Mysterious art deco designer surfaces at auction

Editorial Staff

A dozen pieces of fresh-to-market art deco furniture came up for auction last month, with a puzzling tale of origin for new owners to unravel. The consignor to the May 17 sale, at Burchard Galleries in St. Petersburg, Fla., inherited them from a cosmopolitan friend named Gertrude Maud Goldsmith (1894-1990), along with a saga involving misogynist discrimination and aristocratic family …

Behind the Screen: A look at Summer Hours with François-Renaud Labarthe

Editorial Staff

“Summer Hours,” a new indie French film and critical hit of the season, written and directed by Olivier Assayas, makes antiques into movie stars. The plot hinges on a dozen circa-1900 masterworks, including furniture by Louis Majorelle and Josef Hoffmann, glass and ceramic vases by Félix Bracquemond and Atelier d’Auteuil, and paintings by Camille Corot and Odilon Redon. They belong, …

Maher’s Moment: A Prairie School master emerges

Editorial Staff

George Washington Maher (1864-1926) based his long architectural career on what he called “motif rhythm theory.” In designing scores of houses around the Midwest, the Chicago architect gave each building its own distinctive floral pattern; hollyhocks, thistles, or lilies, modeled after local flowers, coursed through everything from the column capitals to the glass-mosaic fireplaces (such as the one illustrated below …