Category: Modern Art

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!

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'»

The Art Sale of the Century!

By , February 10, 2009

yveslauction-0901-012

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!'»

Liz Hager and the Digital MetalType Medium

By , September 16, 2008

Today, our guest blogger is my multi-talented COO, Elaine Triber. Here is what she is interested in right now:

Liz Hager is a versatile mixed media artist who often uses non-traditional materials and processes in the pursuit of artistic statement. As a result, I find her work unusual—because she prints largely on metal, it looks different from a lot of art out there. Her images are witty and imaginative and I always become engaged in the story her work is telling. Continue reading 'Liz Hager and the Digital MetalType Medium'»

New Indian Chic

By , June 5, 2008

A book I am currently enjoying is India Contemporary by Henry Wilson. India, with its fast rising economy and burgeoning middle class, has developed a breadth of design styles, retaining its history of arts and crafts while embracing modernity.

New Indian Chic 1

The traditional jali or pierced screen used on windows is reimagined in an ingenious “bamboo” pattern and fabricated of metalwork.

Always deeply creative in its arts, the new designs fast forward the tribal traditions to the present.

New Indian Chic 2

Here a courtyard is painted by a Madhubani tribal artist, taking ancient folk art and adapting it for today…

New Indian Chic 3

…the same tradition is made glamorous in a gold-leafed mural in this entrance.

India was never shy with its colors. As Diana Vreeland famously said, “Pink is India’s navy blue”. Rich and wonderful color combinations enliven the designs of everything from India.

New Indian Chic 4

A balcao (covered walkway) in Goa is perfectly charming due to its colors and lush greenery.

New Indian Chic 5

A very striking modern home made of concrete, stone and wood consciously focuses on indigenous contemporary arts.

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Here, traditional black and white herringbone tile floors, classic furnishings in neutral colors, and old wooden doors from a private prayer room create a bold and modern look.

Maybe this is one of the reasons why the country has been known as “Mother India”, its very nature is one of creativity and a great valuing of the arts.

All the best to you,

Jane

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A Favorite Spanish Artist

By , April 14, 2008

During a recent trip to Napa Valley, I stopped into Caldwell Snyder Gallery in St. Helena, (they also have locations in San Francisco and New York), and there I found a wonderful artist from Spain who I would like you to know about.

The artist I am so taken with is Regina Saura. She is from the Ampudan region of Spain where she lives with her husband and daughter. Her work is fresh, vibrant and lively. It fits perfectly with the latest taste in classical interiors, which honors the comforts of tradition, but invigorates the spaces with a nod to the modern. She works in mixed media, with collage on top of paint, and text -stream of consciousness poetry -added last. Her colors are radiantly harmonious. The lines are simple and sure. Continue reading 'A Favorite Spanish Artist'»

Ethnoglamour Design – Is it a Trend?

By , January 8, 2008

This weekend, I was thinking about the use of ethnic art and artifacts in contemporary interiors. There are so many unique textiles and decorative objects that can be used in rooms, but use too many of them and it looks very Santa Fe, 1987. A great way to use them is as sculpture in an otherwise clean and glamorous interior. Continue reading 'Ethnoglamour Design – Is it a Trend?'»

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