Welcome back to our second IFD Focus, which will now be a monthly feature on our blog.It is an opportunity to present, in a primarily pictorial fashion, an area of focus that we deem to be important and believe is of interest to you.
Today’s focus is on Art.The contribution of Art to almost any space is immeasurable and the mediums, styles, and price points available are infinite.Back in March of 2009, Irwin wroteStart with the Art, where he suggests beginning the design of a room with art. Whether you subscribe to that school of thought or to the myriad of other possibilities, incorporating art into your surroundings will enrich your life.
So without further ado, allow me to present some of the amazing works of art we are privileged to have in the gallery.
Oil on Canvas:
Independence by Leon Wall. Oil on Canvas
Oil on Canvas by Sid Maurer
Daphne by George Ratkai. Oil on canvas 1963
Encounter by George Ratkai. Oil on Canvas 1960
Le Ruisseau d' Esparrignac by Henri Cueco. Oil on Canvas 1960's
Silkscreens including a substantial collection by noted artist Vincent Longo:
Cluster by Vincent Longo
1964: Silkscreen 5/25
Center: Grid by Vincent Longo
1964 Silkscreen AP
1970: Silkscreen by listed artist Nadine Prado. 5/10 AP
1970: Framed silkscreen by listed artist Nadine Prado 33/100 AP
Series 8 Vertical Tri Motif Silkscreen AP by Gordon House
Series 8 Vertical Tri Motif Silkscreen AP by Gordon House
Giclee Prints of Etchings:
Print of Horse bit etching from the 1600's
Print of Horse bit etching from the 1600's
Print of Saturn Cosmos etching from the 1800's
Print of Venus Cosmos etching from the 1800's
Giclee Print of Original Photograph
"Fran" by Lu Jarvis
Giclee Print of Original Photograph
Brown Bird in a Blizzard by Marcy Feld. Giclee print 2010
Cardinal in a Blizzard by Marcy Feld. Giclee print 2010
Prints of Pen & Ink Drawings from the '60s:
Whatever your taste or budget, surround yourself with art and become inspired each and every day.
For additional information on any of the art featured in this post, please visit the inventory section of our website.
While we no longer roam the Serengeti, and most of us never did, we are all wild, wild about this new oasis we call home.
I was not the first to arrive, but somehow I was made the leader.I was happy to accommodate and fill the position because it offered me something I had never been privileged to have before, contact with others of my kind.
To breath fresh air once again, that was my first thought as my container was opened and the twinkling stars in the gallery sky greeted me.It had been so long, and I was so tired that I could not truly appreciate how far I had come.
Confined in a glass and pewter cage for more years than I cared to remember, I watched life pass me by. Surrounded by crystal figurines and articles of whimsy, I watched helplessly as wall calendars came and went.As seasons changed, I continued my isolated existence with only the occasional gentle touch of a human hand.
Things in my vantage point varied occasionally, visitors came and went but I remained as I was, perched dangerously high on a cliff made of glass.Then one day my life was turned upside down. I was removed from my crystal cave and thrown into a dark dungeon and that is where I remained until I was released into my current habitat.
And there I was, amongst my own for the first time that I could remember.No longer in a cage, I felt like part of a community.I was greeted every morning by happy smiling human faces who moved me on a regular basis and allowed me to visit with others like myself, who were delighted to find themselves in this sanctuary.
One of the first residents to greet me was Rhino.He had arrived just days before and was happy to find another to socialize with.He explained that he had been known in his former community as a leader, but his massive tusks had posed a threat to some of the young humans residing there, and rather than remove his striking attributes, he was boxed and sent to this safe haven.
Rhino introduced me to Giraffe who has spent her life until this point in the care of a young human who had cherished and coveted her.The young human had received Giraffe as a gift at birth and had kept her close by for years, but had recently been forced to downsize for economic reasons and could no longer care for Giraffe. It was a sad parting, but Giraffe was happy to have been delivered to such a fine home.
And the introductions continued.There was Dodo, who had recently been featured in a prominent position during Holiday House and was confident that he would find a permanent home soon and the Polar Bears, who had just awoken from hibernation and were anxious to find a new habitat before the next winter.Just a short distance away I found Roadrunner, who could not be in one place long enough to really chat with anyone and young Leo, a thin wiry cub who I have become a mentor to.
At the gates to our empire, I saw Flamingo, so statuesque and poised, standing guard, anxious to greet the next visitor to the gallery and Ram bowed gracefully in meditative prayer, instilling a sense of peace and calm throughout the land.
This is my kingdom.I am its leader and I live here surrounded by things of startling beauty and style. Here is where the wild things are.
I first shared this picture with you last Thursday, taken on my walk home from the Architectural Digest Show.It became our Photo of the Day, entitled “Simply Intoxicating”, because that accurately described the entire day.
Although I’ve lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for over thirty years, I have just recently begun to walk the Hudson riverfront daily, as part of a New Year’s resolution to get fit and had never even taken notice of the giant work of art before.I was so intrigued that I walked around the mammoth bottle and peered into its many port holes. What I saw delighted me so, I had to share it with you.
I had no idea when the giant bottle had “washed up” on the shores of the Hudson, so I did a little research.I discovered, thanks to an article by Albert Amateau in the Villager, and another in The Weblicist of Manhattan, that the oversized wine bottle, entitled “Private Passage”, was designed and created by Malcolm Cochran, a renowned artist and professor at OSU.It had been placed in that area of the Hudson River Park, entitled Clinton Cove in May of 2005.
"extra firm" mattress
And while the exterior was quite a surprise, the interior of “Private Passage” was even more astounding.Who would have imagined that the familiar message inside this oversized wine bottle was: “Great Design is Timeless” and how perfect to have stumbled upon this stainless steel recreation of a stateroom loosely based upon photographs of the ocean liner R.M.S. Queen Mary, on my way home from the AD Show. It was serendipitous!
The Art Deco inspired interiors and commissioned art installations for this “Grand Dame” of the sea were amazing.What began as a walk home from the Architectural Digest Show and an interest in an outdoor art installation quickly became a journey back in time. While Irwin and I marveled at many of the photos on the websites, my interest in the interior designers for the ship piqued and I began to look for additional information.While it is noted on wapedia, that much of the interior of this majestic ship was designed byThe Bromsgrove Guild of Applied Arts, I was not able to find more definitive information so… that voyage continues.
A wall can be so much more than…a wall.It can be more than a room divider, a spot to set furniture against, or a place to hang art.A wall can BE art.Case in point: Our Wall.
Yes, our wall: The wall at the front of our gallery space; the wall that separates us from the bathroom. The wall we face, when we are fortunate enough to be sitting at our desks. Our Wall.
Our wall was not in particularly good shape to begin with, well, if the truth be told, it was in terrible shape.We didn’t much care because despite its flaws, which we had disguised with several different shades of paint, it was still a more than worthy backdrop for some of our larger pieces of art and lighting.We probably would never have given it a second thought, had we not met Fabricio Fabri.
We met Fabricio, a superb painter and faux finish artist, while setting up for Holiday House, a designer tabletop show we participated in this past December. Our friend and interior designer, Jolie Korek, brought Fabrico in to cover a wall in the space we shared. We were so impressed with his talent that we invited Fabricio to work on a wall in our gallery
As is often the case in our business, a quick redo soon became a full-blown project, and we were swept up in the process.The metamorphosis was so astounding, that we thought we would share it with all of you.
Excited to begin the transformation, we were thrilled when Fabricio called and said that he was ready to begin.Like most paint jobs, as well as many faux painting projects, the thrill is in the almost immediate gratification. We were not anticipating a Michelangelo chapel project, just a quick “pick-us” up; a couple of days from start to finish.
Day 1: Fabricio, along with two assistants arrived at the gallery ready to begin the project. The scaffolding is put up and we begin to realize the scale of this project.The day was spent removing nails and spackling the holes that covered the wall.The spackle was allowed to dry and then sanded smooth.
Day 2: The men returned and began the task of skim coating the wall. (A process during which joint compound is spread over the wall in order to make the wall smooth and even.)
Skim Coating Begins
Day 3: The skim coating was allowed to dry.
Day 4: The skim coating was sanded and another layer of skim coating was applied.
Coating to perfection
This process was done two more times and a week had passed.
Week Two began, and we were making larger pots of coffee to accommodate our growing family.
Day 8: Let the primer begin! The first, of two coats of an oil-based primer (grey in color) were used to cover the wall, which was then smoothed out by brush in order to avoid “The Orange Peel Effect” (lumps and bumps on the surface).The odor was noxious and the neighbors complained.
All primed and ready to go
Day 9. The wall was allowed to dry and the neighbors grew restless.
Day 10.The second coat of primer was applied and smoothed out by brush.The fumes forced us to leave our doors open during the bitterest days of February.
Day 11.With the wall primed to perfection, Fabricio returned with his assistants and they taped the wall in a checkerboard pattern.Then they began their magic and began to apply the glaze. The first gaze was a beautiful metallic pewter with sand for added texture.After each square was painted, the excess paint was wiped off and a hard brush was used to create the magnificent striation effect. When Fabricio finished applying the first glaze, we were so in love with the color, we almost passed on the second color.
The wall is taped and the glazing begins
The process continues
The first glaze color is complete and side wall stripes are added
Day 12.The first color was left to dry.
Day 13.The second glaze color, a warm metallic bronze was applied and allowed to dry.
Applying the 2nd glaze color
Removing the last of the tape
Finishing the stripe wrap
the wall is complete
And….Voila, our feature wall was complete.Although it took longer than expected, the results far exceeded our expectations andthe finished product is so magnificent, we shudder at the thought of placing a single nail in it.It is, after all, Art.
Faux-Ward thinking-Mission accomplished
If you like the work you’ve seen and would like to contact Fabricio his information is below:
When I reach into what used to be the trick or treat candy stockpile and the only thing I can retrieve is a mini bag of Skittles and a single Starburst fruit chew, I know intuitively that, like it or not, the holiday season is once again upon us. And while this is a joyful season, filled with friends and celebration, gifts and galas, it is also a time for reflection and renewal, a time to share our good fortune with others who need our help.
Irwin and I love to entertain and over the years, we have developed quite a reputation for hosting wonderful get-togethers, dinners and events.Whether in the city, the country, the gallery, or an event space, our guests always look forward to seeing what innovative design techniques Irwin utilizes to create the perfect environment for the occasion.
So, when Irwin was invited to participate in the 2nd annual HOLIDAY HOUSE, a Designer Tabletop Show to benefit The Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, he immediately accepted.What better way to celebrate the season with friends, family and community, than to share his passion while supporting such a vital cause.
Founded in 1982, Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, is dedicated to education and research about causes, treatment, and the search for a cure for Breast Cancer.This year alone, about 192,370 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in American women (American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts and Figures 2009. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society, 2009.), and each and one of us knows someone who has been affected by this disease.
Irwin, along with design colleague, Jolie Korek will be offering day and evening interpretations of one of our most cherished national holidays, Independence Day.Irwin, promising to be true to form, will expand horizons and challenge perceptions while putting a new twist on the traditional red, white and blue celebration.
There will be no shortage of creativity at HOLIDAY HOUSEthis year: Irwin and Jolie will be sharing the house with other design notables including Jamie Drake, Charles Pavarini III and Bunny Williams.
So, please mark your calendars, and plan to visit HOLIDAY HOUSE 2009, and share this joyous season with Irwin and the design community.Become inspired and help to inspire others.
Irwin and I have been married for almost twenty-nine years and like most married couples, our lives are often like Ground Hog Day where we relive the same conversations over and over and over again.
I am the neurotic one. I always worry about the completion of a project and its result. Irwin is the visionary who has already planned the entire project in his head and can see the finish line before the start of the race.
This DIY project was no different. With the new finish of the fireplace wall complete, Irwin and I waited for the furniture delivery from the gallery the following day. I knew what we were sending back to Connecticut, but had no idea what Irwin had selected for our Great Room. Despite knowing that Irwin’s record spoke for itself, I worried about how the room would look and how this initial infusion of Mid Century Modern design into our country home would meld with the clean yet relaxed country feel of the rest of the house.
In our ten years of country life, we have had deliveries in rain, sleet and snow. We have had trucks that were unable to make it up the driveway, bookshelves that would not fit through the front door and mattresses that did not fit up stairways. Delivery day arrived, and true to form, it poured. The Bobs (our wonderful delivery company) finally arrived and carefully wiped their muddy shoes before entering the house and revealing the choices for the fireplace wall area of the Great Room.
Close up of Mid Century lamps & Industrial Sculpture
The first piece to make its entrance was the Mid Century gold credenza. As the Bobs centered it on the wall, I was amazed by its perfect fit. Although originally designed to be a filing cabinet by General Fireproofing, this beautiful MCM filing cabinet offered us clean, modern design with quite a bit of storage. Irwin coupled the cabinet with a pair of Italian blue glazed lamps that were Mid Century in design but were more organic in both shape as well as materials. The focal piece on that wall became a repurposed industrial sculpture, which in reality was the discarded portion of sheet metal that had been stamped out. We had originally placed it against one of our outbuildings where it acquired its beautiful patina, but when Irwin placed it on the credenza, we knew it had found a new home. The mixing of MCM design with Industrial pieces from the same time period added a new layer of interest to the room and a new area of interest for Irwin.
French Deco cowhide Club Chair
The two oversized southwestern club chairs that we had inherited from my mother-in-law were sent to that infamous underground Green Room in Stamford, otherwise known as “The Basement” and were replaced with a pair of French Deco cowhide club chairs that once graced our living room in NYC. The chairs were perfect in front of the fireplace wall and visual proof that it is entirely possible to mix periods within a room or a home and that doing so often enriches the design aesthetic. Besides, the chairs will offer much welcomed warmth on a cold night.
Mid century sofa
The shallow, more formal sofa that originally occupied the fireplace area of the room was unsuitable for lounging so we replaced it with a low profile modern sofa, covered in brown velvet. The newly covered MCM piece allowed for a flawless vista of the entire fireplace area from the other side of the Great Room and beyond. From the front, the sofa revealed deep plush seats with oversized comfy pillows ideal for lounging or conversation and is a favorite respite for our family pet Charlie.
Repurposed bedside tables
Bedside tables turned sideways in lieu of end tables flanked the sofa. The tables, topped with white marble accentuate the light carpet and added to the expansive feel of the room.
Patchwork Coffee Table
The patchwork copper and brass coffee table with its glass top was a perfect addition to the room supplying yet another layer of organic Mid Century design to the room along with the19th Century hand forged farm tools and…that graced either side of the fireplace wall.
Fireplace wall after Close Up
Fireplace Area of great room after I
fireplace area of great room after II
Whew. What a surprisingly easy transformation in just forty-eight hours. This was truly our favorite DIY project to date: An enormous return on a minimal amount of work and a brand new polished space to entertain in. Who could ask for anything more?
Well, we could. The space still needs custom pillows and window treatments along with a bluestone mantle, but for now, we’re just happy to kick back and enjoy our tenth year in the country.
Many of my clients visit the gallery looking for new and interesting ways to either redecorate or update their homes. Often, they come in armed with paint chips and fabric swatches, along with a long list of questions. The most common question, and often the most perplexing issue for most people is: “Where do I begin?”
Many designers subscribe to the philosophy of room design beginning with the selection of a rug. Over the years, I have also used a rug, or the room’s “lawn”, as the foundation for color, pattern and overall inspiration. While there is nothing wrong with that design approach, I have begun to abide by a somewhat different, if not irreverent, school of thought: Start with the Art.
Since opening the gallery, I have surrounded myself with different forms of art, from oils to lithographs, silkscreens and prints. Living with, and looking at various pieces of art in different gallery vignettes, had enabled me to understand the power that art has over us. If we allow ourselves to be open, we can all learn to build entire rooms around a single piece of art, raising it from accessory to focal point.
Art should be eye opening, stimulating, subjective and controversial. Art's ability to evoke emotion and energy can be the necessary catalyst to spark your imagination and allow you to think outside of the box. It may be a single color in the background, the blending of a brush stroke, or the basic composition, which generates that much needed new idea.
So pay attention to what is at eye level. With art as your inspiration, you can reach new heights of design achievement. Remember, you will never spill wine on your art, your dog will never have an accident on your art, and you will not have to vacuum your art. AND, best of all, Art is Eternal.