COLLECTING
Thomaï Serdari on Fine Arts & Luxury
Monkey stealing a banana. Articulated monkey pendant is encrusted with pavé Champagne diamonds and is carrying a Yellow Sapphire Banana. Courtesy of Marc Alary.

  Pluralism of styles does not warrant innovation. In present-day fashion, product, and jewelry design we mostly see repetition: revivals made contemporary with minor updates in cut, color, and size. Jewelry, by definition a means to personalizing an outfit, suffers from a similar malaise. The field lacks creativity and compensates for it with great numbers […]

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 […]

Archaic design for necklace (with dark red garnets in cabochon) and brooch (with malachite). Courtesy of Lalaounis.

For saturated tastes such as ours today, few are the luxury pieces that stand apart. As consumers we have become blasé precisely because the market is crowded with too many brands fighting for our attention. Print ads, promotional videos, short films, Facebook endorsements, and chatty tweets raise the volume of noise and confusion. To counter […]

Wim Delvoye. Dual Möbius Quad Corpus. Courtesy of Sperone Westwater.

Scholarship on contemporary art has become boring—self-important, deeply esoteric, with ideas built on circular arguments. That should not come as a surprise. Art criticism is hollow because there is no “Big Bang” in art either. Except occasionally, of course. As is the case with the work of Wim Delvoye, currently at Sperone Westwater and on […]

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 […]

Chicago Art Expo 2013

The rooftop at the James Hotel New York became some sort of checkpoint for Chicagoans and New Yorkers last Friday. The former had just flown in for the Frieze Art Fair 2013 on Randall’s Island whereas the latter stopped by to check the competition. In the world of modern and contemporary art, two major artistic […]

"Pippa" chair. Courtesy of Hermès.

“Luxe pauvre” (transl. impoverished luxury) has nothing to do with deprivation—on the contrary it refers to a most heightened form of an opulent aesthetic, one that, ironically, precedes minimalism by several decades. Jean-Michel Frank (1895-1941), the French aristocrat who found in design an outlet for his introvert nature, is still considered the master of this […]