Sunday, July 22, 2012


I've been pondering  "The Space Between" question quite a bit lately. For me, "The Space Between"  is the freedom for creativity to exist within a beautifully designed interior space--when a room is never perfect; when it leaves open spaces for the person experiencing the room to insert (perhaps only envision)  a piece of themselves, leave a footprint of their creative spirit. 
I used to relish baroque rooms--grand carvings, over-scale furniture, luscious textiles in velvets, silks, brocades--you name it--anything that filled my senses. My first memories are of being in the Cleveland Museum of Art (yes, Cleveland has a small and pretty great museum and symphony), I loved the armor!! And the Egyptian rooms with the mummies. But the paintings were always my favorites....... I still see them vividly--my first introduction to the Impressionists, the Renaissance Masters--but no modern works (no "spaces between").  I used to walk into baroque rooms or paintings (yes, you can walk into a painting) and be completely absorbed by what was given, by what my senses were experiencing. I loved being overwhelmed. (My Mexican and Spanish years)
But gradually, I've shifted. I've come to rest with my neoclassical passions. I love the silence that neoclassical based rooms allow me to have. I love the "spaces between" the given elements. I love how a life-giving abstract expressionist painting (which I may or may not like) becomes the perfect neighbor to a French Empire chest of drawers or an out-scrolled arm daybed (just to let you know: I'm not buying any more daybeds. I still adore them, but they take up a lot of space and they are really a hard-sell in California).
I love walking into a space that lets me breathe, where my eye rests, but is somehow stimulated to create at the same time. This is not to say that I'm enamored with super structured neo-classical: perfect pairs (please--too boring and over-done). Stiff sculptures and bronzes up the wherever--not for me.
Mid-century design was born from Art Deco which derives from Biedermeier; Biedermeier (can you believe that I can spell Biedermeier without spell check?) derives from Regency (Federal) and Empire  and it's predecessor, Louis XVI; Louis XVI/George III derive from Roman and Greek antiquity and there is some Egyptian thrown into the mix. (I guess that we are back to the mummies)
And... what I love most (well, maybe not "most", but it's up there) is the fact that neo-classical furniture lends itself beautifully to "the perfect mix" without loosing its identity.

That's why I'm buying good neo-classical pieces right now.

Early 19th century pieces are currently very accessible and are probably bottoming out in the downside of the inevitable swings in what's in and what's out in design. A  good Federal or Regency sideboard that used sell for $20,000-$25,000 is now fetching about $8,000. (The California market has always been much lower than the East Coast or European markets for neo-classical pieces.) 

Here are some of my recently acquired late 18th c./early 19th c. pieces that are in storage or being restored and will be set to go when the market for neoclassical pieces returns to its upward swing.

This is a gorgeous and almost mint French Empire (c. 1810) Bed (some would call it a daybed)--I bought it for about a third of what I would have had to spend a few years ago. Can you imagine it paired with a beautifully lacquered Tommy Parzinger credenza? A Karl Springer lacquered parchment console?

This is a rather large (57" wide) oval English Late George III Breakfast Table (c. 1800). Just look at the swoop of those legs. A sofa table for an Edward Wormley sofa? Between a pair of Papa Bear Chairs?


This table is also a late George III Breakfast table--the large diameter (54") makes is highly desirable and I bought it and the oval table for a fraction of what I used to pay for these tables.
I wonder where Mr. Saarinen derived inspiration for his "Tulip" table? Could it be late George III/Regency?

Mochatini Blog

Mochatini Blog
 Yes, the Saarinen "Tulip" tables were inspired by nature, but there is also the obvious reference to neo-classical design.  I can envision a suite of "Tulip" chairs surrounding  my late George III table. Perhaps a Cocteau rug in the same room? For the time-being, when the table comes back from being French-polished (a hand rubbed varnish finish--pricey), I'm going to pair it with my set of 8 mid-century klismos chairs.


With "The Spaces Between" left open, there is even an opening for a large Baroque painting.......maybe a Chinese Altar Table.  Would a Jackson Pollack or a Diego Rivera feel out of place? I don't think so.

Thank you, Patricia (PVE blog) for your daily inspiration to create and love. Have a wonderful holiday!

Jones says "HI"--he's busy babysitting his cousin "Luxie" (bichon) while Luxie's parents are in Cancun. Have a wonderful Sunday filled with connections and love.

1 comment:

  1. I was doing some research and came upon your blog, I just bought a Empire French bed like yours after it did not sell at a local auction here in New Orleans for the low price of $125. Prices for the items I love and collect are getting lower and lower. I can now afford high quality antiques I could not afford in the past.