COLLECTING
Thomaï Serdari on Fine Arts & Luxury
Decorative box of tortoiseshell with silver inlay. Courtesy of Maison Bonnet.

  Tortoiseshell has long been a controversial item mainly because it is produced from the shell of the hawksbill turtle, an endangered species. It has been used since antiquity for the manufacturing of instruments, such as the Greek lyre, decorative accents on Roman furniture, marquetry of thin inlays as in Louis XIV furniture, and small luxury […]

Silver smithing at Christofle on Madison Avenue. © Thomai Serdari

In our increasingly high-tech existence, we are progressively losing touch with the tactile side of life. This is particularly true in the US, a country detached from manufacturing. Americans value their homegrown service economy and the empowerment it warrants them in becoming avid consumers of goods and experiences. Even art schools is the US are […]

Koppel Pitcher 992. Courtesy of Georg Jensen

The beauty of the Koppel Pitcher for Georg Jensen stems from its simplicity. A single leaf of silver turned into this hollow silver container speaks mainly to those familiar with the complexities of silversmithing. This particular design, the achievement of Danish designer Henning Koppel (1918-1981), was introduced in 1952. It reduces the essence of the […]

Exhibition view. Copyright Thomai Serdari.

Aristocracy comes with the privileges of leisure and luxury, and with gratifications as diverse as the colors of the rainbow. Nonetheless, the common belief that associates aristocracy with an inherent entitlement to freedom is mistaken. This is what one learns from “La mécanique des dessous, une histoire indiscrète de la silhouette,” the spectacular exhibit currently […]

View of the Trompe l'Oeil exhibit at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.

  Trompe l’oeil, an art technique that refers to the optical illusion of the third dimension through painterly two-dimensional works of realistic imagery, has its origins in the ancient frescoes and mosaics. Trompe l’oeil has remained a constant in the works of ancient, Renaissance, and modern artists and continues to fascinate today even if the […]

Ora-ito. Arborescence Collection for Christofle. Courtesy of Christofle.

  In our culture of vanity and self-absorption, hoi polloi are mainly interested in fashion. Cladded in designer outfits and accessorized to the tilt, contemporary consumers re-define themselves based on the quantities of goods they acquire. Additionally, they seek to partake in the art world, even if tangentially. The Murakami and Kusama limited editions of […]

Lara Knutson. Soft Glass, 2010. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

Historians organize our experiences in neatly defined historic movements. Romanticism, the intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century, found expression in artistic and literary works that deeply impacted the Western world until about 1850. Romantic works stemmed from heightened emotions and man’s aesthetic experience in the world. In turn, […]

Tiffany & Co. Vintage Minaudière. Courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

For the last ten years, auction houses have been steadily increasing their presence in the field of vintage fashion and accessories. Increased consumption of luxury goods has paralleled the ups and downs of the market and, as a result, it has generated an entire new category of product placement at auctions. While the major auction […]

Josef Hoffmann. Toiletry Set, Wiener Werkstätte, 1905. Courtesy of Dorotheum.

The seven-part toiletry set (offered at auction at DOROTHEUM Vienna on May 13, 2013) seems to encapsulate all of Vienna’s essence at the beginning of the twentieth century: Viennese culture and Viennese luxury. The set was designed in 1905 for Paul Wittgenstein, famous concert pianist, son of Austrian industrialist Karl Wittgenstein and brother of renowned […]