September 14, 2009 | Although Louis Comfort Tiffany stills commands the lion's share of the market for 20th-century lighting design, many collectors have eschewed these opulent art lamps for mass-produced lightning by international, often anonymous designers—embracing the functional as well as the aesthetic value of their designs. Several dealers have carved a niche in this specialized field, and I recently visited a few New York-based galleries to see some of their offerings firsthand. Below is just a small sample of the collectible and covetable lighting fixtures available.
Gregg Wooten, co-owner of the 20th-century design gallery Mondo Cane, stocks plenty of lighting fixtures in his two-story Tribeca showroom. Lighting, he points out, is a practical and utilitarian investment, but there is a great range of beauty to be found as well. Wooten admits a bias toward mid-century Italian lighting, which he feels offers the most interesting and best-made designs. He cites manufacturer Arredoluce's 3-armed Trienalle lamp as an example of Italian lighting design at its best-sculptural, utilitarian, beautiful, and timeless. However at Mondo Cane he is committed to integrating more obscure and anonymous designs into their inventory, since they offer great value to collectors, he says. Wooten advises novice lighting enthusiasts to "do a little homework" before making that first purchase by visiting museums and looking at period examples and reading up on the history of lighting. Nonetheless, he urges them to buy pieces that they love, regardless of pedigree.
Prague Kolektiv, located in Brooklyn's design-rich DUMBO district, specializes in design from the former Czechoslovakia, where owners Barton Quillen and Giovanni Negrisin spent extensive time and discovered a mutual love for the region's avant-garde prewar and mid-century designs. Quillen says that he
July 6, 2009 | Bibi Mohamed's 35 years of experience in the field of fine and rare books make her a go-to dealer for discriminating book collectors and bibliophiles. At her Madison Avenue gallery, Imperial Fine Books, she strives to aid both experienced and novice collectors in building a library and tracking down volumes they may be missing from their collection. Mohamed, who started her career in the field at J. N. Bartfield before going freelance and subsequently opening her own shop, is as passionate about books as her clients are. She is also a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, and the Art and Antique Dealers League of America.
Mohamed's inventory is extensive, spanning literature and poetry, history and Americana, Judaica, children's books, and publications concerning music and sports. Imperial Fine Books also specializes in restoring, rebinding, and cleaning leatherbound books. Their bindery, which has th…» More
June 18, 2009 | Palm Beach's Henry Morrison Flagler Museum turned 50 last week. To commemorate this special anniversary, local collectors Leon and Charlotte Amar announced a generous gift of forty-one examples of fine and decorative arts from their collection. The Amar gift—the museum's largest to date—is valued at $2,657,000, and includes European paintings, prints, French furniture and rugs, and Asian artifacts. Of note are English paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries by Richard Parkes Bonington, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Henry Courtney Selous, and George Romney, as well as 19th-century pastel portraits by Jean-Étienne Liotard and Jean Valade. Additionally, the Amar gift features many significant examples of Chinese decorative art, such as a pair of Qing Dynasty vases and a Zhou dynasty bronze vessel.
The highpoint of the gift, however, is undoubtedly a Louis XV bombé commode made in 1761 by the French ébéniste Léonard Boudin (1735-c.1804). It is currently on view in the Music Room of Whitehall, Flagler's 55-room mansion—designed by Carrere and Hastings and completed in 1902—which houses the museum's collection and exhibitions. Reflecting the Gilded Age taste for historical eclecticism, its interiors, commissioned from the New York firm of Pottier and Stymus, embrace a variety of period styles. The Music Room, which was intended to emulate a French-style opera house and includes a 1,249-pipe J.H. & C.S. Odell Co. organ, makes a fitting backdrop for Boudin's luxurious rococo commode.
Pickle Dish, American China Manufactory (Bonnin and Morris), Philadelphia, 1771-72. Soft-paste porcelain with lead glaze; height 4 3/16, width 4 1/2» View All