Archives for posts with tag: decorative arts

Several years ago I was visiting the Cantor Center for the Visual Arts at Stanford University. The museum’s collection spans all types of art from antiquity to contemporary art.  It also houses one of the finest collections of Rodin sculptures in the world, displayed in the B. Gerald Cantor Rodin Sculpture Garden. The Rodin garden alone is worth a trip to this amazing museum.

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As I walked in, the attendant handed me a button that said “A Passion for Collecting“. That phrase struck a chord in me and I wore that button on my coat for years and have since kept it in the pocket. That phrase inspired and moved me. I thought, what would it be like to spend years learning all you could, about a certain artist or artistic movement and then to amass a collection like this.

Photo courtesy of insidersf.com

Photo courtesy of insidersf.com

The act of collecting becomes a lifelong passion and the thrill of the hunt for each piece, is as exciting as owning it. Most people don’t have the means to purchase great art or sculpture, but a collection can be anything…porcelain, glass, stamps, medals, dolls, etc.

Various items from the Religious Collection

Various items from the Religious Collection

Over the years I am amazed at the unique things people collect, and the ends they will go, to acquire them. Their passion sometimes borders on obsession, but I am always impressed at the wealth of knowledge they have gained along the way. A very prolific collector once told me “if you cannot afford what you love, collect the books to learn more about it”.

Great collections are eclectic and intriguing, but usually have a coherent theme. People collect for different reasons, aesthetic, intellectual but most often, for emotional reasons. I often wonder how they house all these special things. Do they incorporate them into their décor and live with them everyday to give them pleasure?

Bronze of Napoleon

Bronze of Napoleon

19th Century Napoleon II Riding on Horseback painting

19th Century Napoleon II

Kaminski Auctions is pleased to present three unique and exceptional collections in our June 7th auction. The first is a collection of Napoleonic items, which includes bronzes, oil paintings, miniatures, statuary, and Sèvres porcelain depicting Napoleon and Josephine.

The second is a unique collection of religious items including 18th and 19th century carved Italian figures and putti, Spanish Santos, chalices, reliquaries, crucifixes and so much more…

18th Century Italian carved figure

18th Century Italian carved figure

And finally a collection of Art Deco, including Icart etchings, various figures and a rare Demetre Chiparus sculpture titled “Les Amis Toujours” .

“Les Amis Toujours” by Demetre Chiparus

Collection of Art Deco Figures

Collection of Art Deco Figures

All three represent a true passion for collecting! View all the items on offer in these collections and much more in our June 7th Estate sale at http://www.kaminskiauctions.com and sign up to bid with KaminskiLIVE !

Each year, for the past four years I have attended TEFAF, which stands for The European Fine Art Fair that takes place every March in Maastricht, The Netherlands.  Maastricht is probably one of the more beautiful, quaint European cities you will ever visit, with amazing restaurants and shopping, and the art fair is truly amazing. The art and antiques are serious, and so are the buyer’s and the prices. It is like going to the finest museum in the world, where everything is for sale.

Maastricht along the Meuse River www.nyenrodealumni.nl

Maastricht along the Meuse River
Photo by -www.nyenrodealumni.nl

TEFAF is for museum curators and serious collectors to add to their collections, and for people like you and me to go enjoy some of the most beautiful art and antiques in the world, all under one roof. Started originally as an art fair specializing in Old Master paintings, today the fair showcases fine art, modern and contemporary art, tribal art, antiques, design and the world’s top jewelers like Graff, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Buccellati. It is the largest and most diverse art fair in the world with over 275 international exhibitors and a strict vetting process.

There is always a fabulous display of roses at he entrance as a photo backdrop !

This year alone TEFAF saw over 70,00 visitors with 262 museums attending, including many of the top European and American institutions.  Maastricht is almost three hours from Amsterdam, and during 10 days in March, everyone is going there for the art.  The booths include works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse, Goya, and modern masters like Chagall, Klee, Picasso and nearly every well-known artist that comes to mind.

Michele Marieschi (Venice 1710-1743)

Michele Marieschi (Venice 1710-1743)

Vincent van Gogh -The Laakmolen near The Hague c.10-15 July 1882

Vincent van Gogh -The Laakmolen near The Hague c.10-15 July 1882

Four carved swans- one of my favorites at TEFAF 2015

Four carved swans- one of my favorites at TEFAF 2015

The art is accompanied with the most dazzling display of Dutch tulips you will ever see.  The MECC, Maastricht where the fair is held, is an enormous convention site decorated top to bottom with tulips and fancy venues for fine dining, sushi, tapas, as well as champagne bars and espresso cafes.

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You might be curious why I go each year as part of my work. I go to see the art and for inspiration, but I also go to promote Kaminski Auctions, and make sure the dealers at TEFAF are shopping our estate sales online every month. You never know where the next masterpiece might be found. There have been several times when I will walk into a fancy European dealers booth, and see a painting that was sold at one time, through our auction gallery.

Every year it’s something different that creates a buzz.  My jaw dropped as I came around the corner this year, to see an enormous booth of Shaker furniture.  Even more surprising than the Shaker exhibit was the fact that it was the vision of Francois Laffanour of Galerie Downtown in PARIS!  It took him 5 years to put the collection together, as a joint venture with the Shaker Museum in New York.  They had on loan four pieces from the museum’s collection, and the rest were pieces they sourced themselves. According to their representative, everything had sold.

Quoted in The Arts and Antiques Weekly, Francois Laffanour said, “It was no accident that his incredible collection of Shaker furniture was brought to TEFAF. “We wanted to expose the European market to Shaker furniture and design, something they are very unfamiliar with. TEFAF’S audience is extremely educated and sophisticated and the reception has been incredible.  They understand what we are doing and have embraced it.”

Shaker furniture on display  by Francois Laffanour of Galerie Downtown, Paris

Shaker furniture on display by Francois Laffanour of Galerie Downtown, Paris                         with an unimaginably long,long,long table!


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The Design section of the fair has grown tremendously over the past few years. With my interest in design I always make a beeline to Axel Vervoodt’s booth. The Belgian designer is probably one of the most influential European tastemakers of all time. He has published several books on design including Axel Vervoodt- Living with Light and Axel Vervoodt-Timeless Interiors both available on Amazon.com

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“We treasure things that are made by time,” says Axel Vervoordt,” ” the antiques dealer and interior designer’s celebrated style—which favors muted tones, weathered surfaces, richly patinated antiques, and a mix of ancient and modern artworks that share abstract, universal qualities.” (Quoted from Architectural Digest) 

His interiors tend to be minimalist, and he mixes sculptural furniture with classical antiquities and contemporary art.  Decorators and stylists from all over Europe visit TEFAF to see what he is doing each year. His stature in the design world influences trends in every aspect of interior design.

Axel Vervoodt

Axel Vervoodt”s booth at TEFAF 2015

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The photos above are from Axel Vervoodt’s booth at TEFAF this year.  He mixes old with new, and contrasts contemporary art with classical antiquities!

How does this all relate back to Kaminski Auctions and my DéCor Blog? I want my readers to know that our monthly Estate sales is where you will find the pieces that represent the latest design trends and the age old classical antiques to make your decorating style stand out from the rest. Whether it be a piece of affordable contemporary art, a European stone bust or a piece of mid century modern furniture from our May 17th Modern sale…such as these great furniture and art finds shown below.

Le Corbusier model LC4 chaise lounge, steel with original cowhide upholstery and original leather pillow

Lot#-2065-Le Corbusier model LC4 chaise lounge, steel with original cowhide upholstery and original leather pillow

Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller chair and ottoman

L0t#-2967-Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller chair and ottoman

Warren Platner for Knoll coffee table, steel base with original bumper with beveled edge glass top

Lot#-2011-Warren Platner for Knoll coffee table, steel base with original bumper with beveled edge glass top

Poul Henningsen

L0t#-2101-Poul Henningsen “Artichoke” hanging lamp, white enameled aluminum and stainless steel, circa 1960s

Pair of Knoll

Lot#2068-Pair of Knoll “Womb” chairs with “Morocco” wool upholstery on steel frame,

Alexander Calder print

Lot#-2019 -Alexander Calder print

              Victor Vaserely

Lot # 2097-Victor Vasarely (1906-1995). “Mexico City”, print, edition XII/CI

Our Modern sale goes online this Friday, May 1st, 2015 at 8:00pm. Don’t miss this opportunity to find your next design treasure.  Visit our website at http://www.kaminskiauctions.com and sign up to receive our email updates! ! !

Sorry for the long hiatus on writing this blog. I seem to get bogged down with writing press releases, pre and post every auction, social media and a  million other things that have to happen each month. My New Year’s resolution is to write, write, write, at least one post every single month if not more.

I would like to welcome Amy Cavilla as our new head of social media marketing. We have lots of fun things planned to keep you up to date on our Kaminski Auctions, and keep you informed on whats happening in the auction and art world. So be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram if you don’t already.

Amy Cavilla

I have so much to learn about social media but the one thing the experts keep telling me is that I need to engage my audience. Although this blog is not quite the same thing, I realized that the posts I got the most comments on were those I made personal.

Our social media campaign this month is “Some of Our Favorite Things” that sold this past year at Kaminski Auctions . So for my final post of 2014 I thought I would share with you some of my personal auction purchases of 2014 and how I used them to decorate my homes.

My first purchase of 2014 was from the May 20th Century/Decorative Arts and Modern sale and it was this Mies Van der Rohe for Knoll, Barcelona low table, “X” form with a chromed steel base and square glass top, circa 1950s.  An iconic table I purchased for $425.

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Mies Van der Rohe for Knoll, Barcelona low table

                                      

The exact same piece is selling on the popular Design Within Reach site for $1720. I used it as a coffee table in my Boston apartment.The glass top makes the apartment seem more spacious and airy. I unfortunately don’t have a photo of it to share. But you can see it works perfectly in a traditional or modern room.

A beautifully furnished traditional living room with a Mies Vander Rohe Barcelona table

A beautifully furnished traditional living room with a Mies Van der Rohe Barcelona table- Elle Decor photo

And a more modern apartment with the same table     Elle Decor phot

And a more modern apartment with the same table- Elle Decor photo

Another purchase which I absolutely love is this Mid Century root table.  It is really made  of grape vines from the vineyards in California but I thought it looked a lot like drift wood, and would work in my Nantucket home as a fabulous end table.

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It was described as a Northern California tree root table with glass top and I purchased it for $120.00.  I changed the black glass it was shown with to clear for a lighter more airy look as well. With the clear glass top you can see the beautiful roots below. Everyone who visited this summer loved this table.

A not so great auction purchase was this pair of carved continental style gilt wood planters that I paid $360.00 for.  They were an impulse purchase I made with a friend thinking they were” too over the top together” and we would each take one.

medium-9111.0_1They were also too garish all gilt. The plan was to wash them with a white paint and rub it off for a french washed wood effect or to paint different parts of them black for contrast and the French Empire look.  Needless to say neither one of us has had the time to do anything with them, so they were reconsigned to auction.  The beauty of a making a mistake purchase at auction is you can usually resell them at a future sale.

My two favorite purchases of 2014 were my last two. A beautiful console table constructed from a staircase segment.  It has  great provenance, as it was originally from the Newport, Rhode Island  home of Cornelius Vanderbilt.

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It is wrought iron with a sandstone top. A very mediterranean look.  I thought initially I would use it outside as a serving table on my loggia but found it was the perfect size and visually interesting enough to finish off my upstairs foyer.

Upstairs Foyer with New Console Table

Upstairs Foyer with New Console Table

Above the console table hangs an unusual Venetian mirror which is faux tortoiseshell. I purchased it some years ago at a Christie’s Interiors auction. Flanking the mirror on both sides are very large sepia photographs by Michael Kahn featuring exquisite details of two italian sculptures that stand in front of the Uffizi Gallery Museum in Florence, Italy.

At the Annual Thanksgiving auction I purchased this beautiful 19th century highly decorative Venetian mirror.  The glass surround has detailed images of gondolas and scenes of Venice.

medium-17008.0_1 It was the perfect thing to finish off my Venetian inspired bathroom with it’s very pink, very dramatic Designer Guild “gilded” wallpaper.  I carried the pink theme into the bathroom as it is just off the Venetian inspired dining room (from a previous post Updating a Traditional Dining Room, March 22, 2013).

My over the top Designers Guild wallpaper with my new Venetian mirror auction purchase.

My new Venetian mirror auction purchase.

The pièce de resistance of 2014 has to be my auction purchase from the “Oprah Winfrey Collection sale last November 2013.  Although from the previous year, I have to count it in this years purchases, as it arrived it the dead of winter in 2014 with four feet of snow on the ground.  After many months of searching for the perfect cistern and figuring out how the water would be pumped thorough the dolphins mouths and the center shell,here it is in it’s full glory.  The focal point of my loggia!

IMG_1388                     Happy Holidays to all and I wish you a great auction and decorating year in 2015 !

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I was fortunate to spend a lot of time on Nantucket this summer. Nantucket is an island 30 miles out to sea,south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It is known for its beautiful beaches, grey shingle houses covered in roses, it’s historic whaling tradition and hand woven “Nantucket” baskets.

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My New Dawn roses in full bloom !

My New Dawn roses in full bloom !

There is a Historic District Commission on the island that dictates every aspect of the design and construction of the houses, and has kept any and all chain stores (with the exception of Ralph Lauren) and fast food franchises from reaching our shores.

Photo by: follow pics.net

Photo by: follow pics.net

Traditionally homes on the island were decorated in nautical or casual chic beachy style. Think white walls, sea grass carpets, and overstuffed upholstered furniture in any shade of blue or sea green or simply slipcovered in white duck.

Photo: nauticalcottageblog.com

Photo: nauticalcottageblog.com

Photo: living.msn.com

Photo: living.msn.com

More formal homes along Main Street and in the downtown area, reflected the islands whaling tradition and were decorated in 19th century antiques with mahogany furniture, gilded mirrors and oriental carpets.

Photo: bummersaheadyay.blogspot.com

Photo: bummersaheadyay.blogspot.com

Thanks to the Historic District Commission all the homes look the same on the outside, but oh how things have changed on the inside! The young families building on the island now, have embraced the 20th Century and modern design trend that is popular today and have redefined island chic.

I was fortunate to be invited to tour a fabulous new house designed by the architectural firm BPC Architecture, and decorated as a collaborative project with Jennifer Palumbo doing the soft furnishings, Joel Olson designing the bathrooms, stone, tile and lighting and built by Joe Gamberoni of Cross Rip Builders. The original house was torn down and a wonderfully traditional shingle home was built in its place.

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Apart from the grey shingles and white trim nothing is traditional about this house. The minute I entered the front door the design features in this house” wow” you. I was so impressed with the clean white linear elements of the walls and glass staircases.  As you enter the front door a fabulous curved wall creates the foyer and distinguishes the living room from the entrance.

A fantastic light fixture in the entry.  The free standing curved wall creates the divide between the living room and foyer.

A fantastic light fixture in the entry and the free standing curved wall creates the divide between the living room and foyer.

Glass, wood and chrome staircase.

The glass, wood and chrome staircase.

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The more formal living area.

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The fireplace serves as a room divide as well.

A floating fireplace serves as the divide between the kitchen, family room and more formal living area. The light fixtures are modern white spheres or wonderful glass globes with a simple bulb that complement the modern clean lines of the house design.

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The bedroom furniture is built into the walls and closets, so no need for dressers or armoires.  Platform beds with upholstered headboards and side tables that float from the walls are an integral part of the clean crisp design.

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Everything is white, glass and chrome or natural wood with just pops of color in each room. The August issue of N magazine of Nantucket featured a similarly modern new home built on Squam road, by a London couple that summers on the island.  The article titled “Starting Fresh” shows some amazing interior and exterior shots of the new pool, pool house, and glass stairways that connect the different areas of the home. The original house on the property was owned by the infamous former CEO of Tyco International.

It is hard to believe these modern design concepts have reached the shores of this old whaling island, but as you can see it has!  One can see from opening any decorating magazine that modern and 20th century design is the fashion just now.

In response to this trend Kaminski  Auctions now holds 3-4 modern auctions a year .  This weekend on Sunday September 22, 2013 Kaminski will hold its fall 20th Century and Decorative Arts sale starting at 10:00am. Curated by our new 20th century specialist Kathryn Wilkins formerly of Treadway-Toomey Galleries in Cincinnati, Ohio. If you are a modern enthusiast check out this fabulous sale at our website http://www.kaminskiauctions.com today!