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

Round-up of articles on Design Miami/Basel 2015


Here’s an interesting roundup of articles about Design Miami/Basel earlier this month. Enjoy!

A Forum for design: Design Miami/Basel 2015 Show Report – Wallpaper

Design Miami/Basel 2015 Highlights – ARTINFO UK

Highlights from Design Miami/Basel – Architectural Digest

Seven of the Best in Design Miami Basel’s 10th Edition – The Art Newspaper

Fun Rules at Design Miami/Basel with Whimsical Furniture, Lamps and Livable Sculptures – Artnet News

Design Miami celebrates its 10th Anniversary in Basel – InCollect

Tightening Supply in French Mid-Century pushes Design Miami dealers into new Territory – Artsy

Here are the dates for Design Miami and next years Design Miami Basel. Hope to see you there!

Design Miami/
November 29 (Preview Day)
November 30 – December 4 2015.

Design Miami/ Basel
June 13 (Preview Day)
June 14 – 19 2016.


Sotheby’s – First Edition of Paris NOW! Sale.


Lot 61: ‘Pouf Kompliment’, a metal,  foam and cotton stool (circa 2003) by Franz West. Estimate €50,000-70,000.

On 1st July Sotheby’s will hold their first NOW! sale in Paris. The sale combines contemporary Art and Design, Photography and Modern Art (1930s – present day). The idea behind the NOW sales is to create a dialogue between different forms of creative expression brought together in one sale.

Here are a few items from the upcoming sale that caught our eye:


This beautiful and elegant low table above (circa 1940) by Gérard Mille in lacquered wood and bronze is lot 70. Totally covetable!  Estimate: €2,000-4,000.


003PF1524_82Q49_1.jpg.webrend.256.256Lot 80 is this iconic photograph ‘Le Petit Parisien’ by Willy Ronis (1952). Such joy!  Estimate: €4,000-6,000.


418PF1524_86F3B_1.jpg.webrend.256.256Love the form of this pair of wood, leather, brass and material chairs (circa 1963) by Preben Fabricius and Jorgen Kastholm (Lot 77). Est: €10,000-13,000.


468PF1524_8D2RP_1.jpg.webrend.256.256Beautiful and minimal – this pair of ‘Apple Honey’ chairs (circa 1985) by Shiro Kuramata are lot 135. Est: €3,500-4,500.

Pablo Reinoso Retrospective at Maison de l’Amérique Latine



Pablo Reinoso’s first retrospective is presented by the Maison de l’Amerique Latine in Paris through September 3rd. The artist whose work has been presented at Miami Basel, the Venice Biennale, Art Basel and FIAC and who has created work for Veuve Clicquot and Givenchy, is world renown for testing limits, questioning solutions and uniting opposites in the world  of art, sculpture and design. Here are photos of the works in this exhibition.


Bamboo Light System, Yamagiwa, 2006. This light system is a series of individual lights that link together and can create a shape according to the owners desire.

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The artist is well known for his explorations using the Thong Chair #14. Here are a few examples from the exhibit

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The shadow of the chair has been articulated in wood.



This piece is considered are but technically is functional. It is called the Throne Beam Stool, 2015 . It is made of painted steel.



Laocoonte, 2104, sculpted wood (150,5 x 186,5 x 35 cm) Inspired by Laocoön (1610 and 1614). In this work he combined two aspects of his work – the Spaghetti bench and his exploration of the Thonet Chair #14.



Two for Tango, sculpted wood, 2012 (236,5 x 205 x 56,5 cm) This is an homage to the double portrait of Gabrielle d’Estrées et de sa soeur la duchesse de Villars by an unknown artist of l’Ecole de Fountainbleu (v.1594)

Scuola_di_fontainebleau,_presunti_ritratti_di_gabrielle_d'estrées_sua_sorella_la_duchessa_di_villars,_1594_ca._06FullSizeRender-10This is his well-known series “Bancs Spaghetti”. He explores this ubiquitous and anonymous chair form that is placed all around the world in anticipation of social gatherings. His earlier Spaghetti chairs are left functional however in this latest rendition they completely reject their function as a chair and seems to escape back to a plant form.

Birch Bark

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“There are many different colors in birch bark– grey, blue, rose, green” says Sophie Gallardo as she picks up a piece of bark in her studio in Les Puces de Saint Ouen. She points out many subtle hues and then starts to explore the knots and striations and her imagination takes flight. It is clear that her Birch Bark project is a labour of love.

The objects she creates weave together her interest in nature and antiques to tell a story that is poetic and even magical. Launched in 2011 her work has already been spotted by the interior designer Jean Louis Denoit, who acquired pieces for one of his projects. And Galerie Perrotin has purchased from them as well!

“Our work is creativity born of necessity, says Sophie’s partner George-Guillaumme Cassan. Both have long and interesting careers in antiques and furniture making in Les Puces and together they felt compelled to create something new in this market while respecting the world of antiques in which they live.


Taking inspiration from their many walks in the woods with their dog Tindalos and, importantly, the enrapturing work of cult figure Janice Janet, they conceived of this idea to re-imagine furniture covered in birch bark marquetry. Unlike the rustic Adirondack furniture found in the US, which is covered in this bark and goes further by incorporating entire branches as structural elements, Sophie began experimenting by acquiring antiques chest and tables in Les Puces. She and George-Guillaumme choose pieces such as consoles, cabinets and frames that speak to them – objects with soul and wonderful solid construction. They take these existing objects and give them a new story.

Sourcing and preparing the bark is a labor-intensive process. The bark is sourced from fallen trees in the forests around Paris. Sophie notes that unlike most other plants in the forest, insects do not eat birch bark; and it is waterproof. Therefore, it survives long after the tree has fallen and naturally creates a durable material for use in decorating furniture.

She has created a special glue formula that is placed on the back of the bark once it has been cleaned. This makes the bark stronger and pliable. She hammers each piece of bark to make sure that it is strong and that no pieces will break off. “This furniture is built to last.”, remarks George –Guillaume.

Then the fun really begins. You can see Sophie’s creativity and talent emerge. “It’s like couture.” says George-Guillaumme. She starts fitting disparate pieces together and pointing to mountains, lakes and animals such as owls in the bark. She creates a story with the bark that will envelope the structure.

Amythyst, rock crystal, labrodite and other precious stones in their natural form protrude from the objects surface, as glorious exclamation points to the natural beauty of the birch bark.

The partners declare, “Nature is the real artist. We serve nature.”

There work will be presented at Revelations – Le Salon des Métiers d’Art et de la Création at the Grand Palais in Paris, 10-13 September 2015.





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All photos courtesy of www.birchbarkfurniture.com or taken by Artecase/Design Link


Interview with Armel Soyer on the eve of Design Miami Basel


Galerie Armel Soyer will be interpreting a Neo-Classical theme in the 21st Century in her booth at Design Miami Basel this year. It will be, without a doubt, a tour de force. We spoke with Armel as she was preparing for the Fair.

What do you see as the role of the design fair in today’s market? Is its role continually evolving?  There are design fairs and Design Fairs! For example Design Miami/Basel is THE fair which truly values the artists. It is extremely selective and only the best of the international galleries are presented there, be it vintage or contemporary design. Galleries from every continent are present in Basel (Europe, America, Africa, Asia…) and they have all been scrupulously vetted by the strict selection committee. Did you know that each and every piece exhibited at the fair has its own vetting form? That very detailed form presents and describes the piece to the vetting committee. For the most important works, the form has to be sent ahead of time so that the experts have the time to study it carefully. The selection committee passes through the fair the night before it opens, stopping at each stand to inspect each piece with the help of the description form. The objective is to create a climate of confidence for the buyers and collectors who can proceed with reassurance to follow their heart’s desire in the various galleries represented at the fair. Its a very strict and serious procedure and underlines the professionalism of the participants. For sure at Basel you will find the best!


Could you tell us a little about the artists you will be presenting at Design Miami Basel this year and the theme?  For our 4th year at Design Miami/Basel, we will be presenting a neo-classical room from the XXI° century, a period room where all the classical elements of the ceremonial salon will be presented. As contemporary creations, all of the following pieces interact, converse together and by doing so, propose a reinterpretation of a classical salon. During the Fair, we will be introducing a new artist: Denis Milovanov from Northern Russia.

– Red marble pieces, PALAIS by Pierre Gonalons .
After a solo show in Basel in 2012, Pierre Gonalons is now returning with new pieces in French marble, which echo the magnificence of Versaillles and the Louis XIV period.
– The tapestry « Soldats endormis » by Gilles Pernet. This is a modern jacquard tapestry where contemporary photography and renaissance painting meet.
– A sculptural bench «  Seating #13 » and Panels from the Russian artist Denis Milovanov presented for the first time by the gallery. Inspired by the culture of North Russia, Denis Milovanov sculpts oaks weathered by storms. His pieces are abstract, brutal, totemic.
– A console in stainless steel « Inverted Bulgy » by Ifeanyi Oganwu. With his fluid and powerful design, Ifeanyi is part of the current exhibtion at the Vitra Design Museum, Making Africa.
– The new mirror « Mercure » by Mathias Kiss is emblematic of his work in the folds and deformation of rigid materials.  ‘Mercure’ was created on the occasion of the AIR MUSEUM Exhibition at the Palais des Beaux Arts Museum, Lille,  in collaboration with the French band AIR.
You show the exquisitely polished marble work of Pierre Gonalons alongside more abstract brutalist pieces by Denis Milovanov. What do you look for in the artists you work with?  This is a question I often get asked. First of all, I’m a hunter. I like to make discoveries. I constantly move between the artists’ creations which I am studying and considering and my own culture of classical furniture; all whilst seeking to avoid falling into the ‘post-something’ description bracket.
I constantly ask myself the following question: Is this really new, is this really unique, what will it bring to the world in 50 years? Then, its essentially a question of taste and thats difficult to explain…. But it is that which makes creations that are so fundamentally different work well together. My objective is to place these works within the history of furniture. I’d like each piece to have several lives, to cross different epochs, to be recontextualised and to pass from family to family as pieces from the 17th century have survived through to the present time.
A really beautiful piece, that is what transcends time, even if it carries with it the mark of its era, it remains beautiful among every other style and and in every other period.

We have seen recently an emphasis on the values of traditional craftsmanship in contemporary design. Could you comment on this?  You know my commitment as far as traditional savoir-faire is concerned. For me, its almost political. We need to make sure these extraordinary skills carry on and endure! Its not by chance that I am part of the ‘Conseil Scientifique and Culturel de l’institut national des métiers d’art’. Right from the very first days of the Armel Soyer Gallery I undertook a strong commitment to work with contemporary designers and artisans.

I remain very influenced by my time with Lalique where I worked at the beginning of my career. I travelled all over the world to promote the wonders of Lalique crystal. And when you see the admiration which the pieces inspire in the clients all over the world, you realize that it is truly essential that this craftsmanship and these artisanal skills never cease. They must endure. Artisans maintain their skills and knowledge through their work in restoration but need to continually push the limits of their art with contemporary creation.

What inspires you in design?  For me design is a functional utopia!  To work with artists and develop new pieces is a continual source of inspiration. Certain artists, like Ifeanyi Oganwu invent new ways to live or work, like his contoured crater desk, which corresponds entirely to our epoch and couldn’t have existed even 10 years ago. It defies the laws of gravity and stretches materials to breaking point. Others like Pierre Gonalons create a dialogue with other eras and classical culture.

Its enchanting to walk around a piece and see the play of light on its surface. And when you have the opportunity to live with that piece, its even more fantastic!
I am personally not creative, I never learnt to draw but I find it wonderful that I am able to contribute in my way and invent a future world!  All this is made possible by the genius of my artists, designers and artisans!

Contoured Crater desk by Ifeanyi Oganwu
‘Inverted bulgy console’ by Ifeanyi Oganwu

Soldats endormis’ tapestry by Gilles Pernet



Console ‘Palais’ by Pierre Gonalons

Galerie Armel Soyer


Auction Roundup

A little over half the lots at  the Cornette de Saint Cyr XXth Century Decorative Art sale on June 8th in Paris
were unsold.  Among these was the star lot, the ‘Fauteuil-Scultpture ‘Leda’ chair by Salvador Dali (estimate €20,000-30,000). Interestingly, there were 9 pieces included by Francois Thevenin, all of which sold;  7 with substantially higher prices than their top estimates.
SothebysNY 9 June sale tallied up a total of US$3,721,875 (a little under a half of the lots were unsold).  There were a few surprises: the beautiful Paul Dupré Lafon desk (est $250,000-350,000) failed to find a buyer, as did the ‘House of the Future’ ceiling light by Poul Henninsen  (estimate $200,000-300,000).
The Gingko table, bench and chairs by Claude Lalanne sold well ($106,250, $162,250 and $262,000 respectively) as did the stunning table by Diego Giacometti which realized $406,000 with an estimate of $250,000-350,000.
Christie’sNY June 10 Design Sale achieved some strong results. The sale total came in at an impressive $7,687,750.
From the published sale results, all lots were sold.
There were some good prices for Tiffany pieces (lot 14, Tiffany ‘Peony’ standing lamp sold for $161,000 with a high estimate of $120,000). Other strong results were an exquisite pair of sterling silver and lapis lazuli coasters by Koloman Moser which were knocked down at $81,250 (estimate $25,000-35,000); A low table in comblanchien stone and painted iron by Paul Dupré Lafon which sold for $173,000 (est $100,000-150,000); An important ‘Creneaux’ dining table in gilt-iron and opaline glass by Jean Royere sold for $389,000 ($120,000-180,000). The three pairs of wall sconces by Georges Jouve achieved strong prices, particularly lot 150 which sold for $118,000 (est $50,000-70,000). Works by Les Lalannes sold well, as they did at Sotheby’s this week: Claude Lalanne’s ‘Pomme Bouche’ sold for $47,000 (set $15,000-20,000), while Francois-Xavier Lalanne’s ‘Becasseaux’ centerpiece(2009) sold for $149,000 (est $60,000-80,000).

Ethereal Glass in Paris

CD25_223“Spirit fruit” in cobalt and opal blue handblown filigree glass (2015) by Jeremy Maxwell Wintrebert.


If you are strolling down rue de Lille in Paris anytime soon, don’t miss the exhibition of spectacular contemporary glasswork by Jeremy Maxwell Winterbert at Galerie Carole Decombe. The ‘Spirit Fruit’ (2015) vases in filigree glasswork are exquisite and possess an ethereal, and at the same time dynamic quality which we found very moving.

Filigree glass is the term used to describe glass with threads incorporated into a clear body. The technique was introduced in 1527 by Venetian glass-blowers on Murano.  Right through into the eighteenth century, Murano glass-blowers continued to produce filigree glass of unrivaled excellence. Inspired by examples from the past, glass-blowers revived the technique in the mid-nineteenth century, when they started to use coloured threads as well as white ones. In the second half of the twentieth century, there was another resurgence of the technique.

The production of filigree glass involves a highly sophisticated technique.  First of all, thin canes of opaque white glass are produced and several of these are then used together to make spiralling threads. A wide variety of twists and patterns  is possible and only then can the glass-blower begin to make the object itself by combining many different canes.


Also very beautiful are the filigree glass ‘Spirit Void’ (2015), above, and ‘Void’ (2014) vases ((below) with removable inner containers for the water and flowers.

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Galerie Carole Decombe,  30, rue de Lille – 75007 Paris.

Images courtesy of Galerie Carole Decombe.

‘Make Yourself Comfortable’ at Chatsworth

1_3245474a‘End Grain’ by Yael Mer and Shay Alkalay of Raw Edges 
 In England recently, we visited the wonderful exhibition ‘Make Yourself Comfortable’ at Chatsworth. The historic house is glorious in itself and Hannah Obee, the curator has added a rich new dimension to its sumptuous interior by showcasing contemporary seating chosen from both celebrated and emerging designers, along with some pieces by design students. “The selected seats chosen for Make Yourself Comfortable at Chatsworth enable us to share stories with our visitors and for them to engage with the house in new ways. The intention of the exhibition is to interpret Chatsworth in a new way through contemporary design”. What we loved and a detail that made this exhibition stand out was that the visitors are allowed – encouraged even – to sit n the chairs rather than simply looking at them.
We spied Sebastien Brajkovic’s ‘Lathe V’ chair (see our recent post on CWG’s current expo in Paris), Newson’s ‘Lockheed Lounge’ chair, some Clay chairs by Maarten Baas and the fabulous ‘End Grain’ by Yael Mer and Shay Alkalay of Raw Edges (image above).  Made of coloured blocks of wood  glued together to form four benches with a strong graphic pattern, they seem to be emerging out of the temporary wooden floor.  Also of note are design student Thomas Heatherwick’s ‘Spun Chairs’ (image below).
Thomas Heatherwick’s ‘Spun Chairs’
Tom Price’s Counterpoint (above) consists of two block benches, one coal and one resin. They were inspired by the abundance of marble in Chatsworth.
 Should you find yourself in the green fields of Derbyshire (runs until 23 October), don’t miss the opportunity to see this inspiring exhibition.
On June 26, Hannah Obee will be giving an in-depth tour. See here for details.

Make Yourself Comfortable at Chatsworth 28 March – 23 October 2015
Chatsworth, Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1PP

My Blue China The Colors of Globalization

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“If globalization required a banner, it would be blue and white, the colors of the United Nations. They could serve as a wellspring of cultural globalisation, then stand as a universal symbol of harmony between peoples.”


Thirteen artists from around the world, all renowned for their work with blue and white porcelain, have been brought together by international curator Laurent de Verneuil, to explore the theme of cultural globalization in the upcoming exhibition My Blue China, The Colors of Globalization. Presented by the Fondation d’entreprise Bernardaud at the Bernardaud Porcelain Company in Limoge, France, the exhibition will be open June 11th until 21st November 2015.

In the introduction of the catalogue de Verneuil explains the evolving narratives and cultural identities that have been richly layered onto this medium that first traveled West along the silk and spice routes, and was later enthusiastically adapted by Europeans in the 18th century. The complexity of cultural histories now inherent in blue and white porcelain are taken to an new level of provocative expression by the artists who wrestle with very wide ranging cultural and political topics, (from tattoos, to cultural hegemony, to our memories, to Japanese video games).


Since its inception in 2002 the Fondation d’entreprise Bernardaud, directed by Hélène Huret has held a major contemporary exhibition each summer with the purpose of showing ” visitors the rich and varied modes of expression used for ceramics all over the world”.

Here are a few of the outstanding objects that will be on view with comments by the curator.



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Translated Vase (TVW6), 2013,  Joseph Hu, Private collection, Philadelphia © Joseph Hu


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Manga Ormolu Ver -4-o-k, 2010,  Brendan Tang

Ceramics, mixed media © Brendan Tang

Vases, plates and blue-and-white pieces of all kinds are combined with futuristic or prosthetic techno-pop forms. Fragments of Japanese mangas emerge from ceramic pieces, offering a very contemporary version of chinoiserie.


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Temptation – Life of Goods No. 2, 2010, Sin-ying Ho

Porcelain, hand-painted cobalt pigment, high fire under-glaze decal transfer, glaze © Sin-ying Ho

Sin-ying Ho’s sculptures bear witness to what sociologist Marshall McLuhan called the“global village,” i.e. the world today is unified by media and information technologies.Her work is particularly autobiographical and characteristic of an artist that was born and raised in Hong Kong, emigrated to Canada and lives in New York.”


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Trolldom, 2015, Mareo Suemasa,

Porcelain ©Mareo Suemasa

“Katsuyo Aoki’s wall creations draw on the references and esthetic codes from the sources of Japan’s Imari tradition, which the artist combines with images of Japanese pop culture taken from contemporary mangas or video games. The result of this hybridization illustrates Japan’s position in the arena of cultural globalization.” Laurent de Verneuil


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Trying to Keep Up With My Blue China, Take Away Plate, Peckham Library, 2015, Jayne Lloyd
Ball point pen on polystyrene © Jayne Lloyd

Lloyd’s research has led her to explore the use of reminiscence in older people with dementia. Her interest bears on daily sensory experiences. What makes a cup of tea special? Is it because the teacup is beautifully designed
or made of fine porcelain? Or is it simply because that’s how we remember it?