COLLECTING
Thomaï Serdari on Fine Arts & 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 […]

Minaudière by CHANEL, ca. 2012. Courtesy of Chanel.

The minaudière, a term coined by Estelle Arpels (wife of Alfred van Cleef, founder of the Maison Van Cleef & Arpels), entered both women’s vocabulary and their wardrobes in the 1930s.  Irresistibly handy, and literally made to fit in the palm of one’s hand, the minaudière, a small-scale handbag or clutch, was a clever upgrade […]

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 […]

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 […]