Galerie Downtown, Paris, specialists in 20th-century furniture, installed furnishings from a private house in Montmartre. “Charlotte Perriand was close to the owners, Jean and Huguette Borot, and for thirty years designed for them. It was one of her last private commissions,” said Hélin Serre, director of the gallery. He said the bookcase with white woodwork and sliding woven-rush door panels and three integrated lights, 106" x 111" x 13¾", is similar to one Perriand made for her own flat in Paris. Its price was available on request. The stairs, red lacquer, steel, and Oregon pine, 50" x 27½" x 80", are from the Borot house. The asking price for the stairs was $150,000.
Robert Aibel of Moderne Gallery, Philadelphia, offered a Nakashima triple chest of drawers with a sliding door cabinet above it, a special commission in 1964 for a Pittsburgh client, for $95,000. Designer Paul Planert of Pittsburgh used Nakashima furniture in all his projects. The pots on top of the chest are by 40-year-old potter Akiko Hirai; they were offered for $6500 each. The Nakashima desk was priced at $60,000, and the Conoid chair pulled up to it was priced at $6500. The Wendell Castle coffee table was offered for $75,000, and the Nakashima coffee table was $65,000.
Among the icons in furniture history is this 1903 Arts and Crafts cabinet by Charles Robert Ashbee. The ebonized oak and copper cabinet was made by the Guild of Handicraft in England for Ashbee’s house called “The Magpie and Stump” at 37-39 Cheney Walk, Chelsea, and was owned by the Ashbee family until 1968. The original drawing exists. It was offered for $150,000 from Oscar Graf of Paris, who shared a stand with Yves Macaux.
Bernd Goeckler offered a complete set of commedia dell’arte figurines by Fulvio Bianconi (1915-1996), circa 1950, for Venini; it was priced at $75,000 and is one of only two complete sets known.
Barry Friedman and Carole Hochman sit on Wendell Castle Secret Moon chairs, $115,000 each from Barry Friedman Ltd., New York City. They sold. The photographs by Wang Wusheng (b. 1945) were offered for $12,500 each.
The Nest chandelier of brushed brass by Salomé de Fontainieu is on a dimmer and can be as bright as 1400 watts. There is one in the Minister of Culture’s office in Paris. It was priced at $18,000 from Diane de Polignac of Paris.\
Jean David Botella of Paris asked $95,000 for this lacquer screen by François-Xavier Lalanne.
At the the Kraemer stand was an exceptional Louis XVI vernis Martin, Japanese lacquer, and ebony veneer chest with doors, rounded corner shelves, chased openwork, gilded bronze mounts, and a white marble top on four tapering octagonal fluted legs, stamped “Carlin,” similar to one at the Louvre. Kraemer photo.
New York City
by Lita Solis-Cohen
When show promoter Sanford Smith’s long-running Modernism show died two years ago, he realized he needed to think outside the box.
In 2011 he agreed to work with Patrick Perrin who, after successful shows in Paris and London, had tried for ten years to bring his Pavilion of Art and Design to New York City’s Park Avenue Armory. With Smith’s endorsement, he succeeded. Those who came to the armory to see PAD, as Perrin calls his fairs, said it was the best quality of any Modernism show. Simply designed, with spacious stands for 49 dealers, the show put 20th-century paintings, sculpture, furniture, silver, and ceramics on equal footing. Many hoped it would be an annual event, but that did not happen. The Perrin-Smith partnership did not work well. Smith built the show in less than a day and a half using his long relationship with the armory, construction crews, electricians, and the unions to get the job done, but he received no credit for it from Perrin. His name was not in the catalog. Smith vowed never to work with Perrin again.
As if to show Perrin he could do him one better, Smith teamed up with France’s Syndicat National des Antiquaires for The Salon Art + Design, held November 8-12, 2012. Twenty-six members of the syndicat who had shown at the Paris Biennale came to New York for the show. In a half-page story in the Friday arts section, the New York Timescalled it museum quality.
It was. The floor plan was straightforward with four aisles. Dealers from seven countries, America, Great Britain, Canada, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, and Scandinavia, joined the Parisians for a first-rate fair.
“There is a perfect mélange between modern, contemporary, and ancient, a surprising rhythm,” said Joan Mirviss, who exhibited masterworks of 20th-century Japanese potters. “It’s the Biennale meets Maastricht,” said Greg Kuharic, who was helping Long Island dealer David Weinstein of DJL Lalique show the rarest Lalique jewelry, lighting, furniture, and vases. It was a small sample of a European fair.
The show did not happen without drama. Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc in parts of New York and New Jersey the week before the show. Crews that built the show were cut in half. Workers were either repairing their own houses or could not get enough rationed gasoline to get into the city. In addition, on Wednesday, November 7, when a preview party to benefit Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club was scheduled, there was a snowstorm in Manhattan. The press was called the night before and told not to come during the day because the stands were still being built. Seventy interior decorators, who were invited to lunch on Wednesday and given four free tickets for clients, came and saw a show in the making. They were told to come back with clients during its five-day run.
Martha Schwendener, a New York Timeswriter, was given an hour and a half for a quick walk-through on Wednesday afternoon. She went back to her desk and filed a glowing story about old master and modern paintings, 18th-century French furniture, furniture designed by Charlotte Perriand, postwar Japanese ceramics, and a portfolio of Russian constructivist prints by El Lissitzky. It was Schwendener’s suggestion that there were enough major works at this show to create a small museum.
She was right. For example, Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s The Harvest (1621) was offered for $6.5 million by De Jonckheere, Paris; it’s a masterpiece. So is Catherine the Great’s large upright double secretary of mahogany with gilded bronze mounts and an organ inside, the pipes hidden behind the drawers, by David Roentgen of Neuwied and Paris. It was built between 1783 and 1787 when the Roentgen firm received numerous commissions from Catherine the Great. It was listed as “price on request” but was in the millions, from Kraemer of Paris. It was a relevant piece for Kraemer to bring to New York because Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgenswas on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Since 1875 the Kraemer firm has supplied museum-quality French furniture and lighting to an international clientele that includes generations of sophisticated Americans such as Mrs. Alexander Hamilton Rice, George Widener, and J. Paul Getty. Kraemer came to New York to meet American clients.
“The new generation wants to have modern sculpture and paintings with eighteenth-century French furniture. It is a perfect mix,” said Sandra Kraemer-Ifrah, the sixth generation in the family business. “We have made a small attempt to show what we have in Paris, and we created a stand to resemble our gallery where there are no show windows. We are very discreet, but we want people to come in and have a look.”
The Kraemer stand had high white walls with an embedded video showing chefs-d’oeuvre highlights. The works could not be seen without entering the stand. Inside were half a dozen furniture masterpieces including an exceptional Louis XVI vernis Martin, Japanese lacquer, and ebony veneer cabinet by Martin Carlin. There were also shelves of ormolu candlesticks and exquisite inlaid boxes.
There were masterpieces in several other categories. Donald Ellis of Vancouver and New York City, a dealer in American Indian art, offered a circa 1840 bayetafirst-phase Navajo chief’s blanket that he bought in California, calling it the best blanket of its kind. The asking price was $2.8 million.
Christian Deydier, a Parisian dealer in Chinese, Indian, and central Asian archeology, and chairman of the syndicat, said the French dealers came to America because Americans are not coming in great numbers to the Paris Biennale. “We think the best way to make people want to come to Paris next year is to give them an idea of what we have,” he said. “We think it is important for the art market. We hope to do shows in Hong Kong and Moscow as well.”
Along with the stands with serious works of art, including icons of 20th-century furniture history, particularly Art Deco, French 19th-century ceramics, and jewelry designed by artists, the show also had a number of stands with furniture and decorations, a good selection of stunning lighting, and some major pieces of glass and plenty of contemporary design. Some business was completed, but not enough; the gate was disappointing. The benefit for Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club was sparsely attended because of the snowstorm; more people came to the parties for Scene magazine on Thursday and Planned Parenthood on Friday. During the show’s five-day run, despite the impact of the weather, the right people came and contacts were still made. Smith said Bernard Goldberg, a New York City American art dealer, told him he had his best show ever at the armory and wishes there were more shows like this one. There will be.
Smith said 85% of the exhibiting dealers signed on for 2013, and two weeks after the show closed, he announced his newest fair, The Salon: Masterworks, Fine Art from the Renaissance through the 20th Century. The show will take place at the Park Avenue Armory. Smith likes the brand name Salon. “This will be a fine art only show,” he said. It is scheduled for May 9-13 when the New York edition of Frieze, the London contemporary art show, will be on Randall’s Island. Smith apparently was inspired by Frieze Masters, London, a new fair that was held in October that caused a buzz when it was launched in Regent’s Park, about a 20-minute walk across the park from Frieze London. Those who attended said it gave a kaleidoscopic view of art history. It was attended by a knowledgeable group of collectors and was a big success.
Smith apparently thinks it is a good idea to do an art show like Frieze Masters at the armory when Frieze makes its New York debut in May. It is not a 20-minute walk from Randall’s Island, which is accessible by public transportation and by car or taxi. A lot of people will be in the city that week.
|Galerie Christian Deydier, Paris, offered this rare dragon fish vase from the Tang Dynasty for $160,000.|
This chandelier by Frederik Molenschot (b. 1981) was offered for $68,000 from Carpenters Workshop Gallery. Lighting was a big part of Salon Art + Design.
Originally published in the February 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest