COLLECTING
Thomaï Serdari on Fine Arts & Luxury
Jean Fouquet. Bracelet, 1927. Courtesy of Hancocks.

Art Fairs are the millennials of art patronage. They proliferate rapidly, embrace life, art and technology in their 2.0 versions, and have no time to spare. Nurtured in times of privilege, they are overly specialized and exclusive, trendsetters in a post-modern culture that fosters breadth of knowledge rather than depth. In a calendar year, art […]

Golden necklaces, 2012. Courtesy of Zolotas.

The story of the oldest luxury firm in Greece, Zolotas, resonates with me because the founding family came from my hometown in Central Greece, which the family’s two sons, Lambros and Efthimios, left for Athens. By the end of the 19th century, the Greek capital had made considerable strides in refinement and cosmopolitanism. While destined […]

Daniel Brush. Bowl with golden butterflies. © Thomaï Serdari.

Luxury is the opposite of anarchy. If anarchy defies organization, luxury welcomes it. If anarchy rejects stratification, luxury aspires to it. Anarchy objects to commitment, luxury stems from it. And while absence of luxury does not lead to anarchy, anarchy is prohibitive to luxury. In an art system that is highly organized and somewhat predictable, […]

Vogue cover with Belperron brooch, 1934. Courtesy of Vogue.

Suzanne Belperron (1900-1983) is known today as the jewelry designer who never signed her creations and who deliberately burned her personal papers and photographs–or at least, this is the myth created around her name. This version of history has been defeated with the monographic work on Belperron by French jewelry expert Sylvie Raulet. Belperron’s powerful […]

Axel Salto ceramic vase for Royal Copenhagen.

Today, for each luxury house, the public can recall both the name of its brand and that of its celebrity designer. Think of Raf Simmons for Dior Couture (fashion), Paloma Picasso for Tiffany’s (jewelry design), or Jean-Claude Ellena for Hermès (perfume). This was not the case at the beginning of the 20th century. A time […]

Fornasetti enamelled brown glass, 1937. Courtesy of Alexandre Biaggi.

Call it name-dropping, call it trend-setting, brand-cladding is an art for urbane New Yorkers. These global nomads, whether local or international, are well versed in the language of brands. They show a flare for branded apparel, define their lifestyle according to branded neighborhoods, and consume branded art by means of branded funds and trust accounts.  […]

Verdura cross. Courtesy of Verdura.

Most of our experiences today have become weightless. Think of a grocery list compiled by your electronic refrigerator and delivered to you. Or think of how cleverly your smart phone’s GPS allows your limousine driver to come pick you up from exactly where you stand at a click of a phone button. Don’t even think […]

Sculpture. Courtesy of Antony Gormley.

Antony Gormley, a British artist whose work is currently on view at the new Sean Kelly Gallery on Tenth Avenue, creates through contradictions. He usually juxtaposes the monumental to the intimate, the complete to the fragmentary, the massive to the mobile. Gormley’ s production, which spans a career of about 40 years, is centered in […]

Lapis Lazuli Desk Box. Courtesy of A La Vielle Russie, New York.

The infinite, the mysterious, and the inaccessible have always fascinated us. When combined with the clarity and beauty of a deep blue sky they provoke feelings of awe and desire. At least, that’s what we learn about the color blue specifically and the origins of our enthrallment with it in an article by Natalie Angier in […]