Learn the basics of buying art at auction from the experts at Sotheby’s.
The Sept-Oct 2014 issue of Sotheby’s magazine features Libraries Worth Studying.
Even in the digital age, libraries continue to be the focal point of some of the world’s most elegant homes. While the architectural details of these four showcases are designed to dazzle, it is the books lining the shelves that provide an insight into the owners’ interests. These personal spaces provide shelter from the outside world and a place for the mind to wander.
Prima Luce, whose name was inspired by the unobstructed views of the first sun rays that rise each day, is located in a prime Montecito location. Famed designer Robert Webb has captured the ambiance of a Tuscan-style country villa with details like hand-chiseled Santa Barbara sandstone, which were quarried from these very grounds. The approximately 8,425 square foot main residence has five bedrooms, six full baths, two powder rooms and five fireplaces.
The Morgan Estate was built in 1914 for Percy Tredegar Morgan, whose many accomplishments included starting the California Wine Association. One of the finest examples of Tudor and Jacobean revival architecture in the United States, the manse has hosted presidents, kings, queens and celebrities.
Located in one of the most glamorous locations in London, this magnificent penthouse apartment has spectacular views of Hyde Park and offers state-of-the-art luxury living, featuring such amenities as a fully equipped gym, beauty treatment room, home cinema and six roof terraces and gardens.
Designed by premier architect Ira Grandberg, AIA and built with unparalleled craftsmanship by Hobbs Construction Company, this regal stone manor blends Old World ambiance with the ultimate in 21st-century technology. Hand-milled woodwork, moldings and doors highlight the majestic yet warm interior. It features broad oak-appointed corridors and octagonal galleries.
Post provided by Meredith Mendelsohn for Sotheby’s magazine.
“Art,” says designer Elissa Cullman, “is the soul of every interior.” Over the past three decades, her New York-based firm Cullman & Kravis has mastered the “modern traditional” approach, pairing edgy post-war and contemporary works of art with carefully chosen antiques and subtly luxurious furnishings. Her recent book, The Detailed Interior: Decorating Up Close with Cullman & Kravis (Monacelli Press, 2013) demonstrates her love of fine art as well as comfort. “We never sacrifice form for function,” she says. “A room should be beautiful.” Cullman recently spoke with Meredith Mendelsohn about maintaining that balance.
Elissa Cullman: What advice would you give to new collectors about displaying art at home? Meredith Mendelsohn: No space is complete without a work of art. Anything can work in concert – as long as there is an underlying passion for the art and antiques. It’s important to understand what sizes work well within that space so that the installation can be harmonious from wall to wall and from room to room. Also, the right lighting is critical and will transform the way the art looks in situ. The biggest lighting mistake people make is not lighting their art at all. EC: When you start working with new clients, what are some of the first elements you address? MM: We always consider their functional needs as well as their design preferences. Our goal is to interpret their vision in the most aesthetically pleasing way. We always start with an inventory of their furniture, objects and artwork. Next, we look at interior design books and magazines together to establish the vocabulary they are looking for – we call this the “zip code” for the project. EC: Some interiors seem more challenging than others when it comes to displaying art. Can you recall a situation that required real finessing? MM: A Manhattan apartment had a long hallway that was just 42 inches wide (above right). We did what we call a decorating intervention. We vaulted the ceilings and introduced niches for incredible Swedish porphyry vases, and then we looked for an artwork that you could see and enjoy from a short distance away. We decided on a series of 30 drawings by Allan McCollum. He is very specific about how his works should be hung, and these just made it by an inch!
Dramatic art, vaulted ceilings, a marble floor and a mirror help visually widen and lengthen narrow spaces.
EC: How do you find the right balance between antiques or vintage design and works of art, whether they are contemporary or traditional? MM: Traditional environments are made younger and more vibrant with contemporary art. Conversely, contemporary spaces are made more complex and layered by the inclusion of a few pieces from the past. In one room we placed a Joan Mitchell painting with French 1940s sconces and Regency card tables. I just love how everything is talking to each other. EC: How would you characterise your design aesthetic? MM: Our goal is to redefine the traditional interior. Our interiors are complex, layered and full of history without being stuffy and overly formal. We like to call this approach “modern traditional” because the point of view is contemporary while the vocabulary of antiques is in keeping with the 26-year history of our company.
Furniture from the early 20th century complements a more contemporary photograph by Nan Goldin.
EC: Were there any particular influences that shaped your taste and style? MM: The two years I spent in Japan were pivotal in the development of my aesthetic education. I immersed myself in two rigorous Japanese aesthetic traditions – tea ceremony and flower arranging. When you spend three hours arranging just five chrysanthemums, it sharpens your eye!
Meredith Mendelsohn writes frequently about art and design for Art + Auction, the Wall Street Journal and ARTnews.
Post provided by Alexandra A. Seno for Sotheby’s Magazine.
TAIPEI – Taiwan-based businessman Pierre Chen is one of Asia’s leading collectors of Western contemporary art. Now, as Alexandra A. Seno reports, Chen is bringing the collection he lives and works with to a wider audience, and in the process, connecting the East with the West.
Museo del Prado 4, the subtly dramatic Thomas Struth photograph, dominates one wall of a conference room at the Yageo Corporation global headquarters, just outside Taipei. The German photographer’s large-scale work, part of his iconic Museum Photographs series, focuses on a group of students on a trip to the great Spanish art institution. The boys and girls linger indifferently in front of Las Meninas, the 1656 painting by Diego Velázquez that has inspired generations of artists, from Pablo Picasso to Francis Bacon.
Pierre Chen, collector and businessman at home in Taipei, where a painting by Georg Baselitz hangs behind him. Photograph by Andrew Loiterton.
Walking into the empty conference room – which otherwise fits about 30 – Yageo founder Pierre T.M. Chen gives the photograph a quick glance before he settles down at the table. The Taiwan-trained computer engineer started Yageo in 1977 and built the company into one of the world’s biggest electronics components manufacturers, with average yearly sales of US$800 million. He has nine factories and offices in seventeen countries, and is actively engaged in Yageo’s day-to-day management.
Chen says: “My business changes very quickly. I am fighting everyday because there is always some new technology coming to the market. For me to have balance in my life, I need art and music.” Hundreds of pieces adorn his offices and homes, and even more are in storage. But starting this summer, four prestigious Japanese museums will exhibit 76 works from Chen’s collection.
In a Tokyo residence, Peter Doig’s Canoe Lake has pride of place in the dining room. Jean-Baptiste Huynh’s Inde-Portrait XXIX and Josè-María Cano’s RM-Kate Moss Flank the doorway. Photographs courtesy of the Yageo Foundation
It will be the first time that the institutions will show a single, private collection of modern and contemporary art, and it is also the first occasion in Asia that works from the Yageo Foundation can be viewed together in public. The tour begins in June at the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo (MOMAT), and then proceeds to the Nagoya City Art Museum in September, the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art in December and finally the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto in March 2015.
MOMAT curator and organiser of the exhibits Kenjiro Hosaka wanted to collaborate with Chen not only because Japanese museums do not usually have access to such works, but also because he was drawn to the collection’s “energy to bridge the gap between Eastern and Western art, which museums in Japan have struggled with for many years.”
“I decided to accept the invitation from Japan because the museum is professional, and because Japanese audiences have a mature appreciation for art. They admire traditional things and also what is new. I also consider Japan as my retirement destination of choice,” says Chen, who keeps a Tokyo apartment, conveniently just five minutes away from MOMAT.
The living room of one of Chen’s Hong Kong homes, with Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bild andMark Tansey’s Mont Sainte-Victoire. Photographs courtesy of the Yageo Foundation.
Born in Tainan, Chen grew up in Kaoshiung to a middle- class family that could trace their roots in Taiwan back for 200 years. He enjoyed going to galleries, and as a student in 1976, he made his first art purchase: a wooden, coconut-sized sculpture by Hong Kong artist Cheung Yee. It cost 25,000 Taiwanese dollars, a sum that took him a year and a half to save as a part-time computer programmer. He proudly keeps it in his office today.
When his company began to do very well, Chen started collecting Chinese artists because he was inspired by their work. As his business expanded to other countries, he would travel, and says he “liked going to museums and galleries because they are a good place to learn.” He read voraciously about art and went to exhibitions, habits he continues today. “I am still discovering,” he says, his eyes lighting up behind his serious, black-framed glasses.
In recent years, Chen has been most excited by Western contemporary art. He took the leap in the mid-1980s and bought an untitled Cy Twombly work because it made him feel “calm,” and later a yellow Warhol fright wig self-portrait because he thought it was “so fresh.” Continue Reading >
Sotheby’s spring Evening Sale of Impressionist & Modern Art will be held in New York on 7 May 2014 with the New York exhibition beginning this Friday in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries. Highlights from the sale include iconic works by Picasso, Giacometti, Matisse, Monet and Léger.
“We are thrilled to offer works by three of the greatest masters of 20th century art, each of which exemplifies the artist’s output at a critical moment in their career,” said David Norman, Co-Chairman of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department Worldwide. “Matisse, Picasso and Léger in their unique manner so distinctively catapulted the representation of the figure in to the Modern Age. These paintings, resplendent in color and bold in design, which were respectively executed in successive decades from the 1920s to 40s, resonate with today’s global audience of collectors and connoisseurs.”
Pablo Picasso, Tête de Marie-Thérèse, 1932 (est. $15/20 million)
The auction will offer an impressive selection of 14 works by Pablo Picasso, with examples reaching across his remarkable career – from an early drawing dated to 1900, through a late oil painting from 1969. The group features Tête de Marie-Thérèse from 1932, a radiant example of his paintings depicting his beloved mistress of the early 1930s (est. $15/20 million).
Claude Monet, Le pont japonais, 1918 (est. $12/18 million)
The Evening Sale will offer three impressive canvases by Impressionist master Claude Monet, including Le pont japonais which he painted at Giverny from 1918–24 (est. $12/18 million). Monet’s spectacular images of the Japanese bridge spanning the lily pond of his lush garden are among the most recognizable images of 20th century art.
Henri Matisse, La Séance du matin, 1924 (est. $20/30 million)
Henri Matisse’s La Séance du matin (est. $20/30 million) depicts the artist’s studio assistant Henriette Darricarrère, whose own interest in painting he encouraged by offering her lessons during their working time together. In another version of this same subject, now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Matisse depicts a nude model alongside the studious painter. The present composition instead features Henriette alone, completely absorbed in her own work.
This week Sotheby’s auction house in New York is presenting an inaugural Designer Showhouse exhibition. The event, which is sponsored by Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc., is, an innovative approach to highlighting the treasure trove of fine art, furniture and decorative arts offered each season at Sotheby’s.
A select group of talented interior designers were given exclusive access to the auction house’s inventory and shopped the “stacks” to select a group of objects from which six distinctive interior spaces were devised. These objects include paintings, sculptures, prints, furniture and decorative arts which range in date from the 1st century A.D. through the end of the 20th century and encompass a range of artistic and architectural styles from around the world. Here is a peek at their masterful spaces the designers created.
RYAN KORBAN, known for his retail design including Alexander Wang’s flagship store, Balenciaga’s men’s and women’s flagship stores and Fivestory New York;
DAUN CURRY from Modern Declaration, named one of Vogue’s hottest new designers;
New York design duo CATHERINE CASTEEL OLASKY and MAXIMILIAN P. SINSTEDEN from Olasky & Sinsteden whose collective background includes time working for renowned names including Bunny Williams, Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, David Easton Inc., Charlotte Moss;
SHALER LADD of Shaler Ladd Design Corporation who has built his business by providing exceptional service and quality to a loyal client base for which he curates interiors tailored to the distinct lifestyle and tastes of each individual; and,
RUSH JENKINS and KLAUS BAER from WRJ Design Associates, who are renowned for curating and designing exhibits for such luminaries as Mrs. Nancy Reagan and Bill Blass.
These designers were given the freedom to create any type of space and impose any type of aesthetic that he or she desired. The hope is that these spaces will demonstrate how good pieces of fine and decorative art can transcend time and space and that the dialogue between these pieces within a contemporary context not only allows the viewer an opportunity to reflect upon the pieces’ historical and artistic importance, but also gives the pieces new meaning and significance in the world of today.
Sotheby’s Inaugural Designer Showhouse is open to the public through Saturday, March 29 at Sotheby’s New York Headquarters located at 1334 York Avenue.
This week Sotheby’s celebrates Asia Week 2014 in New York with a collection of selling exhibitions and sales which showcase some of the world’s oldest and most diverse works of art. From Indian & Himalayan Works of Art to Fine Classical Chinese Calligraphy, the week offers an extraordinary opportunity for collectors and Asian Art connoisseurs.
Sotheby’s New York Asia Week series of auctions will be led by the prestigious single-owner sale of A Very Rare And Important Bronze Owl- Headed Ritual Wine Vessel (Hu), from the collection of Sakamoto Goro on 18 March 2014. The piece dates from the Early Eastern Zhou Dynasty (c. 8/7th century BC) and is the only surviving owl bronze of this caliber. Estimated to fetch in excess of $4 million, the bronze is set to be the outstanding highlight of the March Asian Art sales at Sotheby’s in New York.
Other highlights to include:
A Very Fine Gilt Copper Alloy Figure Depicting Tara, Yongle Period 1403-1424, (est. $300/500,000)
Vasudeo S. Gaitonde’s ethereal Painting No. 3, 1962, (est. $2-3 Million)
A Rare Molded Blue and White Barbed Rim Dish, Yuan Dynasty, 14th Century, (est. $200/300,000)
Today’s morning read…
Legacy of the Monuments Men / Rediscovering Van Gogh / Celebrating Cartier and Jar