Fradin Labrosse gallery, Paris – Mid century marvels!

DSC95191If you’re in Paris this July, make time for a stop at the Fradin Labrosse gallery on the left bank. This beautiful gilded bronze standing lamp (1970) by French designer Rene Broissard with its stylized heron base stopped us in our tracks. Supremely elegant, the smoked altuglas floor base serves to anchor the soaring heron. Just glorious!

DSC9533-600x398Also spied at the gallery was this fabulous Italian mid century sofa by Frederico Munari (1950). Sometimes referred to as the ‘canapé haricot’ due to its shape,  it is large, imposing and spectacular! (L230 x H80cm). We loved the refined, sweeping curve and the beautifully positioned legs. Just oozing elegance and sophistication, this would be a true statement piece.

DSCF8137Absolutely love this pair of standing lamps (1969) by Paolo Portoghesi (b.1931). They are made of white painted wooden rings. Porteghesi’s training as an architect can clearly be seen in the linear structure of these lights.

Galerie Fradin Labrosse, 13 rue de Lille, 75007, Paris.

Traditional woodworkers alive and kicking in Aveyron!




In the small village of Rieupeyroux in Aveyron we happened upon a small family company of woodworkers, Atelier Milofourmos which goes back three generations. Jean Marty, whose father and grandfather preceded him in the family business,  prides himself on finding and working with the finest raw materials and following the traditional methods of working. The combinations of wood were beautiful and Mr Marty’s obvious delight in explaining the woods with which he works was inspiring. In the cabinet above he worked with mahogany, Norwegian birch wood, sycamore and cherry wood – with Boa skin inlays in the outer cabinet doors. He explained that he had been inspired by his grandfather’s love of the beauty of wood and the skilful art of woodwork. The passing on of tradition in design through the generations keeps alive the original methods and aspirations, while adding a contemporary twist.

IMG_3148This beautiful chair made of solid oak and cherry wood has veneered wood in the seating slats so that the wood has more ‘give’ for the comfort of the sitter. Look at the beautiful leather details at the end of each slat. The pleasure Mr Marty took in explaining his craft reminded us of contemporary cabinetmaker Tony Konovaloff’s quote:

“The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me”.



IMG_3144IMG_3146Detail of a console in solid oak and sycamore wood.



Guéridon in solid oak and ash wood.

With the exciting momentum created by the innovation of digital design in our contemporary world, it is inspiring to see the older traditions co-existing to forge a valuable continuum.


Atelier Milofourmos, 12240 Rieupeyroux, Aveyron.

Recent Design Articles for the Evolving Collector


Interesting and inspiring article about how and why to commission works from artists and craftpeople via Christie’s.

(Click image to link to the article.)



Sotheby’s announced results that beat out Christie’s in the end of 2014 for the first time in over 5 years but Christie’s has regained the lead according to the results for the first half of 2015. Christie’s comes in first, Sotheby’s second and Artcurial third and gaining ground. The report says that Drouot continues to lose ground since 2011 in the half-year recap. Here is the full article on

Pierre Cardin Design (and Art) sale in Bonnieux (Luberon)


 lot 14
Serge MANZON (1930-1998) pour Pierre CARDIN.
Lampe Eclair. Réflecteur hémisphérique en métal chromé présentant un fût en bois laqué en forme d’ailette sur une base de forme libre en bronze, éclairant par une ampoule.
Dimensions : 44,5×31,5×21 cm
Estimations : 25000 / 30000 €

Auction house DameMarteau will be auctioning property of Pierre Cardin tomorrow in the Gare de Bonneiux in the region of Luberon, France. (Pierre Cardin owns about 24 properties in this area including a film studio and restaurant.)

The catalogue is online and live bidding can be done online here.

If you don’t know Pierre Cardin’s story here is a great short interview by Alain Elkann that highlights his enchanted path through life.

We’ve chosen a few of the design objects to highlight for you focusing on  Serge Manzon’s sculptural lights for Cardin.


Serge Manzon was originally known, in the 1960s, as a fashion designer who created sculptural pieces inspired by Arp and Brancusi for Daniel Hechter and Marie-Martine.
In the early 1970s, he turned towards jewellery design while maintaining his sober modern style.
It was in 1971 that Manzon created his first pieces of furniture, a series of black and white lacquered tables incrusted with steel and chrome. These ‘perfectly constructed gems’, as they were referred to by the critic Xavier Gilles, had great success.
In 1973, Serge Manzon opened his own gallery and continued to make objects and pieces of furniture that were very much inspired by abstract art.
In 1976, the Mobilier National invited the talented young artist to contribute to their collection of contemporary furniture.
Impressed with his growing success, Pierre Cardin exhibited his work in his gallery l’Evolution at 118 Faubourg Saint Honoré.
An exceptional artist of the 1970s, Serge Manzon was a key figure of anti-design. – via Galerie Chastel-Maréchal

lot 13

Lot-N°-13_01lot 13
Serge MANZON (1930-1998) pour Pierre CARDIN. Lampe Balance. Structure tubulaire en métal brossé, embouts cubiques bleus, deux coupelles en métal nickelé, éclairant par deux ampoules. (petits accidents sur le socle). Dimensions : 85x60x25 cm Estimations : 25000 / 30000 €



lot 45
Canapé Mirage III. Réservoir additionnel de Mirage III. Assise en cuir orange Hermès. Signé Agnès Patrice-Crépin. Dimensions : 100x395x100 cm
Estimations : 13000 / 15000 €


lot 46
Table Jaguar.
Gouverne de profondeur. Signée Agnès Patrice-Crépin. Dimensions du plateau : 220x250x90 cm. Hauteur : 80 cm Estimations : 8000 / 10000 €


Lot-N°-50_01lot 50
Marc HELD (1932)
Fauteuil à bascule modèle Culbuto à assise et dossier en mousse thermoformée garnie de drap de tissu blanc disposé sur un bâti monobloc en polyester laqué blanc. 113x75x84 cm. Estimations : 4000 / 4500 €

WE saw this chair at Design Elysees a few years ago but it was already sold. (But we did sit in it and found it really comfortable!) Held’s idea is that this chair that rocks and swivels keeps the body in constant motion and elevates stress caused by staying still. Here is a writeup by Knoll.


lot 74
Serge MANZON (1930-1998) pour Pierre CARDIN. Lampe de bureau en métal formant arc à base sphérique recevant un disque pour réflecteur, éclairant par deux ampoules. Dimensions : 50x50x60 cm
Estimations : 25000 / 30000 €


lot 75
Serge MANZON (1930-1998) pour Pierre CARDIN. Lampe Demi-lune en laiton doré signée Pierre Cardin ligne de Serge Manzon. Hauteur : 49x47x35 cm Estimations : 25000 / 30000 €


Couturier Guo Pei’s inaugural exhibition in the Musée des Arts Decoratives, Paris Fashion Week

IMG_3067At the Musée des Arts Decoratives this week we were lucky enough to view Guo Pei’s spectacular couture collection. This was her first showing in Paris. She established her Rose Studio Workshop in Beijing in 1997 and her work continues the centuries-old traditions of embroidering and painting in China – with of course a modern twist and an eye on contemporary innovation. What is so intriguing about her work is that texture, fabric and shape resonate with meaning and tell the stories that painting and embroidery have told throughout the ages in China. 

IMG_3082 copy

There is an astonishingly theatrical feel to her work (Guo Pei is also an opera costume designer) with semi-sculptural elements.


You might have seen images of this stunning cape worn by Rihanna at the recent Met Ball.

IMG_3078The hand-done embroidery is meticulously crafted with a delicate beauty. A true work of art.

Guo Pei is currently showcasing her “Porcelain” collection at the New York Metropolitan Museum, as part of the exhibition “China: Through the Looking Glass”.

Definitely a talent to watch!

Sotheby’s New York inaugural ‘Contemporary Living’ Sale, 22nd July 2015


Sideboard by George Nakashima, Armchairs by Finn Juhl, artwork by Ellsworth Kelly.

Sotheby’s New York will hold the inaugural ‘Contemporary Living’ sale on 22 July with Photography, Prints and 20th Century & Contemporary Design among its 250 lots. With estimates ranging between US$300 to US$300,000 there’s something for everyone! Here are a few lots that interested us:
Lot 25: Mathieu Matégot (1910-2001)
‘Cle de Sol’ wall shelf in lacquered metal, circa 1955.  Estimate: USD3,000-5,000.
We love the tiered form and harmonious lines of this piece.
Lot 51: George Nakashima (1905-1990)
Sideboard in American black walnut and pandanus cloth, signed and dated 1976.
Estimate: USD10,000-15,000.
Lot 65: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969)
‘Barcelona’ Daybed in walnut, chromium-plated steel and leather upholstery. 
Designed 1929, circa 1970 manufactured by Knoll International.
Estimate: USD8,000-12,000.
Happy hunting!

Our Q & A with the resolutely contemporary design gallery Gosserez in Paris

'Block' low table by Valentin Loellmann
Low table from the ‘Block’ Collection by Valentin Loellmann
 Also available as a dining table. Piece unique. Lacquered bronze base, carbonized and waxed table top.
Can you tell us a little about what led you towards establishing your own contemporary design gallery in Paris?
Galerie Gosserez, which I opened in June 2010, is the result of my personal journey within  the milieu of art. Initially I was a dealer specializing in furniture and 1950/70s French ceramics,  before becoming an auctioneer at Drouot. Through these varied experiences I realized that, despite the fact that there were designers working with real talent and savoir-faire, their new work wasn’t being presented to the public.  So, rather than dealing with vintage and re-edition works, I decided to gather together these talented designers and artisans and create a gallery space where they could freely express themselves and experiment with new design ideas. For example, with the exhibition ‘L’étreinte’, the designer Elise Gabriel worked with Zelfo, a cellulose fibre-based material which is extremely complicated to manipulate as it risks cracking when it dries. it took several attempts and experimentation before she mastered the material.  That is the role of the gallery: to accompany and support the designers in their research and experimentation in each project so that together we create work that is extraordinary and brings something truly new into existence. Then it is up to me to present these new works and to explain and support them….and that is what the gallery’s clients are looking for.  
Liga chair by Elise Gabriel
‘Liga’ chair by Elise Gabriel. Beechwood and tinted Zelfo.
Limited edition of 20.
You edit and produce your own exclusive collection of signed and numbered pieces by young designers, as well as other contemporary works from the year 2000 onwards. What is your criteria when choosing a designer to work with?
Choosing designers with whom I will collaborate is passionate work – but extremely difficult. There are so many designers and works presented to us, and the role of a gallery is to have and develop an ‘eye’ and to try and find the rare pearl to present to our clientèle who are more and more demanding in view of the amount of work there is out there. That is what clients expect of me: I sometimes feel like I am on a treasure hunt! Clients often ask me ‘What is the next exhibition or the new designer you’ll be showing’ with a passionate curiosity…..Its this ‘Quest for the Holy Grail’ that impassions me. I am always on the lookout through magazines, blogs, fairs, end of year school projects and projects sent to me….you need to keep an eye on everything!
 Fall-Winter Collection guéridon by Valentin Loellmann

Guéridons from the Fall/Winter Collection by Valentin Loellmann. Base in hazelnut wood with top in oak covered in a mixture of sawdust and resin, the structure is then burnt, waxed and treated with oil.
Each pièce is handmade by the designer and signed, dated and numbered. 
The market for contemporary design has developed hugely in the last few years. How do you see it moving in the next few years?
I think it is a market which will become increasingly international. We are seeing more and more interest in the work of designers in countries such as Brazil and Chili, but also from the Middle East where French elegance and savoir-faire are deeply appreciated and sought-after.
What tendencies do you see in contemporary design in France at the moment?
We are now seeing a formal simplicity allied to technical sophistication. The emergence of new technologies (the development of LEDs, rapid prototypage, laser etc) is opening up design to totally new possibilities. There is also a growing interest in the materials themselves and the re-appropriation of their initial functions. For example, for the Taffelstukken lamps by Dutch designer Daphna Laurens, the porcelain is used to create the lampshade rather than its traditional function as a material for a dish! So, the importance of the material lies essentially in its natural state: earth, wood, stone, beeswax….and a formal approach which is often organic. In the gallery, in his Fall-Winter collection,  German designer Valentin Loellman works with oak and hazel tree wood in a way that emphasizes the sensuality of the wood, using a formal language which is close to nature. Equally, the designers we work with explore the contrasts between materials: glass and marble, cement and paper…alliances which appear irreconcilable but which in reality function beautifully. Another trend I am seeing is the exploration of functional qualities where a work can have several functions. For example, is the ‘Tour Miroir’ by Eric Jourdan predominantly a storage piece or a free-standing mirror? And is the ‘Cahute lamp’ by Piergli Fourquié a table or a lamp? I observe this tendency equally with pieces which straddle the boundaries between design and art. Are the ‘lamps’ by Os & Oos works of sculpture or lamps?
Occultation light by Os & Oos
 ‘Occultation’ light by Os & Oos. Cement, leds, polarized glass and metal.

Limited edition of 36 + 2 épreuves d’Artistes = 1 Prototype
You took part in the Collective Design Fair in New York this May. What was your impression of the Fair and the international clientele who attended? And PAD Paris and PAD London?
I personally think that there are too many international fairs. Clients, both decorators and collectors are seriously sought after and I fear that some fairs simply won’t survive. Having said that, Collective Design Fair in New York is really interesting with many decorators and interior architects among the visitors. PAD Paris and PAD London attract more collectors so these fairs are very complementary.
All images courtesy of Galerie Gosserez.
Galerie Gosserez, 9 rue Debellyme, 75003 Paris.

Advice on Collecting – An interview with Susan Mumford of Be Smart About Art

Susan gives a talk on Women in the Arts at the Affordable Art Fair (London, March 2014)


We fell in love with a London-based weekly newsletter about art earlier this year. It’s called Sunday Reading and is produced by Susan Mumford, an American in London, who is the founder of two organizations that provide support to art world professionals: the Association of Women Art Dealers (AWAD) and Be Smart About Art.

Susan has been spending more and more time in New York in the recent years as AWAD is becoming established there to great success. Recently this group has started opening up to collectors who are interested in learning more about the art market.

We thought that her expertise garnered over years of experience in the professional art market (She was an advisor and gallerist before founding AWAD.) would offer some interesting insights to you as collectors and enthusiasts of collectible design.

Q&A with Susan Mumford

 As someone who is in constant contact with the entire spectrum of professionals (artists,gallerists, dealers, advisors….) in the fine art world, can you offer 5 tips about the professional arena that could enlighten potential collectors in art as well as design. 

  1. Don’t be surprised if artists in your collection or those who you follow change style. Think of Picasso – he’s celebrated as a 20th Century Master as he continually reinvented himself. Therefore, you become an ambassador for artists and support their ongoing creative development.
  2. The majority of artists and dealers are happy to work with you based on your budget and requirements. Whether you want to pay by installment or would like to have a bespoke piece for a specific setting, sound them out and see what’s possible.
  3. The general commission split between artists and galleries is 50/50 (though there are many variations). This is normally a surprise to people outside the industry. The costs of participating in fairs and/or running bricks and mortar premises are high. So long as dealers earn their commission, the makers are generally happy for them to receive this amount. Better to get something than zero of nothing.
  4. The price of a pieces on the primary market* should be the same regardless of where exhibited & sold – gallery, studio, online marketplace, you name it. If you ever see artists who are discount gallery prices in the studio, they’re most likely not professionals, as this indicates that they haven’t established market values.
  5. If anything is stopping you from buying a piece, be that how to frame, install, insure, et cetera, ask the seller how they can help. They’re experts and know how best to look after works. Sometimes additional services are chargeable, and other times they’re included in the price. Don’t ask, don’t get.

*This is the first time a work of art sells.

What are your top 5 guidelines for people just starting to collect? 

  1. Determine why you’re collecting – pleasure, investment, or a combo of the two.
  2. Buy what you like.
  3. See a lot of art.
  4. Once you find a piece you like, research the artist and seller. (Ask yourself: Does the pricing make sense? Is the maker’s profile along the lines of the collection you’re building?)
  5. Set your annual budget.

Are advisors worth the investment? Why? And do you have advise about choosing One? 

Needless to say, it depends on the advisor. They work at all levels of market, from bottom to high end. What can be surprising is that they can often get you the best price and sometimes even save you money. There’s no doubt that they can advise as to whether or not your budget is realistic for what you want to purchase, and they will also know where and how to source to save you time and effort. As with so many things in life, you get what you pay for.

What is a fair pricing structure for this service?

There are so many different services offered by advisors that this could be a long answer!

Take note that they should not be charging commission on top of acquisition prices. They should take commission from the seller (whoever that is, artist or dealer), not from both ends.

If there’s going to be ongoing work for a client, they might charge a monthly retainer or bill monthly based on time worked. Some advisory firms have collectors pay a set amount into a client account in order to come onboard, from which their services and sometimes acquisitions can be paid.

As a general principle, consulting fees pay for advisor costs and expenses, and commission on sales that they successfully broker is where their profit lies. The art world is unregulated and there are numerous scenarios as to how advisors arrange terms. Make certain it’s fair, do your research prior to proceeding and pay attention to your gut instinct.

Where is a good place to start learning about art or design?

Soak in a lot of it! See local shows, attend fairs and make it to some of the major ‘art weeks’ and events, close to home and internationally. Important events include Miami Art Week / Art Basel (Miami, Switzerland and Hong Kong), Armory Week, Maastricht and Frieze Week (London and New York). After looking a lot, you’ll start to understand your own eye.

(We would add a few more events that are specific to design:  Design Miami in Miami and Basel, Switzerland, PAD Paris and London, the Biennale in Paris, and Collective Design, NY just to name a few …)


If you found this interesting we encourage you to subscribe to Susan’s blog.

Also, Be Smart About Art is fundraising the self-publication of the top 100 posts from the first two years of the ‘Sunday reading’ series. Each story will be accompanied by the original accompanying image, a visual interpretation of the concept. With a distributor already on board, the book is destined for the shelves of museums, galleries and book shops.

“Like the rest of Be Smart About Art’s work, Susan Mumford’s weekly blog takes a fresh, down-to-earth approach to the business of art. Always a great read, it answers the vital questions that you didn’t even know you wanted to ask.” -Ivan Macquisten, former Editor, Antiques Trade Gazette

They’re asking for your support: Watch the 2-minute video discover full details and pre-order a copy of the printed publication at

Susan Mumford and Lennox Cato (antiques dealer) debate on whether physical galleries are still necessary (at Olympia Art + Antiques Fair Summer 2011, hosted by Antiques Trade Gazette - Susan won)

Susan Mumford and Lennox Cato – antiques dealer debate on whether physical galleries are still necessary at Olympia Art and Antiques Fair. 2011 Hosted by Antiques Trade Gazette. Antiques Trade Gazette

Susan doing a Periscope tour at 'Mapping Time' (Joanna Bryant Projects + Julian Page) at #bsaaff Be Smart About Art First Fridays (June 2015)

Susan giving a Periscope tour at ‘Mapping Time’ (Joanna Bryant Projects + Julian Page) at #bsaaff Be Smart About Art First Fridays (June 2015)

Susan presenting professional development workshop at Four Corners Film + VideoSusan presenting professional development workshop at Four Corners Film Production, London.

Jacques Biny at Galerie Pascal Cusinier

Opening frise Jacques Biny 2015Don’t miss the exhibition of French designer and editor Jacques Biny’s work which just opened at Galerie Pascal Cuisinier in St Germain de Près.  Biny (1915-1976) first exhibited at the Foire de Paris in 1950 and created the mason d’edition de luminaries Luminalité in 1953 where he promoted and edited the work of young designers (Michel Buffet, Gustav Gautier, Louis Baillon) as well as his own pieces.  His work was characterized by its inventiveness and a bold use of materials (perspex, perforated metal). A man of many talents, Biny was also artistic director for the couture house, Madeleine Vionnet.


Five table lamps produced by Luminalité:( left to right) lamps 258 & 259 by Jacques Biny. Lamp 316 by Jean Boris Lacroix. Lampe 201 & 210 by Michel Buffet. Lamp 316 (1958).

All images courtesy of Galerie Pascal Cusinier.

Exhibition open until 12th September 2015.

Galerie Pascal Cusinier, 13 rue de Seine, 75006.



Q & A with one of our favorite Paris galleries – Patrick Fourtin

 Console ‘Bellatrix’ (2015) by OAK reflected in  KAMAL AOUN’S spectacular mirror sculpture ‘Hoop’ (2015). (2m x 2m).
Galerie Patrick Fourtin is one of the most beautiful galleries in Paris, situated in the stunning Palais Royal area.  Patrick always has an inspiring mix of historical 20th century pieces with cutting edge contemporary works – always elegant with supreme craftsmanship.  We love his eye!
  Commode ‘Colette’ (1922) by JACQUES-EMILE RUHLMANN (Paris 1879 – 1933)
I have always been interested in this field, well before its current success, before the internet made it more widely accessible and when 20th century pieces were only of interest to a few amateur collectors (who have incidentally become the reference for today’s collectors!). When I started out I had a stand at Marché Paul Bert at Les Puces and right from the start I ran it like a gallery with a rigorous selection process.
I opened this gallery 20 years ago so that I could be based in Paris itself and develop my field. I am very lucky to be situated right in the centre of Paris in a truly wonderful and unique spot.
majd_bazerji_bout_de_canape_assemblable_galerie_fourtin_4Tables modulable ‘Bouts de canapé’ (2015) by MAJD BAZERJI  (2015). H60 x W60 x L40cm.
I like to have important older pieces which cohabit in a timeless way with the works of contemporary artists.
I look for quality and beauty; for exceptional and unique pieces with an element of surprise and a strong identity whether they are historic or contemporary works.
Ceramic lamp ‘Essential Surface7′ (2015) by WOUTER HOSTE. 
I believe in and champion the work of many unknown artists whose early talent points to exciting future work. Some of these artists with whom I have worked are now ‘renowned’ today (recipients of the ‘Prix de l’intelligence de la main de la foundation Bettencourt) and their work is included in several important collections. I really function with my heart and with the opportunities I see. Obviously this approach is more difficult and takes more time than if I sold only ‘bluechip’ work (which I admire enormously of course!), but my clients are very faithful to me.
Low table  ‘Scorpion’ by Jacques Duval Brasseur (1970)  H60cm x W90cm.
It makes me sad to see so many people collecting purely from a speculative standpoint, as often in the contemporary art market. The advice I can give is to have confidence in yourself and to buy the pieces that you love – whatever the price!  You must ‘dare’ in order to collect happily – and if you follow that advice you will never go wrong.
View from the gallery