall once again displayed designer vignettes created by Catherine Kwong, Ann Getty, Antonio Martins and Jonathan Rachman. Each of these vignette’s walls were adorned by custom desgined De Gournay wallcoverings.  In fact, my cover photo is that of Antonio Martins’ bespoke design with de Gournay of the exotic Brazilian mangrove jungle.   Divine!

In the horizon, each antique or art dealer seleceted a Farrow & Ball paint color for their own vignettes creating a subliminal sense of continuity yet a diverse color palatte.  It was stricking to see the power of paint and color as it relates to how art and antiques come to life in a space.

The SFFAS Lecture Series, as always, was a design dream.  Lectures and discussions included guest speakers such as Peter Pennoyer and Katie Ridder, James Reginato, David Netto, Chara Schreyer and Gary Hutton, Suzanne Rheinstein, Madeline StuartSteven Volpe and Carl J. Dellatore, and Janice Lyle

The annual Institute of Classical Architecture and Art’s (ICAA) Northern California Chapter Lunch and Lecture, held on Designer Saturday, honored the inimatble New York decorator Alexa Hampton.  Her lecture following the luncheon, entitled ‘Decorating with Art, Antiques and People’ left us all laughing somewhat uncontrollably!  Alexa is a delight beyond words and we were honored to have her visit San Francisco.

Parties and events were abundant, shopping was inspiring and a wonderful time was had by all.  Already anticipating what 2017 will bring, I hope you enjoy the 2016 show!

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Cuba

Cuba

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My recent trip to Cuba was nothing less than enriching as it instantly exposed the almost secret opulence of a preserved and rich cultural history. The Sir John Soane’s Museum Foundation’s trip to Cuba was as wonderful as I can imagine a tour to be.   Chas Miller, the Foundation’s Executive Director, along with our wonderful Cuban guide Abel, diligently led us through Cuba visiting places that not many others can see. We were also so fortunate to have Tom Kligerman, who serves as President of the Soane Foundation, on our trip as he shared with us his architectural expertise and fascination of this magical island.

The Cuban people are proud of their country. During the 18th century, Cuba became the world’s largest sugar producer after achieving great wealth from its rich soil and sugarcane plantations. Cities such as Havana were filled with elegant stone mansions and exuberant palaces. Having endured several revolutions, it resumed its independence and wealth to later become known as the ‘jewel in the Caribbean crown’.

The island is literally a time capsule - it’s as if the clock stopped moving in 1960 upon the United States imposing the embargo against Cuba. The ubiquitous colorful 1950’s cars on the streets, the flea-market find vintage tableware at restaurants, and the very obvious lack of technology make one feel they are back in time over five decades ago.

The splendor of Cuba in its heyday between 1902 and 1959, is still very obvious beneath the crumbling facades of both interiors and exteriors. The classical architecture is pure – deteriorating but still in its original form with its integrity never having been compromised.  Breath taking examples of such architecture exists with Beaux Arts buildings, Moorish, Art Nouveau and Art Deco influences, and then the beginnings of modernism, which are all prevalent. Not having freedom or money for so many decades has in a very twisted way preserved a magnificent island.

The natural beauty, architecture, culture, food, music and the rich history make for an extraordinary Caribbean island to visit. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves now. You will get a quick taste of the beauty of Cuba!

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San Francisco Fall Antiques Show

San Francisco Fall Antiques Show

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The 34th annual San Francisco Fall Antiques Show (SFFAS) in October was an exquisite visual feast while at the same time an opportunity to experience firsthand the theme ‘Time After Time: Bringing the Past Present’.

The show, truly one of the most beautiful in the country, displayed collections of antiques, art, photographs, jewelry, porcelain, silver, rugs and textiles (amongst many other things!) from purveyors around the world. The theme of ‘Bringing the Past Present’ could not have been more relevant as it showcased how all of these treasures spanning centuries of time are perfectly fitting in today’s interiors bringing with them a chic and unique sense of timelessness, history and soul.

Show Chair Suzanne Tucker and Show Director Ariane Trimuschat were at the helm of this monumental event enjoying a smashing Opening Night Preview Gala followed by a well deserved sense of resurging success and excitement throughout the show. It should be noted that the proceeds of the show benefit the San Francisco non-profit Enterprise for High School Students which assists local high school students in employment and higher education.

The Designer Vignettes also made an exciting return to the Grand Entry Hall after a respite of many years with spaces designed by Fisher Weisman, Geoffrey De Sousa and me. The dramatic shingled pergola structure was designed by Ike, Kligerman, Barkley (IKB) while the interior walls of all three vignettes were spectacular custom designs by each of the designers and very generously handmade by de Gournay.

My vignette can be seen with the pink de Gournay 'Flowered Damask' wall covering which is based on an 18th Century English textile pattern that we greatly enlarged to create a more modern feel.  The stencil type pattern is then painted on paper using a special technique which creates a bas-relief (raised) effect after which it is silver leafed and finally antiqued with a rose wash.  With a graphic glossy white and grey painted floor by Stancil Studios, and borrowed antiques and art from dealers at the show, the space transcends the test of time.

In addition to exhibiting such magical antiques and art, SFFAS offered inspiring lectures by the likes of Bunny Williams and Brian McCarthy who shared fascinating stories of their years working for the venerable decorating firm of Parish-Hadley per their new book entitled ‘The Parish-Hadley Tree of Life’. Other wonderful lecturers included Hutton Wilkinson, Manfred Kuhnert, Andrew Price, Count Gonzague Saint Bris, and Jeffrey Wiseman.

Along with designing the Grand Entry Hall black shingled structure, IKB was also honored by the Northern California Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art (ICAA) at their annual Designer Saturday Lunch and Lecture event. After the wonderful lunch, John Ike, Tom Kligerman and Joel Barkley delighted us all with a spirited panel discussion moderated by Chapter President Coby Everdell on their stunning new book ‘The New Shingled House’.

All in all, it was a fabulous few shopping days for anyone seeking decorative arts inspiration! I’m already looking forward to the 2016 SFFAS!

 

NOTE: Photo below of the three vignettes taken by Tom Kligerman.

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Musée Picasso

Musée Picasso

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The much anticipated reopening of the Musée Picasso Paris in 2014 is incredibly impressive.   For the last five years, a museum I had become enamored with over a decade ago has undergone a tumultuous renovation that is an artistic drama in and of itself. The museum’s public space almost tripled to 58,000 square feet, it’s budget virtually doubled to $70 million, and with allegations of mismanagement and dissent, museum directors were shockingly dismissed. Although the completion was delayed for years, it was still all worth the wait and hopefully the melodrama has all been forgotten!

Located in the Hôtel Salé, the gallery is one of the finest 17th century Baroque mansions in the Marais district of Paris.   Welcomed by an expansive interior courtyard and upon entering the fine Parisian house, one can see the interior architectural detail is as curious and beautiful as the art it houses. With four stories of small rooms, a vaulted ceiling basement and a loft like attic floor with exposed beams for Picasso’s personal collection, the experience of the building and its contents are truly a visual feast.

The Musée Picasso collection originated as a series of donations to the State from his heirs in lieu of paying inheritance tax upon his death in 1973. It was also Picasso’s request to his heirs that his personal collection be given to the State. Included in his self-curated collection are pieces he owned by other artists whom he admired including Degas, Cézanne, Miró, Matisse and Henri Rousseau amongst others.

As Picasso proclaimed himself to be the ‘the greatest collector of Picassos in the world’, the museum’s vast compilation of his archives contains over 200,000 paintings, sculptures, ceramics, prints and drawings with thousands of works from all of these techniques, mediums and periods of his life on display. It is almost impossible to begin to describe the significance of the collection.

An additional bonus to the museum is its collection of 50 pieces of furniture and lighting designed by the Swiss sculptor Diego Giacometti. He had been selected by the museum director upon it’s opening in 1985 to create cohesive furnishings as a link between Picasso’s 20th century art forms and the intricacy of the 1659 Baroque Hôtel Salé in which they would reside. The bronze pieces are amusing and delicate with references to nature as evidenced by the animals and tulips in the lighting.

For anyone traveling to Paris, this should most definitely be on the ‘must see’ list of things to do. The Musée Picasso is far more than just a museum – it is many layers of historic art and architecture that leaves one feeling truly saturated with French culture!

http://www.museepicassoparis.fr/en/

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