Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Isn't That the Bomb!

Lewis just redid our windows.  They are both sophisticated and beautiful.  Just to be different, he sometimes likes to add something a little quirky.  In with a console attributed to Willy Rizo,  Murano chandeliers, and our over life size plaster nude by Fernard Guignier(1902-1975) .  He has added a really cool cocktail set.  This set was produced in Japan after world war II and all the containers look like bombs.

One of a pair of siar burst old Murano Chandeliers

Sometimes we like to shock.  We have the reputation of always having unusual items.  It is fun showing them off.

Large French Plaster Nude
Our Nude has almost become an icon in our shop.  She is a stunning piece of Art Deco Sculpture, and we feel privileged to have her grace our windows.

Burl Cabinet
You can see we really mix it up.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fontana Art

The form of this resembles part of the new floor lamp

Lewis just got back from his buying trip and one of the last things that he found was a floor lamp by Fontana. Fontana Arte is a company not a person, that hired many great designers.

Documented light by Fontana that is similar design to Floor lamp

Fontana Arte was founded in 1932 by the architect Gio Ponti. In the early years they were known for  advanced glass making and stained glass applications. Gio Ponti designed the first glass lighting in collaboration with Pietro Chiesa.  Other designers for Fontana Arte collection includes  Max Ingrand, David Chipperfield, Vico Magistretti, Franco Raggi. Foster and Charles Williams. 

The floor lamp that we found was designed by Pietro Chiesa.  We found similar fixtures by him echoing the same design see above illustrations.

Pietro Chiesa designed the elegant "Luminator" floor lamp
Here is a little information on Pietro Chiesa,1892-1948.  He was a leading Italian Art d├ęco designer, who trained in the Milan studio of the furniture designer and interior decorator Giovan Battista Gianotti . In 1933 Pietro Chiesa joined Fontana Arte, which had been founded by Gio Ponti and Luigi Fontana.  Pietro Chiesa became artistic director of  Fontana Arte.  They initially concentrated on making furniture and glass objects but in later years Fontana Arte became known primarily for lighting. Pietro Chiesa continued to design glass objects as well as furniture and lamps  He treated glass as a precious material, using splintered pieces of glass and special cutting techniques. At the same time, Pietro Chiesa created pure forms with glass such as his 1932 glass table, which was a single bent strip of clear glass. Pietro Chiesa designed the elegant "Luminator" floor lamp, resembling a turpet, which provides indirect lighting similar to light used in photography for the home.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

On the Way Home

After two days of running himself ragged, Lewis is in the van on the way home.  He says that he has gotten a lot of interesting things. When he comes home it will be show and tell.  This is fun for me to finally be able to see all the items that he purchased on his trip.  Tomorrow we'll be unloading and cleaning up.  Then the decisions on pricing and placing all the new merchandise in the shop.  The work never ends.  Then deciding what will be photographed and what is good enough to be posted onto 1stdibs site.  Once that decision is made then we have to set up for photographing the items either in real day light outdoors or in an area in the shop.  Lewis bares most of this burden.  He does an excellent job.  We are still small as far as staff goes, but we finally have a nice young man who works part time helping us move things around the shop. I have a part time helper with office work....Hurray!!!  As I really hate books etc, we are both just too creative for that, but in business someone has to do it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

On the Roas with Antiques

You never know what you will see at those Brimfield shows. From the sublime to the ridiculous and some where in between.  The viral video of the Honey Badger, "Honey Badger Don't Care" made this item catch Lewis' eye.  This is an American badger. A badger in a box, only at a Brimfield show!

Lewis commented on Facebook yesterday "Gonna pass out!! So tired of walking... Changed my shoes twice... Walking and carrying stuff constantly for 11 hours!"  He really pushed hard.  There's sooo much land to cover.  These large brass doors were too big to carry.  He did manage this deco chair and another to make a pair.
one of a pair
great base
Lewis had this to say about the coffee table base above,"Large Italian or French brass faux bamboo table base... Thinking white marble top! still drooling over this. Like it's simplicity and how it's more modern than most of the ones you see..."

Every where you look there is a feast for the eyes and things to tempt.  Like that great table base, lamps, Murano glass, toys of all sorts.....This photo of the boat is for our good friend Bradley Stephens...See our earlier blog on Brad.

Today  the shop has gotten several odd phone calls from people in the Brimfield shows.  One early today telling Lewis his new location at the Heart of the Mart, so Lewis would know where to pick up the piece of furniture he purchased from him yesterday.  Interestingly enough, some dealers move from show to show packing up and unpacking.  Believe me I don't know how or why they do this.  Although they say they make more this way.  Another phone call asked if I was the " lamp man."  I thought they wanted the gentleman down the road who repairs lamps, but no it turned out the man was calling from Brimfield to tell Lewis that he found the part to the lamp that he had purchased.
pottery floor lamp

Lewis commented on the lamp base above, "Vintage pottery floor lamp most likely chinese similar construction to the rice wine jars... Will be stunning with a good shade and better hardware..."

There are so many shows that open on different days.  One year while we were showing there we decided to go to the opening of the J&J show.  We got up early, shivering in the early morning cold and waited in line for the show to open.  When the gates opened it was a stampede.  You had to be careful not to be pushed down by the crowd.  We raced around looking for the out standing finds.

This last photo is kind of cock-eyed but you'll get the idea.  Fields and fields full of chairs, pottery, bottles, sea shells, floats and sometimes plain old junk. We all have to remember that one man's junk is another man's treasure.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Early Morning Antiquing

Lewis ready for the Hunt!!
Here we go again!  Lewis drove up on Sunday and took his time antiquing on the way.  He mostly saved his money for the big finds.  He noted that some dealers on the way had been snookered by some fake or reproduction Maison Jansen pieces.  He did find two very nice Murano pieces one red bowl on a conical base with folded edges.  This he believes to be from the 1930's or even the 1920's.  It will take some research to know who made it and exactly how old it is.  We do the research that makes a real difference.  Lewis has inherited a photographic memory.  We all tend to be able to see something and remember it.  Chris has this ability too!

Red Murano Bowl
When we antique together, we walk through the various tents and booths very quickly letting our eyes drift over the merchandise in general.  Then out of the blue something will catch our eyes.  We'll zero in on a piece.  Lewis will look more carefully at this item.  He'll pick it up and examine it.  Sometimes it goes right back down on the table.  Sometimes it is something we'll come back to and other times we don't..

Not everything is Antique some junktique
My first experience with this was years ago, when Chris and I first started antiquing.  I had reached for a piece picked it up realized that it was a good reproduction put it back down.  Another antique dealer reached over picked it up and purchased it.  I watch the price double in his shop and then quadruple in another area antique shop.  This was my first experience with this.  This was definitely small scale!   I've heard stories of this happening on a grand scale.  Here, in Brimfield, things can go from tent to tent going from say several hundred dollars to after exchanging hands several thousand dollars.  It just depends on who knows the most about the piece.

I can't wait to hear and see more about Lewis' and Chris' adventures in Brimfield.  Chris experiences are completely different.  Chris goes after the 18th century pieces and Lewis is after the Designer pieces of the 20th century.  They are able to work well together this way.

Monday, May 9, 2011

OK, So I Have Brimfield Envey!

Having the Guys head to Brimfield makes me just want to go too!  Lewis reminded me of the painting that we found that was of the Gloucester Harbor.  We found it in a flea market in the Mountains of Virginia.  It was a really nice looking painting, and it ended up being signed.  We reframed it and cleaned it.  My Dad was still alive at the time, he thought it looked good too.  His eye sight was not what it used to be.  We all tried to figure out the signature we finally came up with the name Emily Greer, she was an american artist who had studied with some really good Impressionist painters.  We took the painting to Brimfield  for two seasons.  An art dealer from Maine looked at it and debated and looked some more.  He finally purchased it from us for $800.  It had been to Brimfield some 4 times.

Years later reflecting on the quality of the painting and rethinking the signature we realized that we had sold the painting as a Greer,but in reality it was more than likely to have been a Emile Gruppe.  Here are some documented Gruppes, not the one that we sold, but, oh so similar.  This just goes to prove that the early bird sometimes misses the worm.  I really loved that painting, but we are in the business to sell.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Spring is in the air.....Brimfield Mania again!!!

Every May Brimfield mania strikes thousands of people who are inexplicably drawn to the little Town of Brimfield, Mass. to buy and sell antiques, junktiques, or anything else that they can find.  This is an event that everyone should experience at least once in their lives. My sons and I have been to these shows over and over again.

Chris still shows at the Meadows right on the main walk/roadway under his blue and white stripe tent.  This year he is taking an assistant Temple to help man the tent, so he can get out there and do some "tiquing" himself.  Lewis goes for the hunt part.  He will try to cover the entire area in several days.  We have local friends Lee Lee Simpson, and her husband who go for the FOOD and the thrill of the hunt. 

This year I get to stay home and hold down the shop.  Tough luck but someone has to do it.  The nice thing is that Lewis sends back blow by blow accounts of his finds.

May shows vary greatly in weather.  The first year that we went it was cold and rainy setting up.  I swore that I'd never do another show, but later that week we were making plans for the next show.  Another year, before we bought our own tent, it was in the 90's.  Who would has known?  The tent that we rented was like walking into a steam bath.  Exhibitors experience all these problems plus sleeping in their Vans the night before to be there for the early customers.  One year we even had to pack up everything because a hurricane was coming through.  What we do for the love of antiquing!!

The great thing is that you never know what you will find.


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