Art & Commerce

Art & Commerce

photo by Bruno Gaget
We’re starting to see a lot more of Marissa Webb, Head of Women’s Design at J. Crew. She’s featured in the latest J. Crew video – a fun behind-the-scenes look at manufacturing their shoes in Italy (if you follow quintessence on facebook, you’ve probably already seen this).

And she’s being parading a little more in the press. In a recent interview, she gave some advice on dressing your best – it may seem like common sense, but sometimes we get caught up in the fashion of the moment and forget to focus on how pieces  work for each of us individually:

1) Don’t be afraid to explore.

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Posted in art, art history, fashion, J. Crew, learning | Tagged , , , , | 66 Comments  

Lego Love

Lego Love

My daughter is lego obsessed. And I couldn’t be happier. What a wonderful creative outlet for kids. With all her Christmas checks, she ordered the Harry Potter Diagon Alley set. She anxiously awaited the package, tracking it online every day and has been working on it diligently since the minute it was delivered. I have always loved legos as well. How can you not love a company that inspires kids and adults alike with the opportunity to build structures like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water with its products.

Legos are such a great creative tool that requires visual and mental acuity as well as a certain dexterity.…

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Posted in art, books, children, design, entertainment, games, learning, sculpture | Tagged , , , , , , , | 29 Comments  

Auction Update

Auction Update

Last weekend I wrote about the (then) upcoming auction at Doyle that I thought had many appealing and reasonably priced pieces. Well it turns out everyone else thought so as well! “The sale totaled a strong $2,739,469, against a pre-sale estimate of $1,802,700-2,794,700, with an exceptional 84% sold by lot and 94% sold by value.”

The featured item from the Joseph Patrick auction, these George II mahogany library chairs, sold to an English bidder for $164,500 (estimate $100,000 – $150,000)!

Another favorite, this George III chandelier had a final price of $35,000 when the estimate had been $15,000 – $20,000.

This handsome George III Gilt-Bronze mounted mahogany library table, with an estimate of $10,000 – 15,000 sold for $80,500!!…

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Posted in art, auctions, Christie's, furniture | Tagged , | 40 Comments  

At the Movies

At the Movies

With posts on France, wine and art this week, the perfect movie was easy to choose. It’s a classic that I’m sure many of you have seen and if not, I’m thrilled to introduce you. How to Steal a Million is a frothy romantic comedy that shows Audrey at her best – charming, stylish and disarming.

William Wyler, above, directed her brilliantly in this, their third feature together, after Roman Holiday and The Children’s Hour. From 1966, this is widely considered Hepburn’s last role as a female ingenue, her next picture being Wait Until Dark – which was quite a departure.…

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Posted in entertainment, film | Tagged , , , | 31 Comments  

Thinking Outside the Box

Thinking Outside the Box

I love how the Met is using items from their collection to create smaller accessible shows that, like their new digital initiative, Connections, creates cohesive themes from different time periods and objects. Last week when I went to the Met with my sister, we saw Thinking Outside the Box, one of these exhibits. It is totally enchanting and we oohed and aahed from one incredible piece to another.

The exhibition includes one hundred boxes, chests and other small containers from the museum’s department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, many of which have not been on display for years. Dating from 1500 – 1900, not only are these pieces mini-masterpieces in their own right but they reflect so much about the life of the period – stylistically, historically and socially.…

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Posted in art, art history, history, learning | Tagged , | 35 Comments  

Wednesday Wine

Wednesday Wine

Decanting can seem a mystery to many. It is one of the issues that has presented itself here in previous posts and that I think people are curious about in genera. Should you or shouldn’t you? Is it necessary or even beneficial? Our wine expert Terry Rogers is here to demystify the art of decanting and help you decide whether or not your wine should take the plunge.

Who actually owns a decanter nowadays? People who live in stately homes, or perhaps the proprietors of antique and curiosity shops? No, not at all. Anyone who wants the best from their wine should own one.…

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Posted in wine | Tagged , | 23 Comments  

Provencal Perfection

Provencal Perfection

When I read about the renovation of this beautiful house in the Luberon Valley in France, it captivated my imagination with the fantasy of owning a little piece of Provence. Like Peter Mayle or our own blogosphere friend and author Vicki Archer, this owner’s tale is full of enchanting stories and slow progress. But the results are magnificent.

Set in the hillside of Bonnieux, not far from Avignon, the house is oozing with Provencal charm. Wouldn’t it be lovely to sit on this terrace with your afternoon aperitif?

The highlight of the house is the cave sitting room. I’d love to be there today snuggled up on that cozy couch.…

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Posted in architecture, interior design, travel | Tagged , , | 67 Comments  

Pittman’s Passion

Pittman’s Passion

photograph Jay Lawrence Goldman

Last Wednesday was one of those days I wish I had more of. I met my sister at the Met where we saw a lovely exhibit (more on that later), had lunch in the serene Trustee’s dining room, and then wandered down to Bergdorf’s. Always good for a little divine distraction, the fabulous jewelry department was chock full of treasures. I was particularly attracted to a new line, which has an interesting story.

Following a career in private equity, Ashley Pittman decided to volunteer for the Clinton Foundation’s HIV/AIDS Initiative in Rwanda, where she immediately fell in love with the country and its people.…

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Posted in fashion, jewelry | Tagged , , | 34 Comments  

The Stylish Nudibranch

The Stylish Nudibranch

the nembrotha-kubaryana

No, I didn’t make it up. A nudibranch is a toxic seagoing slug that is protected by its brilliant design. Nature is of course the original style maven and the nudibranch has it in spades! Found in both warm and cold waters, from shallows and reefs to nearly a mile down, they are merely skin, muscle and organs with gills resembling tufts on their backs (Nudibranch means “naked gill,” a feature that separates them from other sea slugs.)

Halgerda batangas

They defend themselves with toxic secretions and stinging cells. Their incredible coloration make them very visible which warns their predators of their dangers.…

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Posted in learning | Tagged | 40 Comments  

Doyle Delights

Doyle Delights

When my sister phoned yesterday to ask if I had seen the upcoming auctions at Doyle, I suspected they must be particularly interesting. But after quickly perusing the offerings online, my heart leapt. This Wednesday, under the umbrella of the Important English & Continental Furniture & Decorations/Old Master Paintings category, are two remarkable auctions.

It is always exciting when an auction represents a totally identifiable collection of a single owner; it is even more compelling, to both dealers and collectors alike, when the collection represents quality property that is utterly fresh to the market. Both of these auctions contain items that have not been in the marketplace for decades.…

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Posted in art, art history, auctions, furniture, interior design | Tagged , , , , | 37 Comments