December 15, 2011
Courtesy Estate of Lygia Pape
“Brazilian art” was such a hot buzzword at this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach that Departures.com decided to catch up with Hugo Nathan, the president of New York’s Dickinson gallery, which has an exhibition through December 21 that is dedicated to art from the region. We wanted to find out: What is all the fuss about?
Departures.com: Why did you decide to do a Brazilian art show?
Hugo Nathan: I go to Brazil regularly to both source and sell European art, and all of the collectors there who have European art also have a collection of Brazilian art. I always thought that it would be interesting to introduce this art to a New York audience. The final piece in the jigsaw was asking Olivier Berggruen to curate the show.
Was this before Brazil’s economic boom?
That was about a year ago and, in that time, the prices have doubled for most of these artists. The museums in America and Europe have established themselves as the major collectors in this field, and Brazil has become this hot entity that everyone wants to be involved with. This all happened after we started working on the show.
Can you describe the exhibition?
It’s an overview of the Concrete and Neo-Concrete art movement. After World War II, Brazil started building a certain identity as a Modernist center. A number of young artists adopted a European, sort of, 1930’s Bauhaus style of geometric abstraction and completely Brazilianized it. In this show, you can see this evolution in a complete range of mediums&8212;there are prints, photographs, drawings, watercolors, collages, paintings, sculpture and even an art book.
How exactly did they “Brazilianize” the style?
The European style of geometrics is very mathematical and dogmatic, and there are strict rules and regulations. But artists in Rio started slightly bending the rules and being more poetic and playful. And that’s what I see as the Brazilianization&8212;it’s effectively Concrete art without the rules.
How has the show been received?
It’s been amazing. We’re not a gallery known for regular exhibitions, so we never really expect a huge amount of accidental traffic, but we’ve had a large amount through word-of-mouth. We haven’t been actively pressing museum curators to come in, but they’ve all found out about the show, and we’ve had people from all of the major museums around the world contacting us. That’s big for us because we really specialize in selling museum-quality work.
What is the price range for these pieces?
The photographs that form the beginning of the exhibit are $5,500 because they’re contemporary reprints. But if they were original prints, they would probably be $40,000–$50,000. The top price is Lygia Clark’s aluminum sculptures, which are priced at $3.6 million.
Why is Brazilian art a good investment?
Not only is the market going in one direction but, also, I think that a lot of it is work of international importance. Collectors are realizing that if they don’t buy it now, it’s only going to get more expensive.
What advice would you give to people looking to buy this kind of art?
The work is hard to source because a lot of it is already in museums. These pieces weren’t valuable until about ten years ago. So in some ways, you just have to take an opportunity whenever you see it. We’ve certainly been advising a lot of our collectors that if they see a great piece, take the plunge. My other advice would be to come down to the gallery and see it yourself. Through December 21; 19 East 66th Street; simondickinson.com.
November 07, 2011
Beaded chevron Zelda throw pillow. Photo by Polo Ralph Lauren.
Ralph Lauren’s new One Fifth home collection was inspired by one of New York City’s swankiest addresses, and its Art Deco–style pieces are very Marlene Dietrich–ish, very film noir–ish. With a dramatic black-and-gold palette and rich textures such as gold leaf on shagreen and beaded chevron, the line is a departure from Lauren’s all-American, equestrian-esque designs. Likewise, Mr. Lauren’s Deco state of mind was in full force on the runway of his fall womenswear show. The collection ranges from $40 for a glass to $14,250 for a mahogany server and is available at Ralph Lauren, 888 Madison Ave.; ralphlaurenhome.com.
October 27, 2011
There’s probably no better place to shop for the home than, well, from the comfort of your own home. Here are three of our favorite websites.
Since launching five years ago, Vintage and Modern has become one of the most trusted online sources among the trade as well as industry insiders for vintage furniture, antiques, art and other collectibles—it’s like a Brimfield Antique Show for the web-savvy set, or a quirkier, more accessible version of 1stDibs. The website partners with dealers from around the world to compile its vast collection of one-of-a-kind pieces—items include everything from an $85 vintage airmail postal scale to a 17th-century oak armchair embellished with images of the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock ($25,000). Now the site has opened up to the public, and in addition to the 15,000-plus inventory, there’s a new online magazine that features interviews with notables such as interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard and music mogul Tommy Mottola, along with a section where other industry heavyweights—Charlotte Moss, Nicole Miller, Michael Aram, to name a few—reveal their favorite pieces available for sale.
In other online shopping news, Gilt Group relaunched its home site, Gilt Home, last week. Familiar brands like Missoni, Frette and Matouk are still being offered, but the site has been expanded to include lines previously only available to the trade, such as Stark rugs and Ted Boerner furniture, as well as full-priced luxury collections. There is also original editorial content overseen by former Domino editor-at-large Tom Delevan, and virtual “boutiques” curated by renowned interior designers like Bunny Williams, Alexa Hampton and Laura Kirar.
On the other end of the spectrum is one of our favorite discoveries, Bespoke Global. The brainchild of lighting designer Gwen Carlton, the website offers clients the opportunity to order custom-made pieces from an impressive roster of top-notch artists and designers like Michael Coffey, John Houshmand and Maki Yamamoto. Every step of the process, from requesting sketches to approving the design to video updates from the artist, is done online and overseen by Bespoke Global, making it possible to order extraordinary one-of-a-kind pieces from anywhere in the world.
March 21, 2011
This may be the first week of spring, but with a chilly mix of snow and rain enveloping the streets of Manhattan, it’s apparent that winter isn’t ready to go away just yet. This final cold stretch can feel like the longest of all, which is why there’s never been a better time for a nice, relaxing day at the spa. One of our favorite city options is the Spa-cation at The Peninsula New York, which, for $250, is also one of the best deals in town. In addition to a 60-minute treatment of choice—holistic massage, intensive facial or organic sunless tanning—guests have all-day access to the fitness center and classes, as well as use of the indoor pool, with panoramic views of Fifth Avenue from its perch on the 22nd floor. There’s also a delicious bento-box lunch, with choices like grilled beef sirloin with bok choy and poached salmon with roasted red pepper and Thai spices. We recommend getting there early to take advantage of the daily fitness classes—yoga, pilates, cardioblast—then following that with a relaxing treatment and finishing off with a poolside lunch. Who cares about the cold when you can have so much fun indoors? At 700 Fifth Ave.; 212-956-2888; peninsula.com.