First of all, congrats to Net-à-Porter, my favorite shopping destination turns 20 this month and it never stops to amaze me. Last Thursday, I had the privilege too attend a very exclusive zoom meeting hosted by Net-à-Porter for their top clients to explore Masterpiece London, the world’s leading cross-collecting fair, before the official launch date today.
With Alison Loehnis to the right and Charlotte Olympia in the middle at another amazing Net-à-Porter event in London.
Our lovely host, Alison Loehnis, president of Net-à-Porter, was joined by experts from the art world for a virtual discussion on «Voyages of Discovery: journey, legacy and connection in art & design.»
Philip Hewat-Jaboor gave us some great insight into Masterpiece London.
Philip Hewat-Jaboor, chairman of Masterpiece and a distinguished collector himself of exceptional pieces from every category imaginable, including 18th-century and early-19th-century ceramics, marbles, furniture and antiquities, gave us a great introduction. What sets Masterpiece London apart from other art fairs is the juxtaposition of art and design from all periods and origins. It is the unmissable art fair at which visitors can view and buy the finest works of art, design, furniture and jewellery – from antiquity to the present day.
Emma Ward during the meeting in front of a Picasso painting.
«Art is incredibly subjective.» – Emma Ward
With almost 400 years of collective art world experience, Dickinson specialises in privately and discreetly handling rare Old Masters through to Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary masterpieces. Emma Ward, Managing Director, who runs the company, explained us how to navigate through today’s complex and fast-moving art world.
Stunning necklace by Fabio Salini
«I couldn’t find the perfect color combination. Therefore I divided the gems in two rows, into warm and cold colors.» – Fabio Salini
Gemologist and jewelry designer Fabio Salini worked for Bvlgari and Cartier before launching his own brand, creates original jewelry and events around the world. In 2004 he opened his Atelier in Rome, an elegant shop and design studio that has become the focal point of his work, representing the quintessence of his style. His keen interest in contemporary art as a form of expression and a source of inspiration has led to brilliant collaborations, like that with Fernando and Humberto Campana, rooted in a tantalizing mélange of jewelry, design and art. He sees himself as a contemporary artist, very much related to his emotions. He is a pisces, very moody, feelings change every single day.
Image of Rockefeller’s salon designed by Jean-Michel Frank in 1939, showing the Léger mural and Giacometti andirons.
«I believe that a less severe principle can be found—the mixing of styles. The noble frames that came to us from the past can receive today’s creations. The house that we build now can welcome ancient things of beauty.» – Jean-Michel Frank
Such a source of inspiration: Helena Rubinstein’s apartment.
«Re-editions can be problematic.» – Daniel Malarkey
Daniel Malarkey, art advisor, specialized in contemporary art and important design for collectors. I loved his advice and speech. He spoke about provenance and the designer’s work; how proportion, materials and form inspire contemporary design today: how then one commissions site-specific design for interiors and mixing 20th century with contemporary.
Van Cleef and Arpels Œillet handbag mirror. Unique piece, High Jewelry Collection, 2019
Yellow gold, rose gold, white gold, pink sapphires, rubies, diamonds. £300.000
If this preview has whet your appetite, you can go even further with this online. Navigate on your own, you can do this from every corner of the globe. However, without the conversation with the exhibitors, you might be stuck. If you find something you like, make a telephone call, talk to the dealer, get engaged and learn more about the respective piece. Masterpiece’s exhibitors span all eras and disciplines and include many of the world’s most distinguished art dealerships.
Shopping art and design is actually similar to shopping at Net-à-Porter, do your homework. Understand the fabrics and materials, buy books and learn about iconic pieces. Buy the best you can afford, instead of buying 25 pieces, invest in THE one. You should feel comfortable in spending money so that you would like to do it again.
Chairs, ca. 1930, by Jean-Michel Frank (1895-1941), Galerie Marcilhac
If you commission a piece, find a gallery, an artist or designer. Talk about the feeling of the house, work on the discussion and have an eye on proportion.
Invest in something you like. It might become an iconic piece. I am a collector myself, my collection of high end fashion pieces is my biggest passion that I have followed since over 25 years now. I buy what I personally adore and this is in general the best advice! In the meantime, my collection includes many museum-quality objects.
Do you remember the auction sale of the art collection put together by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé that was held from February 21-25 2009? Yves Saint Laurent was a tastemaker of his own who also got inspired by art, as you can see perfectly in the creation of the famous «Mondrian dress». It was the first ever auction sale to be staged in the Nave of the Grand Palais. The event turned out to be memorable with even 34.000 visitors. Record-breaking items were: the Brancusi sculpture, Madame L.R. which fetched 28.1 million euros. The Matisse Cuckoos went for a spectacular 32 million, smashing the estimated figure of 12 to 18 million euros. Marcel Duchamp’s Belle haleine, eau de voilette fragrance bottle fetched 7.9 million euros.
Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé in their apartment with the famous dragon armchair.
Last but not least, a legendary item in the collection, Eileen Gray’s «dragon» armchair, defied all expectations, the sale price of 21.90 M€ being ten times the pre-sale estimate. This chair was absolutely different from her usual style, but you see how things can turn out surprisingly well.
Join Masterpiece Online (22 – 28 June 2020) for live panel discussions with leading cultural institutions, watch interviews and learn from experts, expert-led virtual tours or arrange a tailor-made private view for you and your friends.
Have a great start into the week.
Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht, Courtesy of Rockefeller Foundation, Net-à-Porter and Masterpiece