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Not to be Missed Decorative Arts January-February 2017

2017 in New York has started off on an opulent foot with fabulous decorative arts on view at some of the world’s best dealers and museums. Here are three top choices. The decorative arts are inspiring renewed public interest with the gaining influence of “eclecticism” in interior design and a focus in “experiential” art.

The Winter Antiques Show, Park Avenue Armory, through January 29th

Charles Percier: Architecture and Design in an Age of Revolutions, Bard Graduate Center Gallery, extended through February 12th

Pierre Gouthière: Virtuoso Gilder at the French Court, The Frick Collection, through February 19th

Following the Americana week at Sotheby’s and Christie’s, the Winter Antiques Show offers a unique opportunity to see one of the most strictly vetted shows in the U.S.. Simply “the best of the best” of decorative and fine arts. Highlights include the fabulous Terraglia ‘Mosaic’ Volute-Krater Vases by the Giustiniani factory, Naples, Italy, c. 1826-30 at the exhibitor Thomas Coulborn & Sons (Booth 38). These massive Missoni-like vases belong to a remarkable and rare group of terraglia or creamware wares of a technique unique to the Giustiniani factory and are said to be inspired by the colored tessera of antique mosaics.  Also at the Show, don’t miss your opportunity to see the five John Singer Sargents at the exhibitors Adelson Galleries (Booth 8), one of the country foremost experts in the works of John Singer Sargent, and Michael Altman Fine Art (Booth 51).


Sumptuous French decorative art and design are the focus of two exhibits on either side of Central Park with Charles Percier: Architecture and Design in an Age of Revolutions, at the Bard Graduate Center Gallery, and Pierre Gouthière: Virtuoso Gilder at the French Court at The Frick Collection. Both offer jewel-like works in intimate settings.


Charles Percier: Architecture and Design in an Age of Revolutions, Bard Graduate Center Gallery’s latest triumph, is a must see for any Francophile or neo-classical lover, traces the ascendency and work of the young man who successfully navigated his career through the French revolution, Napoleonic Empire and July Monarchy to become one the world’s leading architects and designers of the 19th century. Percier (1764-1838), author of one of the most influential publications on interior design Recueil de Décorations Intérieures, was a designer of fashionable and innovative furniture and interiors and credited as the creator of the Empire style. The show is an aesthetic tour-de-force with works by pre-eminent makers including: Sèvres, Thomire, Biennais, and Jacob. Don’t miss Percier’s graphite and watercolor design of Josephine’s bedroom at the Tuileries Palace, the opulent silver gilt wood Gondola Chair from the Salon d’Argent with original sketch or Percier’s famous mahogany Medal Cabinet made by Jacob-Desmalter and mounts by Biennais.

Percier at Bard edited

From an artistic generation preceeding Percier, the brilliant chaser and gilder Pierre Gouthière (1732–1813) was arguably one of the greatest French artists of the ancien régime. The Frick Collection’s tour de force exhibition Pierre Gouthière: Virtuoso Gilder at the French Court explores twenty-one works of this decorative arts master with royal connections who was commissioned by both Louis XV and Louis XVI as well as Marie Antoinette and the Madame Du Barry.  Highlights include the pair of gilt-bronze and blue-steeled firedogs, shaped as seated camels, 1777 created for Marie Antoinette’s small but luxurious Cabinet Turc at the Château de Fontainebleau.  Equally refined is a Knob for a French Window, ca. 1770 made by Gouthière for one of the most lavish French eighteenth century buildings, the Pavilion of Louveciennes, designed for Madame Du Barry, Louis XV’s mistress.


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