Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Going for baroque... with mirrors

Mirrors with great frames are the perfect wall art. They look great as decoration, and they can fill up a dark place making it lighter by reflecting back at the observer.

Baroque and rococo styles represent those wonderful almost over the top decorative periods from the late 16th century through the 18th.  The Victoria and Albert Museums exhibit on Baroque in 2009 called it the 'first Global style' because it's influence spread to every continent.

Metropolitan Museum: Dining room from Kirtlington Park, Oxfordshire, 1742–48

The plaster work in this room at the Metropolitan Museum is a wonderful example of the exuberance of the style.

While you may not want a whole room of baroque or rococo style, mirrors are the perfect way of adding drama and decoration. There are some terrific offerings at auctions coming up.

We went to the auction preview of the upcoming November 20th auction of Dominick Dunne's estate at Stair Galleries in Hudson, NY this past weekend where I took these photos. 

The mirror at the top is a great example of the ornate carving you can expect of baroque, which in this case is Spanish colonial style. This is Lot 132 (44" tall) with an auction estimate of $300 - $600. The frame is a wonderful statement piece and work of art. 

On either side of the painting above the mantle are a small pair of Spanish colonial style mirrors (16.5" tall). These are Lot 252 with an auction estimate of $100 - $200. This is a good example of mirrors used as decoration since they really aren't positioned as a looking glass. They are just wonderfully ornate gilt carvings placed on the wall as decoration!

I can't resist another couple of examples from the Stair auction. This one on the left is another Spanish colonial style mirror (37" tall) with a richly carved frame. The silvered look is a nice break from gold gilt. I can see this anywhere, but might try it in a small bathroom to give it some wow factor. This is Lot 174 with an auction estimate of $400 - $600.

 These delicious confections are also Spanish colonial style. They are called mirrors but really are just beautiful decoration. They are parcel gilt and painted, 29.5" tall and have an auction estimate of $400 - $600. They are Lot 33. I think they are very smart and would dress up anything when put either side.

This is a fun example of the rococo style which distinguishes itself from the baroque with it's asymmetrical designs. This mirror is Italian and is being offered in the next St. Charles Gallery auction November 20th and 21st. It's Lot 503, 48" tall, and has an estimate of $1,200 - $1,800.

This impressive Florentine gilt wood carved mirror is baroque style made in the 3rd quarter of the 19th century. It's 76" tall, and has an auction estimate of $1,500 - $2,000. It's Lot 499 in the St. Charles Gallery auction.

Traditional Home - Designer: Janet Simon
Mirrors are a decorative element that you can afford to go a a little crazy with in terms of over the top styling.  Baroque and rococo inspired pieces are just the thing. Make a statement with a great mirror. It will liven up the place.

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