Art

Zuber et Cie

I am a great lover of classic murals and tromp l'oeil, so I am always taken with the walls of the White House Diplomatic Reception Room, commissioned by Jackie Kennedy in 1962.  You get a great sense of the space from Michelle Obama's Mannequin Challenge video.  

 

The other day I went down a wall mural clickhole and found myself on the website of Zuber, a french wall paper and fabric company established in 1797, only to discover that they created this one-of-a-kind room.   I think I'm in love. 

Goals!!!

 Girls: Season 6, Episode 3 - The study of a successful, sexually harassing novelist

Girls: Season 6, Episode 3 - The study of a successful, sexually harassing novelist

My new dream is to commission a painting of my favorite room and hang it in close proximity to that room, creating a multiplicative happiness effect.  

War & Peace & Palaces

War & Peace (2016), a BBC miniseries based on Tolstoy's novel, is one of the most stunningly beautiful things every transmitted through a television.  It is filmed in Russia, Latvia, and Lithuania - places that Western tourists rarely go due to tight visa restrictions and cultural differences - so I was unprepared for the epic scale of opulence.  These palaces (of which there are many) make Downton Abbey look like a Toll Brothers McMansion.  

Right off the bat, we are assaulted with beauty:

 The Winter Palace in St Petersburg, Russia

The Winter Palace in St Petersburg, Russia

Each room is decked out with gilding, textiles, feathers, tile, tchotchkes,....

Every shot is framed like a work of art.....

And even when there is no architectures or furniture in a shot, it is still a work of art.....

 Bruegel - Winter Landscape with Bird Trap (1565)

Bruegel - Winter Landscape with Bird Trap (1565)

 Hendrick Avercamp - Golf Players on the Ice (1625)

Hendrick Avercamp - Golf Players on the Ice (1625)

...but there is no shortage of architecture.  When the characters are overwhelmed with city life, there are country homes....

....but the country can grow so tiresome, so it's back to the city!

 Michael's Palace, now the Russian Museum, in St Petersburg

Michael's Palace, now the Russian Museum, in St Petersburg

And FINALLY someone pays a visit to a rich friend....

This is the Catherine Palace, located outside of St. Petersburg, Russia. It was the summer residence of the Russian Tsars.  I know the above image makes it look ginormous........but this places is even bigger!  It loops around to form a massive courtyard. 

And, of course, what better place to go for a ball!

And if you are already slummin' it in the city, why not check out an intimate opera....

....and another ball!

It is impossible not to fall in love with something so beautiful, so don't blame Natasha for falling for an incest-loving cad.  Looks matter. 

Woman in Gold

I just watched Woman In Gold, and loved it (recommend! recommend! recommend!).  It stars Helen Mirren as an Austrian woman who sues the Austrian government for return of a Klimt painting, stolen by the Nazis.  

The flashbacks scenes are stocked with gorgeous things, filling out the world of a family that would actually be commissioning Klimts.  So stunning!

Two sets caught my eye.  First there was this elegant rope banister/railing/whatever-you-call-it-when-it-is-rope with lion head hardware. Why don't we see this style more?  I guess it is hard to clean, and could turn nautical very quickly.

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Then there is this amazing office! 

Swinging on the Bad Side

 Swinging with the Finkels - The Chesterfield sofa of my dreams

Swinging with the Finkels - The Chesterfield sofa of my dreams

Before I watched the film Swinging with the Finkels, I checked Rotten Tomatoes, only to find it was given a 0%.  I decided, what the hell, and watched it anyway.  This was the right choice because I am the target audience for wooden, corporate-looking, rom-coms.  I found this movie "watchable".  

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In the Finkel's beautiful open plan living room, they break up the space with black Middle Easter screens draped with rich warm fabric.  It's fabulous.

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And they have giant wall art of themselves so they can conveniently get into fights in front of it.  You see this a fair amount in sets, but 90% of the time, the art is Andy Warhol-esque (example below).

 Kroll Show: Season 1, Episode 3 - The home of Rich Dicks.

Kroll Show: Season 1, Episode 3 - The home of Rich Dicks.

Although honorable mention to the Keith Haring-y wall mural of Robin Williams in The Crazy Ones advertising office:

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Mid-Century Mulaney

 Mulaney: Season 1, Episode 1 - Gay-old-man-neighbor's mid-century rent-controlled apartment

Mulaney: Season 1, Episode 1 - Gay-old-man-neighbor's mid-century rent-controlled apartment

I watched the first episode of the new sitcom, Mulaney, last night, and it seems promising.  The highlight was Elliott Gould's $80/month apartment (oh magical rent control).  It is decorated in a masculine, layered, mid-century style that I can really get behind.  

Eye-Spy these elements that I love:

Eames lounge chair

Oriental rugs

Abundance of house plants

Successfully executed gallery wall

Brass sconce

Frozen in Time

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A good friend brought my attention to an article about an apartment in Paris that was forgotten for 75 years.  

Supposedly, the women who lived there left for the south of France before WWII, and never returned.  The apartment, located in the Pigalle district of Paris, remained locked until a few years ago, when the family found it.  

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In addition to the value of the apartment (premo real estate), inside was a Giovanni Boldini painting worth 2.1 million euros, and a stuffed ostrich, which is priceless.

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The Gorgeous/Awful Week

I just watched The Longest Week, and it was such beautiful trash.  I cannot recommend it, unless want to make your eyes happy and your brain hurt.  

The story is about wealthy attractive aimless Manhattan-its who do not understand the value of a dollar.  Although the plot centers around Jason Bateman getting disinherited, the filmmaker is much more concerned with demonstrating that french culture is cool and he is a big fan of Wes Anderson.  

This film is so comically out of touch, that it even romanticizes smoking cigarettes (something that no film has been able to get away with in a decade).  

That being said, let me reiterate that every set and every shot is beautiful.  Bateman lives in his family's fancy hotel.  Right off the bat, I can see that we love the same things.  

Prominent pictures of french royalty:

 The Longest Week - Why hello, Napoleon. 

The Longest Week - Why hello, Napoleon. 

 Emma's apartment - I am all about Louis XIV because of those fine legs.

Emma's apartment - I am all about Louis XIV because of those fine legs.

Exotic taxidermy:

 The Longest Week - Confronting white peacocks = dream come true.  The only thing that would make this better was if the dog was stuffed too (I'm not into dogs).

The Longest Week - Confronting white peacocks = dream come true.  The only thing that would make this better was if the dog was stuffed too (I'm not into dogs).

 Background on Emma's phone - I might not be able to have a Unicorn face off in real life, but I make a point of look at one every day.  

Background on Emma's phone - I might not be able to have a Unicorn face off in real life, but I make a point of look at one every day.  

The running design element that stood out for me was the use of textured white walls through out the film.  

In the Napoleon room the walls have engaged columns and extensive molding details. 

Most of the other spaces have white painted brick walls or white painted paneling.  

 The Longest Week - A conceptual artists spars loft.  GET A RUG!

The Longest Week - A conceptual artists spars loft.  GET A RUG!

 The Longest Week - Oh what shall I do with all my vintage luggage! 

The Longest Week - Oh what shall I do with all my vintage luggage! 

 The Longest Week - New Years Resolution: Hang Audubon prints. 

The Longest Week - New Years Resolution: Hang Audubon prints. 

 The Longest Week -  A Napoleon in every room, I say!

The Longest Week -  A Napoleon in every room, I say!

Most Beautiful Room I Didn't See

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When I lived in Paris (that sounded snooty), I made a point to try to  visit every museum I possibly could.  So how did I miss this!!!

Georges Fouquet's jewelry shop was designed in 1901 by Alphonse Mucha and was located at 6 rue Royale.  It was later moved to the Musée Carnavalet

I was going to try to point out some of the design elements, but it turned into a list of every component of the room.  Just look at the peacocks!  And the stained glass!  And the tiled floor!  And the...everything.   

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Mucha is an Art Nouveau kingpin, but he is better known for his work in advertisements.  You might be familiar with some of these posters: 

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Fouquet and Mucha also collaborated on some spectacular jewelry:

 Pendant “Cascade“, c. 1900. Gold, enamel, opals, diamonds and Baroque pearls

Pendant “Cascade“, c. 1900. Gold, enamel, opals, diamonds and Baroque pearls

 Brooch, ca. 1900

Brooch, ca. 1900

 Snake bracelet and ring designed for Sarah Bernhardt ca.1899

Snake bracelet and ring designed for Sarah Bernhardt ca.1899

 Necklace 1905

Necklace 1905

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Historical Bromance

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I stumbled on an amazing article called Bosom Buddies: A Photo History of Male Affection, and I'm forcing a tie in to my blog because people love using vintage photographs as art.  

The thesis of the article is that the concept of a clear divide between gay and straight is relatively modern.  In the days of yore, there was't a stigma attached to casual physical affection between male friends.  Once homosexuality became a designated group, bros reduced demonstrations of affection so that no one would think, "Gay!".  This is such a shame because the bromance in these pictures is the sweetest thing I've seen in a while.  

 

 

 

 

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You should check out the site for many more pictures.

UPDATE: Target Art

Only days ago I wrote a post about using shooting targets as art, and then, low and behold, the exact same target popped up in the show Elementary. 

I am well aware that in this case, and the Brooklyn Nine-Nine example from the previous post, the art is in a law enforcement setting.  But I promise that it looks just as good on a civilian wall.  

 

 Elementary: Season 2, Episode 18 - Sherlock Holmes's Living room.  Watson has framed a shooting target as a gift for a colleague who overcame an injury to his shooting hand.  

Elementary: Season 2, Episode 18 - Sherlock Holmes's Living room.  Watson has framed a shooting target as a gift for a colleague who overcame an injury to his shooting hand.  

Wes Anderson gets what he wants

Ages ago, I wrote a post about the art in the show Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.  The gist of the post is that I am always amazed when I see recognizable paintings used in sets.  

The art that you see in sets needs to be "cleared".  Often this means one of two things:

1. The art was created for the set, so it is original.  No one owns it.  Sometimes this art is in the style of a more recognizable artist, but the art was imagined by an employee or contractor of the film.  

2. The artist and/or person who owns the art formally gives the project permission to use the image in the set.  Getting the rights to use a piece is a hassle and a half, so option 2 is only on the table if it seems "do-able".

That's why I was amazed to see Gustav Klimt's Birch Forest in Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel".

Anderson also prominently places an Egon Schiele painting in his set, but I could not find the exact painting used, so maybe they went with the in-the-style-of option.  

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 Egon Schiele - Wally Neuzil in Black stockings 1912

Egon Schiele - Wally Neuzil in Black stockings 1912

I guess I had art on the brain because right after watching Grand Budapest, I noticed a similar art situation in How I Met Your Mother.  

 How I Met Your Mother: Season 9, Episode 20 - The Farhampton home of a rich captain who loves boats.

How I Met Your Mother: Season 9, Episode 20 - The Farhampton home of a rich captain who loves boats.

 Rene Magritte - Time Transfixed

Rene Magritte - Time Transfixed

Art on Easels

In the season 1 finale of Elementary a new set is introduced: Elegant London Art Restorer Flat.

 Elementary: Season 1, Episode 24

Elementary: Season 1, Episode 24

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Although the easel is functional (and there are many more in other areas of the apartment), it doubles as decorative.  

I have long desired an H frame easel for none practical purposes.  It is an elegant way to display art when you run out of walls.   

prefer the H frame easel over the tripod style.  The H frame has a more intricate design, and can allows the painting to stand upright. A tripod easel tilts the painting back more drastically.  

FYI: To pull this off, the art needs to be BIG and fabulous.  

 Philip Johnson's Glass House in New Canaan, CT.  Built  1949

Philip Johnson's Glass House in New Canaan, CT.  Built  1949

The easel concept reminds me a lot of when I visited Philip Johnson's Glass House.  The home is ultra minimal, with no walls dividing the rooms.  To delineate the living room from the bedroom, a Poussin painting was place on a steel stand.  Yes, he had a multi-million dollar room divider.  

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Target Art

 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1 - Police Sation

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1 - Police Sation

Using a shooting target as art, can be a cheep easy way to fill up a wall.  The target in the above picture cost 79 cents at the LA Gun Club.

On a show I worked on, we covered a whole wall with targets, and made badass wallpaper......but then the executives thought it wasn't "family friendly", so we took it down.  Boo.

 My trip to LA Gun Club taught me I am not good with a hand gun.

My trip to LA Gun Club taught me I am not good with a hand gun.

Hanging Art

People ask me me help them hang art all the time.  When I look at the piece and the space, I normally just know what to do.  It's instinct.  

However, when people ask me how to hang art, I don't have anything cohesive to tell them.......until now.  Home Design Find has the most wonderful how-to article on hanging art.  

For example, it says to "Keep your art centered at eye level".

I'm not just going to copy and paste the article, so I strongly encourage you to go to their site and read it.  

A magical realm on the other side of the wall

 Scarface (1983)

Scarface (1983)

When I think of a wall covered in a large photograph, my mind immediately goes to Scarface...but is that such a bad thing?  Yes, it was meant to be over the top and tacky, but it is still freakin' awesome.  

There is just something magical about being able to walk over base moldings into a forest, onto a beach, or into a piece of art.

The company Wallpapered let's you select or design your wall art, put in the dimensions of your wall, and receive your art in the mail.  Or there is Pixers, which does the same thing.  I am sure a google will turn up many more options.

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The picture to the left led me to Steve's Wallpaper and Blinds.  The site looks budget to the max, so it makes sense they would have some really affordable wall murals for sale.  There are a bunch that are less than $100.

Eames, but better

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You can purchase these Eames nock-off chairs from Amazon for $173/pair, which is an awesomely inexpensive way to bring icon design into your home.  But the artist, Phillip Estlund, has taken them to the next level.  He cut up paper, collaged them, and then applied a coat of polyurethane.

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These chairs are one of a kind and go for $3,600 a pop......and that is just crazy, but it got me thinking that this could be a really amazing DIY project.  Virtually anything would look good on this chair.  Sky's the limit! 

It reminded me a lot of this vintage school chair that had been coated with all canvas prints.  

 

Calling it: Brushstrokes

 Ross Cassidy

Ross Cassidy

One of the stand out rooms in the second season of Million Dollar Decorators (a.k.a. best show ever made for planet earth), was the bedroom and sitting room for Amber Valetta.  The room was designed by Ross Cassidy, the right hand man at JAM.  

It's way too pink for my taste but the brushstroke ceiling is fabulous.  It makes the room.  I just wish I could have found a better picture of it.  

 Amber Valetta's bedroom designed by JAM

Amber Valetta's bedroom designed by JAM

I didn't know this was a trend until I saw a post on Chinoiserie Chic which featured burshstroke walls. 

I adore this Kelly Wearstler room.  But maybe I'm biased because I think I could live the rest of my life in only Kelly Wearstler rooms and be happy.    

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But wait, there's more:

 Bunny Williams lamp

Bunny Williams lamp

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 Julian Schanbel's Gramercy Park Hotel

Julian Schanbel's Gramercy Park Hotel

In theory, you could turn this concept into a DIY project, but if you have lots of disposable cash, you could have your very own brushstrokes walls curtsy of Amanda Nisbet.   

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Robert Longo: Twist & Shout

I first was exposed to Robert Longo's work  in 2006, when I was living in Paris and visited the Centre Pompidou.   

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His paintings are large! graphic! monochrome! dynamic! twisted! smart! urban! desperate! amazing!

They would look incredible anywhere.  Yes, I said ANYWHERE!  In a plane.  In Spain. In the rain.  In a psychos apartment.

 American Psycho (2000).  Production Designer: Gideon Ponte

American Psycho (2000).  Production Designer: Gideon Ponte

An original print could go for 5K to 10K, so there is no way I'm going to be owning any Longo any time soon.  

 Designer: Tom Sheerer

Designer: Tom Sheerer

 Frederic Malle's house in Architectural Digest

Frederic Malle's house in Architectural Digest