Sell sell sell! Buy buy buy!

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A brawny English Elm (probably an original park planting) just inside Engineer's Gate at 90th Street and Fifth Avenue.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020. Monday in New York was overcast, not really cold (43-45 degrees), rain sort of forecast and not really much.

There was an enormous response of regret to yesterday’s Diary of the passing of Nina Griscom. Her husband Leonel Piraino and her daughter Lily Baker will be celebrating Nina’s life at a funeral service tomorrow, Wednesday, at 11 am at St. James’ Church on Madison Avenue at 71st  Street.

Sell sell sell! Buy buy buy! First, the Mario Buatta auction at Sotheby’s this past Thursday and Friday shattered all estimates by those who forgot Mario was the Prince of Chintz forever. The total for the sale: $7.6 million, more than twice the auction house’s estimates with more than 95% sold. 


A PAIR OF ENGLISH ROCOCO REVIVAL CARVED AND GILTWOOD WALL LIGHTS WITH GILT BRONZE NOZZLES sold for
25,000 USD (Estimate was 4,000 – 6,000 USD).

Sotheby’s reported a huge number of bids came over the phone and the internet and from all over the world. Those who had predicted it would bomb because the Prince’s style is/was so yesterday were unaware of the man’s very wide popularity. It might also recognize that the current style of interior decorating is expensive hotel-room, monochromatic and lifeless without the addition of the work of hands be they craft, sculpture, and paint.

The actual showrooms at Sotheby’s, under the direction of Emily Evans Erdmann, created “rooms” that enhanced the collections as if you were in one of Mario’s designed rooms. The effect of being in these “rooms” evoked a strong memory of the man’s presence which included laughter and imagination along with his style of promoting design.


AN 18TH CENTURY TUSCAN NEOCLASSICAL GILTWOOD MIRROR sold for 17,500 USD (Estimate was 4,000 – 6,000 USD).
19TH CENTURY ENGLISH PORTRAITS OF CAVALIER KING CHARLES SPANIELS sold for 3-4 times their estimates.

Style Express. Last Thursday night at the Park Avenue Armory, The Winter Show (“5000 years of Art, Antiques & Design”) opened with a spectacular collection of eighty exhibitors from America, the UK and Europe.  The show is the annual benefit for the East Side House Settlement which is one of the city’s oldest non-profit social service organizations, established 128 years ago.

I am neither a collector, antiquaire, artist or connoisseur. I have been covering it for decades now because of the great work of the organization it benefits. But it is also a great treat for the eyes and imagination. If I had time I’d photograph every installation because they are fascinating and beautiful. Thursday night’s show seemed particularly alluring to this boy’s imagination. Beautiful creations all around. So I took some photos of works that caught my eye and fed my “interior design” imagination.


A fine Bessarabian kilim carpet, Ukrainian, circa 1890. Provenance: The Earl & Countess of Drogheda, Parkside House, Windsor — KESHISHIAN, London and New York.

The show runs through this coming Sunday.  Thursday night from 6 to 9 is Young Collector’s Night, one of the cornerstone events of the fair, welcoming the next generation of connoisseurs, philanthropist and art and design enthusiasts at an after-hours exclusive evening with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a private viewing.

Then on Friday night from 5:30 to 8 p.m. they are holding Connoisseurs Night with some of the world’s most prestigious art and antiques experts providing an evening of booth talks, wine tastings and conversations about collecting and design. To purchase tickets to these evening visit: thewintershow.org/visit

The show runs through Sunday, February 2nd. Daily Admission is $30 (which includes the catalogue) and can be purchased online at thewintershow.org or at the box office.


Charles Wallrock enamel, rose diamond and ruby Ottoman Turkish Celenc or “Plume of Triumph,” mounted in silver and gold, with clockwork mechanism, English 2017; $180,000 — WICK ANTIQUES, LTD, Hampshire, United Kingdom.
Sarah Moon, Fashion 10 (N.Y. Times), 1998, Signed, titled, dated, numbered. Edition of 11 of 15; $40,000 (unframed) — PETER FETTERMAN GALLERY, Santa Monica, California.
Emilie Pugh, Helianthus, 2019. Two layers of burnt kozuke paper — MICHAEL GOEDHUIS, London, Beijing, New York.
JAMES GRAHAM-STEWART, London, United Kingdom.
KELLY KINZLE, New Oxford, Pennsylvania.
GEMINI ANTIQUES LTD., Oldwick, New Jersey.
GEMINI ANTIQUES LTD.
GEMINI ANTIQUES LTD.
TAMBARAN, New York, New York.
S.J. SHRUBSOLE, New York, New York.
L. to r.: ADELSON GALLERIES, New York, NY; HIRSCHL & ADLER GALLERIES, New York, NY.
APTER-FREDERICKS LTD., London, United Kingdom.
PATRICK & ONDINE MESTDAGH, Brussels, Belgium.
CAROLLE THIBAUT-POMERANTZ, Paris, New York / PLEKTRON FINE ARTS, Zurich.

And while we’re on the subject of art and collecting: this Friday at the Richard Taittinger Gallery on 154 Ludlow Street in SoHo is the last chance to see Charlie Scheips’ show of paintings, Inventions Fugues Flowers. There is also a reception on Thursday from 6-8 with an RSVP:  VIP@richardtaittinger.com


Charlie Scheips, The Banquet (Sol/Mithras), 2019, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 inches.

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