Sunday, February 28, 2010

Christie's Interiors Auction March 2 and 3

We went to the preview for the Christie's Interiors auction today. We thought that there was a lot of interesting things.

Here is the link to the catalogue: Chirstie's Interiors auction catalogue

Here are a few photos and items that caught our eye in particular.


The mirrored breakfront bookcase is quite interesting and would be a focal point in a room. It's estimated at $3,500 - $4,500. This would be an 'investment' piece, but if you're looking to glam up a living or dining room this could be just the thing!

There was a fair amount of chinoiserie influenced objects, which I always like and go with any style - traditional to modern.

For a more contemporary look, we enjoyed this area of the show, and particularly the lamps on the side tables next to the sofa. 

There are two deco style lamps in the photo above and a third that's part of the lot on the coffee table. The estimate is $600 - $800, which seems pretty reasonable for such decorative lamps. 
There were also quite a few groupings of prints that would nicely fill a wall. This group of 6 prints of Swedish buildings was very good looking and well framed. 

This group of 6 prints is estimated at $1,200 - $1,600. 
Finally, I have been hooked on lighting in general because interesting light fixtures can really jazz up a room (a further blog on this soon). This lantern is really cool in this photo and in person. 

This 20th century cut glass and beaded lantern is estimated at $1,000 - $1,500 and there are two in the sale. It's 25" tall so it would make a statement in a room. My feeling is that one would want to look at the condition of the beading pretty closely (or get a condition report from Christie's). I'll bet it goes for under the low estimate, but we'll see later this week.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

More mirrors

I came across some magazine photos of real statement mirrors that might spark some more ideas.

Elle Decor
I love this powder room. The mirror and the paint color make the room.

A distinctive mirror hung over a console table with collections and/or photographs makes a wonderful entrance statement or livens up a hallway. 

                           Traditional Home 

This mirror makes this a very elegant bedroom. 

                        Homes and Gardens, UK
These are just a few ideas, and auctions always have mirrors of various styles, and often at very good prices.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Decorating with Mirrors

When we went to Doyle's to pick up the painting we purchased they were already setting up for their next auction, Doyle @Home coming up March 10th. I was struck by all the decorative mirrors in the sale (no catalogue on line yet), and it got me thinking about decorating with mirrors. Just like pictures on the wall, mirrors add interest and character to any room, whether it 'needs' a mirror or not!

Decorators will tell you where you should have a mirror, but anywhere in a house or apartment can benefit from a really decorative mirror or two. We have friends who had a long hallway and they lined it with 5 or 6 mirrors of different styles and sizes. It looked great.  Auctions are great places to find them.

A few examples in my own home include the following:

Our dining area is part of a living/dining room. We wanted to define the space within the larger room and we used three devices to do that. We build a shell cabinet in to the wall, we put up a chandelier, and we added a mirror.


We bought the 18th century Georgian mirror at an auction at Bonham's in London when we lived there. I had always wanted a Georgian mirror like this and we looked at many auctions and even bid a few times before we had a success. We also checked out retail stores and antiques fairs for examples and pricing, and feel we got a good price for this purchase.

Our living area is punctuated by a favorite Venetian style mirror that we bought at Doyle's some years ago. It's one of a pair. Here is the overall context and the mirror itself. 


We have not seen that many Venetian mirrors with blue, and liked this one particularly.

A group of pictures on a wall looks even more interesting with a mirror amongst the group, or an interesting mirror can be the focal point of the room.

We purchased this mirror at an auction for very little money ($75). It's just a great looking piece, and now has pride of place at our daughters' house. It really dresses up the living room. No-one will ever know how much it cost.

The upcoming Christie's Interiors auction ( March 2 and 3) has some nice examples, including this one:

Christie's: Scandinavian Giltwood Mirror, 18th/19th C. Est. $1,000 - $1,500

The recent Doyle's Belle Epoque sale had some interesting less expensive examples (that went for less than the low estimates and some went unsold).


Venetian mirror sold $450                          Neoclassical giltwood sold $450

Both mirrors are pretty big (53" x 30", and 69" x 30" respectively) and would serve as a very nice focal point in a living or dining room, or even a kitchen for that matter to dress it up a bit. They would certainly make a bathroom look glam too!Just think of a mirror as another piece of art.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Did we win at Doyle's auction Feb. 24th?

Doyle's had the Belle Epoque auction today and we had bid on two items.

We bid on this painting attributed to  Francis Davis Millet who painted at the end of the 19th century, and died on the Titanic. The painting is supposed to be of his wife. The painting has some condition issues that were noted in the catalogue. Thus we bid under the low estimate. This one was for me because I found her very intriguing and love her direct gaze. My husband was not as interested.


Francis Davis Millet. Est. $1,500 - $2,500
We won this one, and under the low end! This will hang in my new home office at the house we're building. I will really enjoy having her gaze over me every day.

The other item we bid on was this console table and mirror. 

  Art Deco Iron Console Table and Mirror Est. $800 - $1,200

We were not successful on this. We put in a bid above the high end of the estimate range but it went for $4,000 ($5,000 with the premiums added on). This is disappointing, but one needs to set limits!

One of the other pieces we admired that I'd profiled on the blog on this auction was this very interesting bronze hanging cabinet. We didn't bid on it, and we would have missed it by a mile. 

    Charles Parker Co. Aesthetic Movement Cabinet Est. $1,000 - $1,500

This sold for $8,500 ($10,625 with the premiums)! It really was a cool piece and I guess some others thought so as well!

This vase that was in my blog went for a steal in my view. It was as lovely in person as in the photo.

Art Nouveau Vase Est. $500 - $700
This went for $350 ($438 with premiums). 

I always find it very instructive to look through the auction results on line. It's part of the constant education on pricing. That said, each auction is a dynamic of the specific people bidding, and a competition between two people can drive a price up.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

March Auction Schedule

The winter has been punishing with all the snow, and always seems long by March. The auction schedule this month is terrific and will provide some respite to the weather. I have some high and low choices below and different styles, so there should be something for everybody, even if only doing some web surfing of on-line catalogues.

Doyle Auctions, New York
  • March 10: Doyle @Home. Preview March 6 - 9. This is the 'decorating' auction, and often has good finds.
  • March 22: Asian Works of Art. Preview March 19 - 21. This falls in to the category of a more specialized auction with many of the items well beyond our price range. We love Asian art and will go to look, but there will be many bidders with a lot more knowledge to 'invest' than us. 
Doyle: Sino-Tibetan Buddha Est. $5,000 - $7,000

Bonhams New York

Bonhams has a good presence in San Francisco and Los Angeles as well as I'll give an example of upcoming auction in San Francisco below. 
  • March 10 (New York): Africa Now: African Modern and Contemporary Art. Previews March 5 - 10. This also looks like a specialists auction, but very interesting. We just don't know anything about the contemporary African art and would be out of our depth to bid given the prices in the catalogue. We'll go to enjoy and learn more about contemporary African art and artists. 
Bonhams: Muraina Oyelami Est. $2,000 - $3,000
  •  March 16 (San Francisco): Asian Works of Art. Preview March 12 - 14.
Swann Galleries, New York
  • March 9: 19th and 20th Century Prints and Drawings. Preview March 4 - 8. No on-line catalogue available yet. 
  • March 23: Fine Photographs. Preview March 18 - 23. 
Tepper Galleries, New York 
  • March 12 and 13: Estate Auction. Preview March 10 and 11. We have not yet been to this auction house, but it was recommended by a friend who has bought items to decorate her apartment in the past. She tells us it's a lower end auction, and we'll make a point of checking it out. The upcoming estate auction has no detail on line as yet. 

Stair Galleries, Hudson, NY
  • March 12: Exposition auction: Modernism - 20th Century and Contemporary Furniture, Decorations and Fine Art. Preview March 5 -12. The last 'Exposition' auction we placed a bid for some items was just in February. There were a lot of good deals. We'll make a point of going to this one, and maybe in person to the auction!
Copake Auction, Copake, NY
  • March 6: Unreserved Catalogued Estate Sale. Preview March 4 - 6. We heard about Copake Auctions from a friend who's been following my blog. He says it's pretty low end and often the items don't look quite as good in person as on-line, but we have to try it. They seem to have interesting things and very good prices. 
New Orleans Auction/St. Charles Gallery
  • March 20 - 21: Estate Auction. There are no details on this as yet, but we've had good luck with New Orleans Auction, and they will provide condition reports if you are interested in something. We bought a few things remotely and have been happy so far.We'll check their web site closer to the date to see what they have.
Christie's New York

Christie's has almost too many auctions to list. The link above will take you to the March calendar.  I'll just note the next Interiors sale because it's the more affordable offering. The others would be fun to go to for art and education!
  • March 2 and 3: Christie's Interiors. Preview February 26 - March 3. This is another of their lower end 'decorating' sales. The last one we went to had some very interesting things and we know that several that we'd looked at went for less than the low estimate. So, it's time to go again and see what they have!
 Christie's: Bernard Cathelin $800 - $1,200

Sotheby's New York

This is the link to the Sotheby's New York March calendar. They have seven auctions going on in March ranging from Contemporary art to Chinese, Indian, and Impressionists. Just to pick one that might be fun:
  • March 17: Important 20th century Design. Preview March 12 - 16.  This looks to have a great selection of 20th century furniture and lighting with prices to match!
Sotheby's: Louis Marjorelle Desk Est. $9,000 - $12,000

    Wright Auctions, Chicago

    We have developed an interest in mid-century modern art, decoration and furniture. I had seen Wright auctions mentioned a number of times in decorating magazines, and look at the web site periodically. They are well known in the mid-century market. I have used it more as an education on specific designers and pricing by reviewing past auction results. Always interesting things to look at if this is an area of interest for you.
    • March 23: Modern Design. Preview 15 - 24 March. On-line catalogue not yet available.It would be interesting to compare with the Sotheby's one noted above.
    Philips de Pury, New York
    • March 4: Contemporary Art Evening Sale. Preview Feb. 27 - March 4. This is definitely not up my alley, but going to the previews can be fun people watching and a great view of the High Line.
    Philips de Pury: George Condo, Est. $80,000 - $120,000

    There's a lot going on in March, and we'll need to be selective on where we go. There just isn't enough time in the day! We'll at least take a look at the catalogues on-line even if we can't go in person.

    Sunday, February 21, 2010

    Doyle's and Swann visits this weekend

    We visited Swann Galleries for the preview of African-American Fine Art. We saw paintings we liked, but most were out of our price range. I think this is a market requiring more knowledge than we have just yet before contemplating a bid.

    We did make an outing of our trip to the Faltiron district and had lunch at a very good Greek restaurant, Kellari Parea Bistro, which we would recommend.

    We went to Doyle's twice this weekend There was a good range of furniture, paintings, and decorative objects. As is often the case, some items look better or worse in person. One art nouveau cabinet that I profiled in a previous blog entry was disappointing in person. It just didn't look that well made.

    Because there were a number of things we liked, the second visit was to finalize what we would bid on. We placed our absentee bids on two items. I will be deliberately vague until after the auction!

    We bid under the low estimate on a painting that I like very much, but don't want to pay as much as the estimate range. The artist is a known American painter who worked at the turn of the 19th century. I googled him which turned up a Wikipedia entry and a fair amount of photos of his paintings. An interesting side fact is that he died on the Titanic.

    There was a piece of furniture we also liked very much and we bid well above the high end of the range. We will have to wait and see if others like it as well as we do! I hope not. The auction is this Wednesday.

    Saturday, February 20, 2010

    Books I've found helpful with Auction Decorating

    I've added a book list to the blog of books that I've found to inspire, give guidance or be resources when needed. The list will be on the side panel of the blog, but a brief review of the first ones to make it to the list. Many are a bit old and you may find that you have to buy them used on Amazon. I got one of them recently for under $3.00 (the shipping was as much).
    • 'Antiques for Today's Interiors' by Genevieve Weaver and Helen Chislett. Genevieve Weaver is an owner of Guinevere Antiques in London. The shop always have very interesting and sometime quirky, unique pieces. I find the book full of ideas of how to decorate your home with antiques and unusual objects. 
    •  'Caring for Your Collections' is an essential resource guide for preserving and protecting art, furniture and collectibles of all descriptions. So when you buy that table with the water stain or the veneer problem, this book will help you find the way to fix it. 
    •  'Decorating with Pictures: Collecting Art and Photography and Displaying It in Your Home', by Stephanie Hoppen. I connected immediately with the author who also hates bare walls! She approaches collecting from the stand point of buying what you like rather than trying to 'invest'. She's my kind of girl when she says at the beginning 'Rules are meant to be broken.' The book is mostly a primer on how to approach collecting, with fewer pages on framing and displaying. But there are lots of pictures to give inspiration.
    •  'Displaying Pictures and Photographs', by Caroline Clifton-Mogg and Piers Feetham. This book's focus is on the art of display. This include framing, arranging and lighting, all of which can enhance any work of art. 
    • 'Irreplaceable Artifacts: Decorating the Home with Architectural Ornament', by Evan and Leslie Blum.  I have always liked decorating with architectural or ornamental salvage. We recently bought a set of deco styled window grills at auction with that in mind. This book has lots of ideas, and the authors have a store in Manhattan - The Demolition Depot on East 125th Street - that we've been to a few times. 
    • Learning to See: Bringing the World Around You Into Your Home' by Vincente Wolf. Wolf is a well known decorator, but for me this book is somewhat different from the other decorator books I have on my shelves. It has lots of ideas on how you might decorate with even ordinary objects (likes shovels!). I find it full of ideas to make your house really interesting.

          Friday, February 19, 2010

          Another auction this weekend: Swann Galleries

          I saw an ad in the paper for an upcoming auction at Swann Galleries. I had not been familiar with them so we plan to go this weekend. The next auction is of African-American Fine Art. The auction will be February 23rd and the preview began today through February 23rd at Noon. This is a link to the on-line catalogue.

          Admittedly we don't know very much about African-American art, but this will be a chance to start to learn, as well as check out a 'new' auction house. The prices are also a bit out of our range. I found myself drawn to this artist who has a number of paintings represented in the catalogue.


          Swann Galleries: Romare Bearden (1911- 1988) $12,000 - $18,000

          The gallery is at 104 East 25th Street so we may have a chance to try a Malaysian restaurant we've heard about - Laut, 15 East 17th Street. As always, going to an auction preview should be an event that includes lunch!

          Wednesday, February 17, 2010

          Doyles This Weekend: Belle Epoque Auction

          We're quite excited by the upcoming Doyles auction titled 'Belle Epoque: 19th & 20th Century Decorative Arts'. In my opinion it's not really all strictly 'Belle Epoque', but that doesn't matter. It has lots of interesting items that will tempt us.

          There are some 605 items in the auction and a wide range of  decorative items including furniture, paintings, silver, pottery and lighting.

          You might have fun looking at the on-line catalogue. Not all the photos are in as yet.

          Doyles on line catalogue

          A few examples (and not necessarily the ones we're interested in so that you can't bid against us!).

                John McClure Hamilton, 1916 (?) Est. $600 - $800
          If you Google the artist he lived 1853 - 1936 and was a Philadelphia resident who most of his life worked in London. His work is held by 4 American museums including the National Potrait Gallery in Washington, DC. 

                  Syrian Bone and Mother of Pearl inlaid Chair: Est. $800 - $1,200
          I think this is a fun conversation piece. It would be more to look at than to actually sit in, but of course you could. You would feel like royalty on a throne!

                Gorham Sterling Silver Pitcher: Est. $400 - $600
          I think this is a very nice shape and would make a beautiful table decoration or a vase for flowers.

           Charles Parker Co, Aesthetic Movement Bronze 
                Hanging Cabinet Est. $1,000 - $1,500

          I think this is really interesting looking, and would be a focal point in a room.

              Art Nouveau Gilt $ Enameled Vast: Est. $500 - $700
          I think this is a lovely vase and one of the less expensive offerings in this category. They have quite a number of well known makers represented such as Lalique and Galle.

                       Venetian Mirror: Est, $500 - $700
          I love Venetian mirrors. They dress up any room. We have a reproduction one in our powder room, and bought a pair at auction with one of them in our living room.

          We'll be going to the preview this weekend and it looks to be lots of fun. I'll bet we bid on something! Check out the catalogue on-line and it may give you some ideas.

          Tuesday, February 16, 2010

          Profile (1): Auction decorating

          One of my step-daughters bought a mid-19th century Italianate-style house in New York State. She plans it to be her home and a bed and breakfast. She searched for the right house for a few years, and purchased furniture along the way with this in mind. This includes buying a number of items at auction. I thought several of her purchases could serve as a good profile for auction decorating.

          This antique table was purchased at Doyle's in New York a year or so ago, and now serves as a focal point for the dining room. She had attended the auction preview and fell in love with the table. The blue and white decoration set the decorating scheme for the dining room (the table was temporarily out of the dining room for this photo).


          Her only disappointment at the auction process was that she was not successful bidding on a set of chairs that went with the table. She subsequently bought chairs that go very well, in my opinion. I happen to love this table and we subsequently bought a chandelier at a local antique shop that is painted wood that will look great over this table.

          She also bought this fireplace fan at Doyle's. This is an example of something she is not that happy with. She saw this only on-line and bid absentee. She says that when she saw it in person it did not meet her expectations from the on-line photo, and it needs some repairs. 

          Finally, this 19th century linen press was purchased at Lots Road auctions in London. She came to visit us when we still lived in London about two years ago, and we wandered over to view the sale preview. She made a successful absentee bid, and we arranged for shipping back to the US. The shipping probably cost as much as the linen press.


          We probably hadn't done our homework on the shipping costs before she bought this, but I'm still convinced it was not a bad deal with all costs included. I've done some quick on-line searching and have found antique linen presses ranging from $4,500 to $9,000.  Besides it's a wonderful focal point in her parlor!

          I think all in all my step-daughter has found some wonderful antiques at auction to decorate her terrific old house. She loves auctions as much as we do, and she will no doubt have more opportunities to find great pieces to bid on and hopefully win the ones she wants most!

          Sunday, February 14, 2010

          Stair Galleries Auction, Hudson, NY 12 February

          We couldn't get up for the auction that Stair Galleries held Friday, February 12th in Hudson, NY.

          We did, however, look at the on-line catalog and decided to bid on several lots. The estimated prices looked so good that we decided to take a chance with absentee bids even though we couldn't see the lots in person. I don't like the Stair absentee bidding set up, but we set our top price and went with it. Most other auction houses will sell you the item at an increment above the last bid, but at Stair they will sell it only at your full bid, even if it was a lot more than the last bid from the floor at the auction.

          This was one of their 'Exposition' auctions which is for items typically ranging from $25 to $2,000. They don't accept phone or on-line bids for these auctions. This auction was titled "AMERICAN, ENGLISH AND CONTINENTAL Furniture, Silver, Glass, Porcelain, Fine Art and Decorations."

          We bid on 3 lots:
          • A Louis XVI style brass and marble stand that we gave a low ball bid on. A very decorative item that we figured could go almost anywhere as a display stand.
           Stand: Est. $150 - $175
          •  A pair of directoire style steel and brass gueridons (small tables) that would make great end tables. We bid at the low end of the range.

           Gueridons: Est. $200 - $300
          •  Four deco style window grills. It's not clear from the description if they are a set, but we guessed that they were not. We bid above the top end of the estimate range because we liked the one pictured quite a bit, and would pay that much for the one. The other 3 would be a bonus. I could see using these as wall decoration on our new house. 

            Four Window Grills: Est. $200 - $300

          We were hopeful enough of winning at least one bid that we arranged to drive up Saturday morning. You have to pick up your 'winnings' by 1pm or pay a storage fee.

          The result of this experiment was.....!

          We got an email from Stair at about 10pm Friday night telling us that we were successful on the window grills with our bid of $425 ($536 with buyers premium and tax). Now we just had to drive up to Hudson to see what we actually bought.

          The other items went for:
          • Brass and marble stand: $300.00
          • Directoire-style gueridons: $550.00
          We love the window grills. They are a matched set of four (the catalog description had been unclear). They are two widths, and they are over 6 feet tall. We think we can either use them as mounted wall decorations or bed headboards if hung sideways, or if we get someone to join them together they could be a folding screen.

          A good experiment, and we'll definitely be watching out for future 'Exposition' auctions at Stair.

          Friday, February 12, 2010

          Decorating with Pictures

          You may have guessed by now that I lean towards paintings when we go to auction previews. I love walls with interesting pictures, whether they are prints, painting, drawing or photographs. When I go to a home, restaurant, or hotel, one of the first thing I notices are the walls, and bare walls disturb me! Pictures add warmth and character. They don't need to be expensive, just interesting and reflective of you.

          I came home to my new edition of Elle Decor, and the cover for March perfectly reflects what I'm talking about.

          Elle Decor cover March 2010

          I love the way the art work is displayed on the walls, and that there's lots of it. There isn't just one picture per wall, and the hanging even adds more depth to the presentation. It's not all symmetrical, but I'm sure it was well planned. There's an article inside the magazine titled 'On Display' that has a few ideas on how to hang art like this (maybe a tad too busy for me in the article).

          Auctions are great places to build a collection of pictures for decorating and enjoyment. Over the years we've bought paintings and prints that have added warmth to our home. Our taste has evolved over the years, and some of the paintings we bought early on have now moved on to new homes with our daughters. Even if you are just decorating your first place, an auction can provide the beginnings of a grouping like the one on the Elle cover.

          I would call our taste eclectic since we have art work from the 18th century right through to contemporary artists, and ranging from American, to European, to Asian, and Latin American.

          Our strategy is to buy what we like, and we will enjoy looking at it in our home.We never buy to fit a style or color scheme in a room. If there is somehow a clash of color, then there will be another room for the picture.

          Before we hang pictures we try them in several places first before settling on just the right spot. We might lean them against the wall for a day or two, or group them on the floor to plan the hanging pattern. It's funny how we often have that 'ah-ha' moment when the placing of the picture is exactly right.

          I like grouping pictures but have to admit that I don't do it that often. Some of my rules would include:
          • If the wall is very large, it probably needs more than one picture on it. This could be several pictures, or pictures and some other art work, say, decorative plates. 
          • If the picture is meant to be a focal point for the room, then probably keep the things around it to a minimum. 
          • Even nooks and crannies of walls can be very nice places for a group of small pictures. They can be a bit of a surprise to the person who happens on them. 
          • No matter what the size of the wall, a large grouping of pictures can be an 'artwork' in itself, somewhat like a collage. Family photos can make wonderful wall decoration in large numbers (vary the size and frames).
          I have a book that I have found a good source of ideas and practical information: 'Displaying Pictures and Photographs', by Caroline Clifton-Mogg and Piers Feetham (1993). I checked Amazon and they still have them, even though it's a bit old.

          The grouping don't need to be of the same style or genre, and may be more interesting if they aren't. Here we have a 19th century Irish mirror along side a 19th century painting of a young woman (bought at auction) and two contemporary Irish landscape paintings.

           Compared to the Elle cover, I have been very conservative with the number of things I have on this wall. I might have to rethink it!

          Wednesday, February 10, 2010

          Auctions this week - results

          To my surprise both Doyle's and Christie's went ahead with their auctions today (Feb. 10). There is quite the blizzard in New York, and they wouldn't have had the attendance. That might say something about how many of their bids come in remotely.

          In reviewing the Doyle's result, I'd say that in general they looked on the low side with many coming in under or near the low estimate range. There looks to be quite a few bargains. However, the painting we liked (Lot 40) went for $2,250, while the estimate was $800 to $1,200. I'm glad we didn't go!

          Quite a bit of the furniture seemed to go for bargain prices. In my opinion, buying furniture at auction is by far the least expensive way to buy, and far below retail - old or new. This table sold for $480!

          Doyle's: George III Style Dining Table. Est $700 - $1,000. Sold for $480.

          My husband was interested in a mahogany bagatelle table. I had no idea what this was, but he tells me it's like a small version of pool and popular in English bars.

          Doyle's: Mahogany  bagatelle table. Est. $500 - $700. Sold for $325 ($406 with buyers premium)

          He's disappointed he missed it. 

          At Christie's the painting I liked (previous blog) that was estimated at $500 - $700 went for $2,750! Obviously others liked it as well. 
          Several other items we had looked at sold for well over the estimates like this sculpture. 

          Christie's: Bronze 'crows' (signed). Est. $1,000 - $1,500. Sold for $10,625!

          There were also many good buys to be had. I picked this table out as an example.

          Christie's: Burr birch and ebonized center table. Est $1,500 - $2,000. Sold for $688 (including premium). 

          You just can't tell what will be a bargain, and what will fly by you when the bidding starts. The trick is to know your limit and not get too emotionally attached to an item. There will always be another auction!

          Monday, February 8, 2010

          Two auctions this week to decorate your home (week of Feb. 8th)

          Last week I highlighted a few auctions coming up in February. I attended two sale previews today with my husband. We just got back from a long trip last night, and I didn't think I had the energy to attend any sale previews, but I am very glad that I did. They both had lots to inspire one for furnishing and decorating a home.

          Both Doyles and Christie's are having sales this week focused on decorating rather than collecting: Doyles @Home, and Christie's Interiors. We're not really in the market to furnish a room, let alone a whole house at this stage, but if we were these would provide lots to think about.

          The Doyle's preview had a number of interesting pieces of furniture, mirrors and paintings (among other things), but somehow we weren't tempted. Here's a link to the catalog:

          We were somewhat interested in Lot 40 for this painting of a woman which also has a very interesting frame, but it's in a lot that includes another painting of no interest. This sometimes happens and you need to make a decision on whether it's worth it.

          Doyles @ Home - Lot 40 $800 - $1,200

          The Christie's offering is huge. We had never been to Christie's in New York before so this was a first for us. The items are spread over three floors and range in styles from very traditional to mid-century. They have the advantage of space so they can arrange things in many cases in room groupings. Here's the catalog link:

          Here are a few photos from the Christie's sale of room ideas.

          Christie's Interiors sale 9 & 10 February - Deco 'room'
          In the past few years we have developed more of an interest Deco and mid-century styles. We could see several pieces in this grouping in our home. 

              Christie's Interiors sale 9 & 10 February - 'Bedroom'

          This room could be a lovely traditionally furnished bedroom: dressers, paintings, mirrors and all!

          Christie's Interior sale 9 & 10 February - 'Living room'
          This could furnish a lovely traditional living room. I even like the red fabric on the sofa and chairs.

          We did find that some things we were interested in from reviewing the catalog pictures didn't look as good in person. It reminded us that buying without seeing in person has it's dangers. We've done it, but there are mistakes to be made.

          Saturday, February 6, 2010

          Going to an auction preview & exploring the Meatpacking District

          We recently moved back to New York City from London. We were away for 5 years, and while we visited fairly often, the City has moved beyond what we left 5 years ago. And that's what makes it fun being back!

          Something we've always enjoyed is exploring different neighborhoods in NY. We decided to visit the Meatpacking district along with the High Line park. But what to do, other than wander around. We were searching for more auction options and found that Phillips de Pury auctions had moved to that area, so that formed our anchor for the day's visit to the neighborhood.

          Phillips specializes in contemporary art, and is located at 450 West 15th Street. The scene at the preview was very cool. They served drinks at several champagne bars, had music playing, and most of those wandering the galleries were dressed in hip downtown black. The art was out of our price range, and maybe mostly out of our taste range too, but it was lots of fun.

          One of the gallery floors overlooks the High Line, and this added to the 'scene'. We could have hung out there for a while and nibbled on snacks, but we decided to wander the neighborhood.

          The High Line is a must. It's the best urban park I've ever been to. It's a wandering garden on elevated train tracks, and the street and river are part of the theater of it. There's actually a theater-like seating area looking to a big plate glass opening over the avenue, making entertainment of watching the traffic and the people going about their day below.

          We ate at Spice Market at 403 West 13th Street, which was great. I love Asian fusion food, and also the cool crowd.

          If you take the High Line and walk north you will end up in Chelsea. There's an exit at West 20th Street. If you still have the energy starting at West 19th Street and going up to West 28th Street is the Chelsea art gallery district. The link has a map of the galleries and what's on at each. There's art for everyone!

          This might be an outing in itself, and look for show openings where you can spend an evening wandering the galleries and be served free appetizers and wine!
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