Category: Art and Antiques

Eric Zener’s “Tree Series”

By , July 26, 2011

Eric Zener is an amazing, self-taught painter. He was born in 1966 in Astoria, Oregon, but was raised along the California coast in Encinitas.   Interestingly, after college Zener traveled the world for two years, bartering his paintings for room and board.  In 1991, Zener moved to San Francisco, where his mother was previously a violinist for the San Francisco Symphony. His paintings have been showcased worldwide and have won numerous awards.  His art has also been widely featured in publications such as Harper’s Magazine, Travel and Leisure, Traditional Homes, and American Art Collector.

Zener’s works are so detailed and vibrant that they appear to be photographs until you take a close-up look.  Then, the paintings are boldly painted using heavy paint and brushy strokes, almost like an impressionistic piece.  The style is intriguing. He calls this style of painting “Contemporary Renaissance.”

I had the privilege of visiting his exhibition at the Hespe Gallery in San Francisco recently, and I was in awe of his new exhibit, “Tree Series.”  Take a look at some of his striking pieces from the exhibit:


This last piece is a bit of a departure for him.  He had just finished it before the show.  It was oil on canvas, with an  1/8″ of  space then a layer of glass.  The glass was reversed painted with the fire, giving incredible depth and aliveness to the piece. You can learn more about Eric Zener and see samples of his work here.

Design Value of the Week

By , January 12, 2010

As predicted, I’ve already received several auction catalogues this week.  Here is an item from  Bonham’s London “Period Design sale that happened earlier this week.    

                 

Lot No: 336  A 19th century Anglo-Indian teak, bone inlaid and brass travelling writing / dressing box, the hinged lid enclosing a fitted interior including a mirror and hidden secret drawers, distressed(18.5″ wide, 9.5″ deep, 6.5″ high). 

This is listed at $750-1200, with fees.  Remember what we talked about in the last post? “The hammer price is not the price you pay”.   There are always those pesky fees added. And don’t forget customs and shipping.   Guessing that the New Year auction prices will be as soft generally soft as last years,   my estimate for it would have been at the low end of the scale.   Anglo-Indian items are still very hot, but it just sold for $550,including fees.   Still, in a lovely retail environment, the cost would be around $3500.  See what I mean about great values?

Domestically, Bonhams has an item in the New York “American Furniture” sale coming up in late January that I am dreaming about using  to create an  amazing guestroom.                                                                                                                                                                                                          

                                            

                                                      

Lot #  1213:      An American Aesthetic inlaid and ebonized cherrywood bedroom suite
Herter Brothers, New York  circa 1880

OMG!  This is exceptional.  Herter Brothers pieces rarely come on the market.  Their work is in major collections in Europe and the US, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Imagine it in a bright white bedroom, painted white floors, with bedding and curtains of the finest, pure white, 100%  Italian linen.  A pure white, Barcelona leather chair and ottoman would be by the fireplace and white lacquered nightstands would complete the set.  The final touch would be overscaled heavily carved giltwood 18th c.  mirror over the fireplace, and, while we are dreaming,  a set of Franz Kline  paintings. A serene and stunning heaven would be the outcome. 

Given the estimated hammer price of $20-30,000,  this suite would be at least $95,000 in a gallery setting.  If this goes at the low end and you complete the design, you’d have a very chic, million dollar look for a small fraction of that.  At least you could make a down payment on the Franz Kline with the money you saved at auction!

If you need a single room done, I’d suggest you keep an open mind and start watching the auctions.  You’ll come up with something you never would have dreamed of and feel very proud of yourself for your smart thriftiness and your contribution to sustainable design!

Designers Secret Source for Great Values:

By , January 7, 2010

As a professional designer who is hired to design and  furnish an entire estate, top to bottom, draperies to dishes, I have to have a very wide variety of sources to be able to come up with that perfect item to fit that perfect location in that perfect home.  So I am always on the lookout for new and sustainable sources to add to my mental menu of great resources. After so many years in the industry, my mental menu is a very busy place.

There is a place that is very often filled with fabulous pieces at amazing prices, available immediately.  This place took me years and years to master, as it was initially intimidating.  I needed to know exactly what I wanted, be able to recognize the good deal, make sure my client would be happy with it (often sight unseen!), recognize if it was real or fake,  calculate what the price should be,  estimate what repairs might be required and make a very quick decision.  What obscure resource is this??

AUCTIONS!

Auctions are frequented primarily by dealers, designers and private collectors. All those great things in your favorite antique store?  Probably came primarily from auctions.   Local, national and international auctions are available to everyone today.  But unless you are an expert, do not buy that item in the Milan auction sight unseen!

As your blogger, slavishly dedicated to providing expertise in every area of interior design, I will periodically be bringing you information on special pieces that will be available and keep you informed of the upcoming auctions.  Over the course of small posts, you can learn to take advantage of this sustainable resource, too.

But first, a few rules to remember:

1.  Know the source.   The auctions I follow are with auction houses that have, over the years, been consistently reliable with their descriptions, authentications, and valuations.  There are many different houses out there.  Do not be fooled.  Check in to the process they use to determine value and do lots of research before you raise that paddle!

2. Don’t be fooled.  Ask your private, trusted,  expert advisor to evaluate a piece for authentication, repairs required, etc so you know what you are buying. This could be your interior designer, antiques dealer, rug dealer for antique carpets, furniture repair expert, etc.

3.  Understand the terminology.  Attend auctions when you are not planning to bid to get a feel for how they work.

4.  Understand all the fees that will be levied on the piece.   Especially the “Hammer price”.  That is the last price that is bid before the auctioneer says “sold”.  That is NOT the price you will be paying.  Fees will be added for the “house”, the expertise provided, taxes if applicable, storage if required, etc.  Know the terms and conditions.  If your bid is accepted, you are bound to those terms.

5.  Do your Homework.   Discover everything you can about the period, the artist, the production house, etc.  so that you really know what you are buying.

6.  Set your maximum Hammer Price and stick to it.  Sometimes the excitement of the auction gets to a buyer and they keep bidding, especially if they are trying to beat that annoying bidder up in front who already bought everything!

With all of that out of the way, I will bring you items from the auctions I follow so that you can follow them too.

The first sale of the year here in the United States for Bonhams & Butterfields (www.bonhams.com), our top local auction house, is the Sunset Estate Auction in Los Angeles.  This particular auction is for their least expensive items.  A couple of items worth considering are:

A sterling covered box in the form of an apple Tiffany & Co., London, 1991  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The expected Hammer price is listed at $600-800.  So if it sells for that, what would your price be?   Between $732-1176, plus tax, depending on the hammer price, taxes in the state purchased, expert’s fee, etc.  My guess on what this will go for?  Around $550, all inclusive.  My guess is based on my accumulated knowledge from years of auction shopping, plus a sense of today’s market.

But I could be wrong!  Most auctions are now international, with bidders online, on the phone, etc.  You never know who you are bidding against, because they are often not in the room.  Part of the fun of the auction is that you never know what it is going to go for.  When the bid is accepted, I often feel like I WON something for my client!  It is thrilling, because I KNOW I got a good deal and my client will think I am brilliant.

Check out these chairs:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 A set of six Art Deco mahogany and suede upholstered dining chairs

These look very stylish and the finish looks like it was good at one time.  If these were available new and perfect, the set would run about $9000 and up. But with a hammer price of $500-700 for all six, they probably are pretty beat up.  If they are really “Art Deco” they may be diminutive in scale.   If they are Art Deco-Style  from the recent past, they will be more of a size we are use to.  If you are planning to use these regularly, you definitely want to have your advisor sit in them and examine them.  They probably need a lot of repair.  On the other hand, they cost next t0 nothing here, so go ahead and buy them for your daughter’s first apartment and have your carpenter slap some glue on them.  She will be thrilled and her friends will think she is very sophisticated. And you got a steal!

My favorite property in this auction is this pair of lamps:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A pair of Art Deco Palisandre lamps: $1,500 – 2,000. 

Now these look interesting and like they are in good condition.  Palisandre wood was usually from Brazil rainforests, so isn’t a good idea to specify today.  But finding it in a vintage piece, at a great price for a pair of 50” high lamps with shades  really is a good deal.  These would look great either as floor/reading lamps at the end of a sofa, of in a grand entry  table with high ceilings.  If we could find these new, they would run about $8500 for the pair. My guess on what these would cost you from your advisor?  About $1700.   Are you convinced about the value?

Since I read the catalogues regularly and they seem to arrive in the mail every week, I will be bringing you highlights of the auctions.  If you are able to make quick decisions and have an advisor that you can trust, you can get a tremendous value at auction.  Stayed tuned……

The Top Ten Interior Design Books of 2009

By , December 11, 2009

It has been a remarkable year for interior design books. It was hard to pick just ten books, as every month produces beautiful tomes that require hours of lingering. I based my results on the books that inspired and influenced me to grow as a designer, and to dream the dreams of love, beauty and art!

A few of the books are from the archives of designers who are no longer living. Still, their work resonates across the years and seems possibly more relevant than when it was first done. Or perhaps it is just me being too young to catch on!

So here they are, in alphabetical order:

1. An Affair with a House; by Bunny Williams- A Charming story of her 30 year affair with a farmhouse, a barn and 12 acres in a New England village.

2. David Hicks-A life of Design; by Ashley Hicks. This is a book written by Hicks son, Ashley. It is chock full of dishy stories about Hicks glamourous, celebrity filled life, but also contains hundreds of illustrations showing the most chic applications of the 70’s asthetic.

3. Defining Luxury; by Jeffrey Bilhuber. Jeffrey’s style is one of courageous color and highly customized furnishings mixed with flea market finds. He defines luxury as finding joy in the ever present abundance of life. Beautiful, fun and very livable rooms.

 4.  Glamour: Making it Modern; by Michael Lassell.  This is a collection from the archives of Metropolitan Home magazine.  Since the magazine has closed and December 2009 will be their last issue, this book showcases a collection of some of their most sophisticated designs and shows how glamour has nothing to do with the size of a home and everything to do with the style in which it was created.

5. Glamorous Rooms; by Jan Showers and Michael Kors. Showers is a designer from Dallas with a showroom and a product line. Check out her great lamps at janshowers.com. She also goes elegant classical interiors with a fresh look for today.

6. Michael Taylor Interior Design; by Stephen M. Salny. This wonderful book showcases the work of San Francisco designer Michael Taylor. His work began in the 1950’s and continued through his death in 1986. Looking at the photos throughout his career, it is a reminder how classic interiors never look dated because they are not trendy. These could be shown in magazines today and receive rave reviews! His work is always inspiring.

7. More is More—Tony Duquette; by Hutton Wilkinson. This is the second book about Duquette, the California interior designer, that was written by Wilkinson. The first book was filled with wonderful photographs of Duquette work and this one is also. He was a designer of jewelry, fashion, stage sets, interiors, lighting, fabrics, and the list goes on and on. As an extraordinary artist with a unique vision, inspiration comes with every page. He is the man who would use egg cartons and plastic nursery pots and make them look fabulous, architectural and DIVINE!


8. The Private world of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge; by Robert Murphy. The photos in this book are enough to make you slip into a dream for a week! These gentlemen shared 8 different homes and filled each of them with the finest of art and antiques. Every piece in the collection is amazing for its rarity and for the quality of the execution of the artist. Although the rooms are overfilled with objects and drama, each piece in each room is exquisite and worth examining. Too bad most of it was sold at auction this year and not kept together in a museum that we all could visit.


9. Style and Substance: the Best of Elle Decor; by Margaret Russell, editor. Gleaned from the archives of the sophisticated magazine, this is a beautiful book that spans the 20 years the magazine has been in business. Since it is probably my favorite magazine, I adore every page.


10. Villa; by John Saladino. Alphabetically last, but not the least of my favorites, this is the story of Saladino’s love affair with a classic Santa Barbara house. He found and purchased the home in 2001 and painstakingly restored and renovated it. A gorgeous home of classic style, Saladino, who is both an acclaimed architect and an interior designer, has created a home of impossible beauty and has filled it with a profound collection of antiques, artifacts and his own line of custom furnishings. He is definitely on the short list of architects who I will consider to build my dream home in my next life!

Sausalito Art Festival

By , September 21, 2009

This past Labor Day I went to Sausalito for the annual Sausalito Art Festival. This festival takes place every year over labor day and is one of the more sophisticated art festivals in the country. Sausalito is a lovely little village enclave with bungalows whose roofs sit – quite literally – in the clouds! With gorgeous blue skies, warm breezes and booth after booth of art, what better way to spend the day? Continue reading 'Sausalito Art Festival'»

Jane on Decorati.com

By , June 30, 2009

I’m so pleased to share with you our newest press coverage at Decorati.com, the #1 decorating blog in the country. The site offers a wealth of great information, such as “shop this picture,” where one click lets you shop the online stores that carry all of the items in the photographed room. When I am looking for a special item at a low price I check out the sample sale where I often get lucky enough to find it! Continue reading 'Jane on Decorati.com'»

The Art Sale of the Century!

By , February 10, 2009

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Yves Saint Laurent in the grand salon of his apartment on Rue de Babylone with model Sibyl Buck, October 27, 1995. They are surrounded by the Surrealist-period Léger painting The Black Profile (1928), sold by the artist’s widow, and Jean Dunand’s 1925 Art Deco brass-and-lacquer vase, among the treasures to be auctioned at the Grand Palais, in Paris, February 23 to 25. By Jean-Marie Perier/From Photos12/Polaris.

The Yves Saint Laurent auction at Christie’s will present one of the premiere art collections of the 20th century. The auction collection has over 700 items and is estimated to be between $300-400 million in value. The photos I have seen of the apartments that Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge lived in are filled with amazing pieces that are rarely available to purchase. The items could create their own museum, but instead will go,scattered over the world item by item, to be loved and enjoyed by a lucky few individuals. This auction is destined to heavily influence furnishings and interiors for the next 10 years. Continue reading 'The Art Sale of the Century!'»

Heaven just might be in Puerto Vallarta….

By , February 2, 2009

I just returned from a magical holiday in Puerto Vallarta. Although I’ve been to several other places in Mexico, this was my first trip to Vallarta. As always, I wanted to stay in a well designed hotel, one that would allow me to experience one of the best designs of the region I am visiting. I found this at the Hacienda San Angel in the Centro region of Puerto Vallarta. Continue reading 'Heaven just might be in Puerto Vallarta….'»

Ruhlmann at the Bel Air Hotel

By , November 3, 2008

Last Week I was in Los Angeles getting caught up on the latest of all that is chic in design and visiting my favorite resources for innovative furnishings. I love to visit LA and often stay at the Hotel Bel Air. There is just something about those swans! Continue reading 'Ruhlmann at the Bel Air Hotel'»

San Francisco Fall Antiques Show 2008

By , October 29, 2008

Every year, I look forward to attending the San Francisco Fall Antiques Show for months in advance. Not only is it always the best party in the industry, (caviar stations every 10 feet!) but the show itself never disappoints. I go with my clients and always find something unexpected that shapes the design of their home just a little bit differently than we had previously planned. That spontaneous inspiration is part of the fun that adds that very personal touch to finished project. Continue reading 'San Francisco Fall Antiques Show 2008'»

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