Friday, June 18, 2010

Museums with price tags

When my children were very small, we lived in "East Jesus" Virginia, and I was called a Yankee. On visits to my parents in Long Island, a short walk from the train station, I would pop into the city for some retail therapy. I loved the Kentshire Gallery, my museum with price tags. As I bounded out the door, my father would knowingly call out: "Train your eye dear," completely aware that I was not coming back with collectibles. Imagine my glee when online auctions became a reality. 1st dibs is my idea of heaven, so I have decided to become my own celebrity shopper, from the bargain side of the store, looking for affordable value.

height: 15 in.
depth: 20 in.
width/length: 20 in.

This architectural pair of 1960's teak side tables by Henning Norgarrd of Denmark for Komfort, sell for $650.00 each. Wonderful joint work, great scale and clean form fuse to create a timeless, functional grouping that mix in any setting.  A $1,300 price tag for a signed Danish modern classic in beautiful condition is a no brainer. They can also be paired as a coffee table grouping. Glass top coffee tables are especially desirable if you have a beautiful rug to highlight, they are easily replaceable if damage occurs, never stain, and make a room look larger and brighter. The glowing orange finish gives them a zen like, oriental aura, and I love them!

height: 26 1/2
depth: 1 1/2
width/length: 40 in.
This is a charming turn of the century American hand hooked rug, on a frame for hanging.  It would be delightful over the headboard in a girl's or guest room, over a mantle in a farm or mountain house. I love folk art in contemporary spare settings.  In our new green, eco friendly world, this is the precedent. The patterns are made with scraps of fabrics from their rag bags. It blows my mind, that they could sort out their scraps by color and texture, in gas or candle light, while imagining a design. For me, this is love-- striving towards making a hard life beautiful.  I like to think about the woman that made this. She woke up before the roosters, lived from the land, probably milked cows, raised and lost children--it takes my breath away. For the price of $495.00 this is a heart warming treasure.

My oldest and dearest friend's Mother (ODFM) has a passion for miniatures. Her collection was inspired by the fabulous rooms of Mrs. James Ward Thorne

A35: California Living Room, c. 1935-1940, c. 1940
Miniature room, mixed media
Interior: 12 1/4 x 29 7/8 x 23 in.
Scale: 1 inch = 1 foot
Gift of Mrs. James Ward Thorne, 1942.515

My ODFM's collecting escalated to a collaboration with her wonderful husband. They concocted miniature greenhouses, with diminutive pots and trowels, tiny wood houses for little mice from my adored  Mouse House in Cold Spring Harbor, L.I.  I caught the bug, and have included this splendid early 20th century, intricately carved closed bed cupboard, from Brittany. 

height: 13 in.
depth: 6.25 in.
width/length: 14.5 in.

I must digress about the persistent archetypal wagon wheel motif. It traveled from ancient India through Europe with the great migrations, and was retained by the Celtic Breton's. It symbolizes the circularity of of life. The eight spokes are still maintained and originally represented the 8 Buddhist paths of righteousness: right, faith, intention, speech, action, livelihood, endeavor, mindfulness, meditation. The Breton's also followed the Eastern tradition of deliberate error, setting one spindle upside down, because only God is perfect. This little darling is packed with history and symbolism. I find its pagan roots calling my Celtic Kelly soul.  
1st dibs
Male figure- 7"H, x 4 1/2"Dia., Female- 5"H.x 5"Dia. and Female with "upswept do"; 7"H. x 3 1/2"Dia. All signed
Materials/Techniques: Pottery forms, polychromed under glaze.
$375.00 each

Bjorn Wiinblad's work can be found in museums all over the world. These whimsical classic figure vases are all signed and were created in his studio in Denmark, during the 60's. My good friend (you know who you are!) should buy them! I think the collective price of $1,125.00 is tres reasonable for museum worthy collectibles. You can see a smattering of Wiinblad on e-bay. They are admittedly, very small, but would work well for low dining arrangements. I would love to see how they work with different floral hairdos!  


  1. I've sent you two emails now. I do hope you've received them, but I suspect you may not have.

    Lucy aka Esbee

  2. You certainly took your father's good advice and trained your eye well. Your writing is wonderful too.

  3. Oh, great picks. I wish I could make a living perusing ebay and 1st dibs - the days would just fly by. I guess I will have to settle for spending my living instead. :)


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