Curious Objects: Another Man’s Treasure–Frank Levy discusses a Suite of Tapestry-Upholstered Furniture

Benjamin Miller and Michael Diaz-Griffith Curious Objects

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This month, Ben and Michael pay a visit to one of the New York antiques world’s preeminent galleries, Bernard & S. Dean Levy on 84th Street, where they speak with the fourth-generation co-proprietor, Frank Levy. Under discussion is a suite of furniture made for the storied Beekman family of New York—items which, until Levy got his hands on them, had never left the island of Manhattan—with one extremely over-the-top feature: the pieces are upholstered with export-quality French tapestries, i.e., material that wasn’t good enough for the French to hold on to. One man’s trash . . .

James Beekman family classical sofa made by John Banks, upholstered by William Denny, 1819–1820. Mahogany, tulip, ash, wool, gilt brass, and brass upholstery tacks; height 38 ½, width 72, depth 27 inches. Courtesy of Bernard & S. Dean Levy Inc.

Frank Levy oversees operation of the antiques firm Bernard & S. Dean Levy at 24 East 84th Street along with his father, Dean. Founded in 1901, the firm focuses on early American furniture, ceramics, and paintings, and has helped place museum-grade examples in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute, and the White House, among others.