HUDSON, N.Y. – Renowned antique dealer John Rosselli has skillfully sifted a colorful parade of antiques and decorations for more than 60 years. Having closed his shop on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, which has been a destination for interior designers, architects, and antique aficionados, the octogenarian will have Stair auction a collection titled “John Rosselli’s Artful Eye.” The collection of more than 200 lots will be sold Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 11 a.m. EST. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.
Rosselli’s inquisitive, acquisitive nature is coupled with clever ingenuity, an appreciation for craftsmanship and an eagle eye for original decoration. For decades, his varied emporiums have welcomed fabled decorators including Sister Parish, Dorothy Draper, Rose Cummings, Eleanor Brown, Billy Baldwin, Albert Hadley, Mark Hampton and Mario Buatta. And, like the living legend he has become, Rosselli relishes the moment as much as the past. With more than 55,000 Instagram followers, he speaks to all generations as a tastemaker.
In the early 1950s, the young apprentice honed his skills as a decorative painter at his first job with the Italian Importers Co. in New York City. The firm specialized in furniture cobbled together from reclaimed timber destroyed during the war. It was called “Blitz furniture” and Rosselli learned the delicate arts of gesso gilding, marbleizing and faux finishes such as malachite, lapis and porphyry.
Within a few years, his natural flair allowed him to strike out on his own. He opened an antique shop on the Upper East Side layering English, Continental and American antiques with blue and white porcelain, lighting and a smattering of playful decorations including his own reproduction line. His trademark has always been a deft blend of fanciful scale and serious furnishings, a patchwork panache that is original and amusing.
“One must only buy what one likes, and it will find its place,” is Rosselli’s motto. He wistfully remembers the time Francoise de la Renta arrived at his shop with Babe Paley, who wasted no time in snapping up a pair of miniature ivory palm trees for Truman. “I’ll always remember wonderful clients like Babe Paley. She gave a point of reference and shopped 12 months of the year for Christmas – I adored her!”
“Master Class: John Rosselli’s Artful Eye” is a rampant feast worth sharing, a sale that celebrates a unique opportunity to tap into the unparalleled experience and illustrious, personal style.
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