Posts tagged: Art

Magnificent Brazilian Sculptures from Hugo Franca

By , October 19, 2011

 

Hugo Franca : New Work

 

Recently, I was looking for a very organic wooden bowl for a client’s coffee table on the screened in porch.  I came across an amazing artist that made me forget all about wooden bowls.  I saw a couple of his sofa-style root carvings and fell in love.  I contacted the  R20th Century Gallery  in New York which represents him. It turns out that they are having a show of his work right now.

The extraordinary artist is  Hugo França  from Brazil, and his new exhibit is a series of carved Casulos, or “cocoons,” from Pequi and Imbuia coarse woody debris and roots that he scavenges from the felled trees of the  Brazilian forest.

Hugo França’s sculptures showcase his deep connection with the organic, fluid shapes of the tree. This admiration undoubtedly stems from the fifteen years he spent in the jungles of northeastern Brazil, where he learned woodworking techniques from the indigenous people of Bahia.

 

Casulo Cariru" in pequi wood.
“Casulo Cariru” in pequi wood.
"Casulo Cariru" in pequi wood.
The inside view of “Casulo Cariru” in pequi wood.

 

“For me, it is an exercise of directing my eye,” França says, “trying to recognize and work with the forms already outlined there, and finding a functionality in those forms.”

His work reveals a powerful appreciation for the cycles of nature, by uniting the natural elements of the tree with his creative process, and presenting it back into the human environment. Take a look at this video of the progression from tree to organic sculpture.

 

 

 

França’s pieces encompass the observer, forcing us to experience the aliveness and natural energy of Brazil’s exquisite natural resource. França brings the viewer inside these intriguing massive “cocoons” so we may experience directly the textures and natural designs of the tree, to “create an organic space of retreat and contemplation.”

 

 

“The temperature is different, the sounds are different, the smell and texture are unique,” says França. “This direct contact generates empathy and encourages a bonding experience between man and nature.”

 

 

 

If you are in New York,  visit his exhibition where it will be featured from October 5th – November 5th.  Until then, I will curb my craving with these pictures of his striking furniture. I can just imagine the gorgeous natural colors and contours of the wood bringing warmth and texture into a scenic lakeside cabin.

And more good news about Franca, he still makes very large (36″ across)  and wonderful wooden bowls.

 

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.

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……

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!'»

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