• HERMES:
    HANDBAGS WITH A DISTINGUISHED HISTORY

    BY KARLA KLEIN ALBERTSON

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    This Special Order Horseshoe 35cm Shiny Electric Blue Birkin in Porosus Crocodile, the most desirable material, brought $81,250 at a 2015 Heritage New York Valentine Signature Auction. Courtesy Heritage Auctions

BY KARLA KLEIN ALBERTSON

Tiffany lamps are magical artifacts in the collecting world. Illuminate one, and all the creative passion that went into its conception electrifies the viewer today.

This transmitted passion has been the catalyst for great collections formed in the past. Many of the jewel-like lamps are now on display in museums for all to enjoy. But other notable collections have come back on the market, giving today’s appreciative buyers a chance to live with those heart-stopping displays of colored light.

BY KARLA KLEIN ALBERTSON

Only a collage of images can truly capture the genius of Italian designer Piero Fornasetti (1913-1988) – pictures succeed where words fail.

A quick search online produces a fountain of decorated forms. At first glance, casual viewers may think they know what Fornasetti was all about. His work seems recognizable and identifiable, particularly his beautiful face-morphing “Tema e Variazioni” plates or furniture decorated with architectural prints. But, like a classic jester, he pops up at a different artistic point with a new trick – there is always a clever form or an inspired pattern yet to discover.

BY KARLA KLEIN ALBERTSON

Perhaps it is the very soil of northern Italy, but the region has produced so many artists who can do so many things wonderfully well.

Certainly Renaissance men continue to arise, and Gio Ponti (1891-1979) – architect, designer, publisher and professor – was born into the already industrialized culture of late-19th century Milan.

BY KARLA KLEIN ALBERTSON

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) had a restless artistic temperament and continually sought out new forms to which his inspiration could be applied.

A chance meeting on the French Riviera after World War II revealed the possibilities of clay as a receptive surface for Picasso’s art. His decorative ceramic designs were executed in numerous limited editions, increasingly in demand for collections of 20th century art, where they hold their own alongside multimillion-dollar paintings.

BY KARLA KLEIN ALBERTSON

Jade is at the center of a story of money and magic that goes back over 8,000 years.

In China, its use dates back to the Neolithic period, between 6000 and 5000 B.C. The mysterious bi discs and cong vessels found in burials of this period testify to its ritual significance. Confucius (551-479 B.C.) said, “The wise have likened jade to virtue” and went on to link its various strengths to human qualities. Difficult to find, almost impossible to work with tools, the mineral’s pull on the heartstrings began early. Then and now, jade displayed the owner’s wealth and also served as a protective talisman to ensure longevity and good fortune.

BY TOM HOEPF

Hans Wegner designed furniture for everyman, but the American public took notice when two future U.S. presidents sat in his chairs on national television.

Danish furniture was the rage among cosmopolitan Americans in 1960 when Sen. John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard M. Nixon met in the first presidential campaign debate. The sight of the candidates seated in the TV studio in chairs designed by Wegner affirmed the arrival of Danish Modern in mainstream America.

BY KARLA KLEIN ALBERTSON

In our dreams, what we know, what we have read and what we can imagine fuse into symbolic narratives. Everyone can dream, but it is the rare artist who can translate his compelling visions into a form others can share.

Pedro Friedeberg (b. 1936), known best for his sculptural furniture and intricate drawings, has spent a lifetime creating visionary works for others to enjoy. His productions are often humorous on the surface, but they reveal a foundation of serious thought under the exuberance of spontaneous creativity.

BY KARLA KLEIN ALBERTSON

Chronicling the career of Hungarian-American accessory creator Judith Leiber (b. 1921-), the Thames and Hudson Dictionary of Fashion and Fashion Designers concluded, “But it is her whimsical rhinestone-studded evening bags, often crafted in the form of minaudieres, which have brought her lasting fame.

Brightly colored, small-scale and delicate yet sturdily engineered, they are covered with handset Austrian crystal and semiprecious stones, duplicating flora and fauna.”

BY SILVIA ANNA BARRILA

Fausto Pirandello was born in Rome in 1899, the son of the famous playwright and Nobel Laureate Luigi Pirandello, and Antonietta Portolano.

He began his artistic training with Felice Carena after World War I. His first signed works date back to the early 1920s, and his public debut took place in 1925 at the third Roman Biennial, where he showed a picture of bathers, a theme he revisited frequently throughout his career.

BY SILVIA ANNA BARRILA

PARIS – Born in Florence in 1926, Giuseppe Chiari studied engineering before beginning his career as a pianist. He gave concerts characterized by an experimental approach and influenced by jazz and by the avant-garde compositions of American John Cage.

“In the early 1960s, Chiari did what might be defined as his artistic statement by putting a pair of scissors on his piano at the end of a concert,” said Michele Casamonti, gallery-owner of Tornabuoni Art in Paris.

also in style century magazine

The wood owl vase was a popular design from 1968, late in Picasso’s life, and was issued in a generous edition of 500 brightly painted examples. Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA).
In 2005, the Leibers opened their own museum in Springs, New York, at the tip of Long Island. The galleries display both Gerson’s artworks and Judith’s accessory designs, such as this 2004 peacock minaudiere. Courtesy the Leiber Collection; photo credit Gary Mamay.
Charlotte Perriand, Jean Prouve and Sonia Delaunay, Bibliotheque from the Maison du Mexique, Ateliers Jean Prouve, France, c. 1952. Enameled aluminum, white pine, mahogany, 72.25 w x 12.75 d x 63 h inches. Hammer price: $126,000. Image courtesy of Wright20.
Large French gilt-brass and cut-glass 12-light chandelier, first quarter 20th century, in the Louis XVI style, estimate $4,000-$7,000 in New Orleans Auction Galleries’ June 6, 2009 sale. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com and New Orleans Auction Galleries.
Florence 'Shu' Knoll with her dog Cartree. Image courtesy Knoll International.
Ohr's two-handle vases are collector favorites. This example with mottled gunmetal and amber glaze sold for $36,000. Courtesy Rago Arts and Crafts Auctions.
A Tony Duquette necklace of coral, citrine quartz and cultured pearls, with a presale estimate of $18,000-$20,000, sold at Sotheby's in 2006 for $45,000. Image courtesy of Sotheby's
Ward Bennett with his 1968 Scissor Chair, a popular design manufactured by Brickel, said to be his most comfortable chair. Shown here in wood and leather, the Scissor is also manufactured in steel. Image courtesy of Sollo Rago Modern Auctions.
This vintage version of the classic Big Boy sign once tempted hungry travelers on old Route 40, east of St. Louis. Image courtesy David Hutson/Neon Time.
The horizontal bands on this 9-inch vase from the early 1950s is a feature known as Tiffin Optic. It’s supported by a Manzoni foot. Image by Tom Hoepf.
'Dutch Interior (I)' is Miró’s rendition of Hendrick Martensz Sorgh’s The Lute Player. Done in 1928, this oil on canvas measures 36 1/8 inches by 28 3/4 inches. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Department of Imaging Services. Copyright 2008 Successio Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.
The exterior of the Edris house is clad in wood and stone, with deep roof overhangs to cool the house beneath the desert sun. Photo courtesy of J.R. Roberts.
Hector Aguilar designed a group of floral brooches. This silver blossom pin on arched stem signed with initials “HA,” “Taxco,” and “990,” circa 1940,realized $200. Courtesy Cincinnati Art Galleries.
Rauschenberg in a personal moment, strolling Florida’s Captiva Beach with his dog, Sapphire, in the early 1990s. Captiva Island provided the perfect refuge for the artist, and it is there that he chose to live out the last period of his life. Photo Courtesy of The Guggenheim Museum, NYC.
Austrian bronze mythological fish lamp with natural shell shade, reminiscent of Jugendstil designs – estimate $1,500-$2,000. Image courtesy Morphy Auctions.
Matko Peckay at home in his workshop in Ossining, N.Y. Phil Mansfield photo.
Lino Tagliapietra in his Murano studio around 1998. Photo by Francesco Barasciutti.
A fine Tudric pewter faceted vase with embossed band of ovals, some enameled in blue and green, with claw-feet supports. Images courtesy of Rago Arts and Auction Center, Lambertville, N.J.
Eva Zeisel designed this casserole with duck head cover for Great Western Stoneware. The dish is 9 by 7½ inches and has a blue and brown microcrystalline glaze. It sold for $2,700 at Sollo-Rago Modern Auction in October 2006. Image courtesy Sollo-Rago Modern Auctions.
Like many of Bolmeier works, this poppy painting was started outside and completed over multiple sessions indoors. The 11 by 14 painting is mixed media on board. Image courtesy of the artist.
Stylized pinecones on this 5 3/4-inch vase are typical of the naturalistic decorations found on Overbeck pottery. This nice example sold for $7,475 at Treadway Toomey’s June 2007 auction.
Peter Max, Love, 1968, acrylic and silkscreen on canvas; image courtesy The Art of Peter Max, Abrams, New York.
Navajos of the Four Corners area have been making Teec Nos Pos weavings since the early 1900s. This example features the brilliant colors and bold geometric designs that make this type a favorite. Measuring 93½ by 49 inches, it sold at mid-estimate at $2,530. Cowan’s Auctions Inc.