Sneak Preview

The 2022 San Francisco Fall Show will include many of the world’s most distinguished art and antiques dealers, offering an extraordinary range of fine and decorative arts and representing all styles and periods from antiquity to contemporary – American, English, Continental and Asian art, furniture and decorative objects, paintings, prints and photographs, books, gold, silver and precious metals, jewelry, rugs, textiles and ceramics.

Here’s a sneak preview:

From De Angelis: A Tommi Parzinger design Chinese red lacquer credenza with polished brass mounted hardware. United States, 1950s
From Arader Galleries: Raspberries, Plate IV by George Brookshaw (1751-1823)
From Guy Regal NYC: Bronze Apple by Clara Duque, 1995
From Greg Pepin: A rare 18kt gold Georg Jensen bonbonnière set with a single ruby, four oval black agates and six small green agate stones, 1908
From Modernism Inc: ABSTRACT #217 (cadmium red deep), 2014 by James Hayward
From Phoenix Ancient Art: A Roman Cornelian Intaglio with the nymph Galatea, goddess of calm seas, 1st century A.D.
From Carlton Hobbs: A red lacquered cabinet with shaped panels decorated in imitation of blue and white Delft porcelain, on original silver gilt stand, English, last quarter of the 17th century

By Vera Vandenbosch

Ruby Red

2022 marks the 40th anniversary of the San Francisco Fall Show – our Ruby Jubilee! Rubies are thought to possess an inner flame, symbolizing passion, devotion and endurance. How apt for the longest running art, antiques and design fair on the West Coast, renowned and respected across the globe and a beloved and integral part of the San Francisco Bay Area’s art and design communities. The Show will embrace all shades of glorious red, celebrated in cultures around the world for extraordinary energy, romantic love and good luck.

We’re not the only ones “seeing red”. After returning from Milan Design Week, the editors of Architectural Digest declared tomato red to be this season’s “it color”.

Versace Home’s presenattion at Milan Design Week – photo courtesy of Versace Home

This summer’s must-see exhibit is NYC’s Museum of Modern Art’s “Matisse: The Red Studio,” a small but spectacular exhibition that dissects one of the artist’s greatest early paintings. This show reunites — for the first time since they left the artist’s studio in the Parisian suburb of Issy-les-Moulineaux — all the surviving works that Henri Matisse depicted in “The Red Studio,” a painting whose seductive radicalness has attracted admirers since it entered the museum’s collection in 1949.

In the words of legendary icon of style Diana Vreeland: ”Red is the great clarifier – bright and revealing. I can’t imagine becoming bored with red – it would be like becoming bored with the person you love.”

Horst P. Horst/Getty

By Vera Vandenbosch

The alphabet of art & antiques – F is for …

Faience

Faience is tin-glazed earthenware made in France, Germany, Spain, and Scandinavia. It is distinguished from tin-glazed earthenware made in Italy, which is called Majolica, and that made in the Netherlands and England, which is called Delft.

From Earle D. Vandekar of Knightsbridge: French creamware or faience fine soup tureen, 18th century.

Fauvism

Fauvism is a style of painting with vivid expressionistic and non-naturalistic use of color that flourished in Paris from 1905 and, although short-lived, had an important influence on subsequent artists, especially the German expressionists. Matisse was regarded as the movement’s leading figure.

Think of Fauvism as Impressionism that is taken to the absolute extreme with bolder colors and thicker brushstrokes (often applied straight from the paint tubes).

Open Window, Collioure (1905) by Henri Matisse

Ferronnière

The ferronnière was a delicate jewelry item worn by women on the forehead which served to help hold hairstyles in place. It consisted of a chain with fine links – or a textile thread – usually with a single gemstone in the center. The name is derived from a painting, attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, named La Belle Ferronnière (from French: “the beautiful blacksmith’s wife”) currently in the Musée du Louvre in Paris, see below.

Festoon

A festoon is a decorative element consisting of a wreath or garland hanging from two points. In architecture, a festoon is typically a carved ornament depicting an arrangement of flowers, foliage or fruit bound together and suspended by ribbons. The motif is sometimes known as a swag when depicting fabric or linen.

Fibula

A fibula is a decorated fastening brooch which was used by the Romans to secure a robe on the shoulder. It is the ancient equivalent of a safety pin.

Roman gold crossbow fibula (brooch), A.D. 286–305 or 306/7–308/9. Image via The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Filigree

Filigree is a form of intricate metalwork used in jewelry and other small forms of metalwork. In jewelry, filigree is usually made of gold and silver, with tiny beads or twisted threads, or both in combination, soldered together and arranged in artistic motifs.

From Kentshire: A pair of antique day-to-night gold filigree, foiled citrine, and seed pearl earrings, probably Neapolitan.

Fleur de Lis

The fleur-de-lis is a stylized lily that is used as a decorative design or symbol. Traditionally, the fleur-de-lis has been used to represent French royalty, and in that sense it is said to signify perfection, light, and life. Legend has it that an angel presented Clovis, the Merovingian king of the Franks, with a golden lily as a symbol of his purification upon his conversion to Christianity.

From Carlton Hobbs: interesting burr mulberry or elm and brass inlaid sofa table with drawers, flanked by panels, filled with a fleur de lis motif. English, first quarter of the 19th century.

Fluting

Fluting is a decoration formed by making a series of parallel, semi-circular shallow grooves running along a surface.

From Artistoric: Doulton Lambeth fluted stoneware vase (1886-1891)

Fretwork

Fretwork is an interlaced decorative design that is either carved in low relief on a solid background or cut out with a saw. Most fretwork patterns are geometric in design. The materials most commonly used are wood and metal.

From James Sansum: Kimbel and Cabus Japonisme rosewood center table with fretwork apron, circa 1880.

By Vera Vandenbosch

The alphabet of Art & Antiques – E is for …

Ébéniste

An ébéniste is a French term for a cabinet-maker, particularly one who works in ebony. Ébénistes make case furniture, either veneered or painted.

From Carlton Hobbs: an extraordinary walnut and exotic woods inlaid parcel gilt commode of profoundly shaped reverse bombé form bearing the arms of Vialètes d’Aignan “Manufacture Royale” of Montauban. French, mid-eighteenth century.

Egg-and-dart

Egg-and-dart is a repetitive design, most often found on molding or trim. The pattern is characterized by a repetition of oval shapes, like an egg split lengthwise, with various non-curved patterns, like “darts,” repeated between the egg pattern. In three-dimensional sculpting of wood or stone, the pattern is in bas-relief, but the pattern can also be found in two-dimensional painting and stencil. The exquisite architectural fragment belongs to one of the decorative moldings of the Erechtheum, the building on the Athenian Akropolis that accommodated a variety of venerable cults and sanctuaries, circa 421–409 B.C.

Image via The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Empire

The Empire style is an early-nineteenth-century design movement in architecture, furniture, other decorative arts, and the visual arts, representing the second phase of Neoclassicism. The style takes its name from the rule of the Emperor Napoleon I in the First French Empire. The previous fashionable style in France had been the Directoire style, a more austere and minimalist form of Neoclassicism, that replaced the Louis XVI style. The Empire style brought a full return to ostentatious richness.

From Milord Antiquites: Fine gilt bronze Empire period mantel clock, circa 1810.

Enamel

Vitreous enamel, also called porcelain enamel, is a material made by fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing, usually between 750 and 850°C (1,380 and 1,560°F). The powder melts, flows, and then hardens to a smooth, durable vitreous coating. The word comes from the Latin vitreum, meaning “glass”. Enamel can be used on metal, glass, ceramics, stone, or any material that will withstand the fusing temperature.

From Kentshire: Gold and enamel Gucci bracelet/watch, circa 1965

Encaustic

Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. The liquid or paste is then applied to a surface—usually prepared wood, though canvas and other materials are also used. Metal tools and special brushes can be used to shape the paint before it cools, or heated metal tools can be used to manipulate the wax once it has cooled onto the surface. Today, tools such as heat lamps, heat guns, and other methods of applying heat allow artists to extend the amount of time they have to work with the material. Because wax is used as the pigment binder, encaustics can be sculpted as well as painted. Other materials can be encased or collaged into the surface, or layered, using the encaustic medium to stick them to the surface.

“White Flag”
Jasper Johns, 1955 (Encaustic, oil, newsprint, and charcoal on canvas)

Encoignure

Encoignure is a type of furniture located in a corner of a room. In French, it literally means the angle, or return, formed by the junction of two walls. Since the 20th century, the word has been mainly used to designate a small armoire, commode, cabinet or cupboard made to fit a corner.

From Antonio’s Bella Casa: A pair of elegant, hand-painted, ebonized, parcel gilt, 18th century Italian Chinoiserie corner cabinets.

Epergne

An epergne is a table centerpiece, usually made of silver but can also be made of another metal, glass, or porcelain. An epergne generally has a large central “bowl” or basket, resting on three to five feet. From this center “bowl” radiate branches supporting small baskets, dishes, or candleholders.

From SJ Shrubsole: a George III Antique English Silver Epergne, London, 1778 by Thomas Pitts

Escutcheon

A decorative plate used to conceal a functioning, non-architectural item – such as a keyhole, door handle, or light switch – for protection and decoration.

Escutcheon on chest of drawers attributed to the Philadelphia joiner John Head, image via Sotheby’s

Egyptomania

Egyptomania was the renewed interest of Europeans in ancient Egypt during the nineteenth century as a result of Napoleon’s Egyptian Campaign (1798–1801) and, in particular, as a result of the extensive scientific study of ancient Egyptian remains and culture inspired by this campaign. The grandeur and “exoticism” of its pyramids, temples, Great Sphinx, and culture have made this great civilization a recurring subject in architecture, film, art, and popular culture. During the 20th century Egyptomania reached a fever pitch in the United States: Howard Carter’s 1922 discovery of King Tutankhamen’s Tomb caused a nationwide craze, and Elizabeth Taylor’s portrayal of Cleopatra in the 1963 classic film inspired a new interest in ancient Egyptian fashion.

Regency Egyptian Revival style settee by Thomas Hope, circa 1802. Image via the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences.

By Vera Vandenbosch

The alphabet of Art & Antiques – D is for …

Delftware Delftware or Delft pottery – also known as Delft Blue – is a general term now used for Dutch tin-glazed earthenware, a form of faience. Most of it is blue and white pottery, and the city of Delft in the Netherlands was the major centre of production, but the term covers wares with other colors, and made elsewhere. Delftware includes pottery objects of all descriptions such as plates, vases and other ornamental forms and tiles. The start of the style was around 1600, and the most highly regarded period of production is about 1640–1740, but Delftware continues to be produced. In the 17th and 18th centuries Delftware was a major industry, exporting all over Europe.

From Earle D. Vandekar of Knightsbridge: Dutch Delft blue & white cress dish, Tichelaar, Makkum, 1890.

Directoire The Directoire style takes its name from the post-Revolution period 1795–1799 when France was ruled by a government of Directors – the Directory. Directoire is characterized by Neoclassical architectural forms, minimal carving, planar expanses of highly grained veneers, and applied decorative painting. Many examples of design from this period carried on the Classicism of Louis XVI, but with greater restraint and incorporating many of the symbols of equality, fraternity and liberty associated with the Revolution. One of the most notable pieces of Directoire furniture was the day bed, inspired by ancient examples and made famous in the portrait of the celebrated beauty Madame Récamier, by artist Jacques-Louis David (see below).

Duchesse brisée A Duchesse brisée – “broken duchess” in French – is three piece French chaise lounge consisting of a set of hand carved armchairs or bergères (one generally smaller than the other) and a bout-de-pied, or foot rest that fit together to make a single seating unit. This Louis XVI style piece rose to popularity in the 18th and 19th centuries.

A Louis XV walnut duchesse brisée, mid 18th century. Image via Christie’s.

Demi-lune From the French for “half moon”, demi-lune refers to a a crescent or half-moon shape, as of the top of a piece of furniture.

From Jayne Thompson Antiques: Demilune serving table in satinwood, yew, and rosewood, Irish, 1790.

Dada Dada or Dadaism was an art movement of the European avant-garde in the early 20th century. Developed in reaction to World War I, the Dada movement consisted of artists who rejected the logic, reason, and aestheticism of modern capitalist society, instead expressing nonsense, irrationality, and anti-bourgeois protest in their works. The art of the movement spanned visual, literary, and sound media, including collage, sound poetry, cut-up writing, and sculpture. Dadaist artists expressed their discontent toward violence, war, and nationalism, and maintained political affinities with the radical far-left. Renowned dadaists include Marcel Duchamp, Tristan Tzara, Max Ernst, Francis Picabia, Kurt Schwitters and American Man Ray (see below).

Daguerrotype The daguerreotype was the first commercially successful photographic process (1839-1860) in the history of photography. Named after the inventor, Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre, each daguerreotype is a unique image on a silvered copper plate. In contrast to photographic paper, a daguerreotype is not flexible and is rather heavy, with a mirror-like surface. Among the colorful characters immortalized in the colorless daguerreotype medium are (below, clockwise from upper left): writer Henry Thoreau, Seneca leader Blacksnake, Navy Commodore Matthew Perry, mental health crusader Dorothea Dix, showmen P.T. Barnum and Tom Thumb, and actress Charlotte Cushman (Image via the National Portrait Gallery)

Diptych A diptych is an artwork consisting of two pieces or panels, that together create a singular art piece these can be attached together or presented adjoining each other. In medieval times, panels were often hinged so that they could be closed like a book and the artworks protected.

Diptych of Jean Carondelet (1517) by Jan Gossaert

Danish Modern Danish modern is a style of minimalist furniture and housewares from Denmark, embracing the principles of Bauhaus modernism in furniture design, creating clean, pure lines based on an understanding of classical furniture craftsmanship coupled with careful research into materials, proportions and the requirements of the human body. With designers such as Arne Jacobsen and Hans Wegner and associated cabinetmakers, Danish furniture and housewares thrived from the 1940s through the 1960s.

From De Angelis: Kurt Ostervig lounge chair and ottoman for Schiller Polstermobelfabrik, Denmark, 1960s.

Demi-parure A Demi-parure is a set of matching jewelry that is designed to be worn together, though fewer than a full set or parure. The term dates from the second half of the 16th century. Traditionally, when a parure involved six or seven pieces, a demi-parure was a three-piece suite of (usually) a necklace, earrings, and a brooch or bracelet; however, in the early 20th century, the term “parure” began to refer to just a trio of coordinating items, and a demi-parure was similarly downscaled to refer to any two matching pieces.

From Kentshire: An antique neoclassical carved agate and gold demi-parure. Italy, circa 1865.

By Vera Vandenbosch

The Alphabet of Art & Antiques – C is for ..

Cabriole leg

Cabriole refers to a popular furniture leg with the knee curving outward and the ankle curving inward terminating in an ornamental foot. It is commonly associated with Queen Anne and Chippendale styles of antique furniture. When used with Chippendale furniture, the cabriole leg commonly terminates with a ball and claw foot. In Queen Anne examples, the pad foot was popular, but other foot styles were used with these legs as well.

From Ronald Phillips: A mid 18th century Chippendale period carved mahogany card table on cabriole legs with channeled heading and acanthus carved knees, terminating in leaf carved French toes.

Caquetoire

The caquetoire, or conversation chair, was an armchair style which emerged during the European Renaissance. It was largely used in France and is one of the most well-known pieces of furniture from the French Renaissance. Due to fashions of the time and the lack of heating systems in homes, women wore several layers of skirts and petticoats to keep warm. This often prevented them from fitting comfortably into armchairs with rectangular seats. A caquetoire seat is splayed so women in their large skirts could easily sit.

A French walnut armchair caquetoire, 16the century – Image via Christie’s

Cameo

A cameo is a material that is carved with a raised relief that often depicts a profile of a face or a mythical scene. Cameos are commonly made out of shell, coral, stone (often agate or onyx), lava, or glass. The most common motif of antique cameo jewelry depicts a profile of a face or mythical creature. There are typically two colored layers; generally, figures are carved in one layer so that they are raised on the background of the second layer. England’s Queen Victoria is credited with popularizing shelled cameos in the 19th century.

From Lawrence Jeffrey Estate Jewelers: Georgian diamond and carved agate memorial ring, circa 1780.

Cellarette

A cellarette or cellaret is a small furniture cabinet, available in various sizes, shapes, and designs (and sometimes portable) which is used to store bottles of alcoholic beverages, as well as decanters and glasses. Prohibition in the United States brought about variations of trompe l’oeil cellarettes designed to conceal illegal alcoholic beverages. To the casual observer, the three dimensional trompe l’oeil artwork on these cellarettes made them appear to be an ordinary table, bookcase, or other piece of furniture.

From Carlton Hobbs: A carved mahogany neoclassical cellarette of large scale, designed by Thomas Hope, early 19th century

Chiaroscuro

Italian for “light-dark,” chiaroscuro is the use of strong contrasts between luminosity and shadow to achieve a sense of volume and dimensionality. This unique technique was developed during the Italian Renaissance by Leonard da Vinci, the Baroque period by Caravaggio, and the Dutch Golden Age by Rembrandt.

Self portrait wearing a white feathered bonnet oil on panel, by Rembrandt, 1635

Contrapposto

In sculpture, contrapposto (“counterpose” in Italian) is an asymmetrical posture in which most of a figure’s weight is distributed onto one foot. This results in a realistic stance, as famously evident in Michelangelo’s David statue.

David by Michelangelo at the Florence Galleria dell’Accademia

Color Field

Color Field painting is a style of abstract painting that emerged in New York City during the 1940s and 1950s. It was inspired by European modernism and closely related to abstract expressionism, while many of its notable early proponents were among the pioneering abstract expressionists. Color field is characterized primarily by large fields of flat, solid color spread across or stained into the canvas creating areas of unbroken surface and a flat picture plane. The movement places less emphasis on gesture, brushstrokes and action in favor of an overall consistency of form and process. In color field painting “color is freed from objective context and becomes the subject in itself.” Artists who are considered part of the Color Field style include Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Helen Frankenthaler, Barnett Newman, Robert Motherwell and Frank Stella.

Mark Rothko, UNTITLED (No. 73), 1952High Museum of Art, Atlanta. Gift of The Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc. 1985.27, © 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko /Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York

Cloisonné

Cloisonné is decorative work in which copper filaments are glued or soldered to a metal surface—gold in the Near East, bronze or copper in China—to create tiny compartments, or cloisons, that are then filled with ground glass blended with metallic oxides to produce colorful enamels.

Cloisonné dish with scalloped rim, early 15th century – Image via The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Craquelure

From the French word for “cracking”, craquelure describes a pattern of fine cracks on the surface of a painting or a ceramic object. In an oil painting, craquelure forms because the paint dries and becomes less flexible as it ages and shrinks. It can be used by experts to determine the age of a painting and to detect forgeries.

The Ghent Altarpiece by Jan and Hubert van Eyck. Detail of craquelure in the Virgin Mary panel. Oil on panel. Completed ca. 1432. Cathedral of St. Bavo, Ghent, Belgium

By Vera Vandenbosch

The Alphabet of Art & Antiques – B is for …

Bauhaus

Bauhaus – which literally translates to “construction house” – is a school of design established in Weimar in 1919 by Walter Gropius, moved to Dessau in 1926, and closed in 1933 as a result of Nazi hostility. At the core of Bauhaus lies the idea of the “Gesamtkunstwerk”, a synthesis in which multiple art forms are unified through architecture. A building was not just an empty vessel for the Bauhaus school, it was one element of the total design, and everything inside added to the overall concept. Influenced by movements such as Modernism and De Stijl, and as a counter-movement to the Art Deco and Art Nouveau styles; Bauhaus artists favored linear and geometrical forms, while floral or curvilinear shapes were avoided. Only line, shape and color mattered. Anything else was unnecessary and needed to be reduced.

Walter Gropius’ Dessau Bauhaus building (© Tillmann Franzen and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018)

Belle Époque

Belle Époque literally means “Beautiful Age” and is a name given in France to the period from roughly the end of the Franco-Prussian War (1871) to the start of World War I (1914). It was so named in retrospect, when it began to be considered a “Golden Age” in contrast to the horrors of World War I. The industrial output of France tripled during the Belle Époque, thanks to the continued effects and development of the industrial revolution. Mass entertainment was transformed by venues like the Moulin Rouge, home of the Can-Can, by new styles of performance in the theater, by shorter forms of music, and by the realism of modern writers. Print, long a powerful force, grew in even greater importance as technology brought prices down still further and education initiatives opened up literacy to ever wider numbers.

Paul-César Helleu (1859-1927), La Lettre, 1880

Bergère

A bergère is an enclosed upholstered French armchair or fauteuil with an upholstered back and armrests on upholstered frames. Designed for lounging in comfort, a bergère in the eighteenth century was essentially a meuble courant, designed to be moved about to suit convenience, rather than being arranged permanently and formally along the walls as part of the decor.

From Ronald Phillips: A pair of Regency mahogany bergère chairs, English, circa 1815

Biedermeier

The Biedermeier style in art was a transitional period between Neoclassicism and Romanticism, as it was interpreted by the bourgeoisie, particularly in Germany, Austria, northern Italy, and the Scandinavian countries. Biedermeier furniture derives essentially from the Empire and Directoire styles; with remarkable simplicity, sophistication, and functionality. Stylistically, Biedermeier furniture softened the rigidity of the Empire style and added weight to Directoire. Biedermeier pieces were executed in light, native woods and avoided the use of metal ornamentation. Surfaces were modulated with natural grains, knotholes, or ebonized accents for contrast.

From Iliad: Biedermeier two-drawer commode, Cherry with ebonized detailing. Southern Germany, circa 1825-30

Bloomsbury Group

The Bloomsbury Group – or Bloomsbury Set – was a group of associated English writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists in the first half of the 20th century, including Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, E. M. Forster and Lytton Strachey. They lived, worked or studied together near Bloomsbury, London and were united by an abiding belief in the importance of the arts and the rejection of bourgeois habits. A well-known quote about the Bloomsbury Group, attributed to Dorothy Parker, is “they lived in squares, painted in circles and loved in triangles”.

Photo by Tony Tree/The Charleston Trust The studio at Charleston, the country home of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant where the Bloomsbury Group spent time from 1916 on

Bouillotte

A bouillotte is an 18th century table lamp with two or three adjustable candle brackets and a common shade that would slide down a central shaft and be secured by a screw to accommodate the dwindling length of the lit candles.

A pair of French Empire style silver-gilt six-light bouillotte lamps with ormolu shades, Odiot, Paris, 20th century

Briolette

A briolette is an elongated pear-shaped gemstone cut with facets, and it is often drilled to hang as a bead. It was popular during the Victorian times. The Smithsonian has a 275-carat diamond briolette necklace presented by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1811 to his Empress consort Marie Louise (below).

Brutalism

Brutalist architecture, or New Brutalism, is an architectural style which emerged during the 1950s in Great Britain, among the reconstruction projects of the post-war era. Brutalist buildings are characterized by their massive, monolithic and blocky appearance with a rigid geometric style and large-scale use of poured concrete. Brutalist furniture, lighting and wall sculptures often have hard edges, jagged shapes, rough surfaces, patinated finishes, asymmetrical organic designs, and metallic color palettes.

From Guy Regal: A Superb and Large “Deep Relief” Credenza, by Paul Evans for Directional, circa 1974

Buffet à deux corps

This type of furniture literally translates to “buffet with two bodies”. It’s often an ingenious combo of storage and display case. Since it could easily be split apart it was very easy to transport or travel with and deliver into homes through the typical narrow doorways of past centuries.

From epoca: French provincial walnut buffet-a-deux-corps, circa 1750

By Vera Vandenbosch

The Alphabet of Art & Antiques – A is for …

Abstract expressionism

Abstract expressionism refers to new forms of abstract art developed by American painters such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning in the 1940s and 1950s. It is often characterized by gestural brush-strokes or mark-making, and the impression of spontaneity. It was the first specifically American movement to achieve international influence and put New York City at the center of the western art world, a role formerly filled by Paris.

Barnet Newman, another artist associated with the movement, wrote:

“We felt the moral crisis of a world in shambles, a world destroyed by a great depression and a fierce World War, and it was impossible at that time to paint the kind of paintings that we were doing—flowers, reclining nudes, and people playing the cello.”

From Foster Gwin: Untitled, ca. 1950’s by LILLY FENICHEL (1927-2016), an American painter who explored abstraction through a wide range of media and approaches, with her various periods linked together by a common emphasis on color harmonies and expressive, often calligraphic gestures. Her earliest work is associated with second-generation Bay Area Abstract Expressionism.

Aestheticism

Aestheticism (or the Aesthetic Movement) is a late 19th-century European movement which centered on the doctrine that art exists for the sake of its beauty alone, and that it does not need to serve a political, didactic, or other purpose – “art for art’s sake”. More than a fine art movement, Aestheticism penetrated all areas of life – from music and literature to interior design and fashion. Key figures include artists Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones and James McNeill Whistler, author Oscar Wilde, poet Algernon Charles Swinburne. Aesthetic style furniture is characterized by several common themes: ebonized wood with gilt highlights, a Far Eastern influence, a prominent use of nature, especially flowers, birds, ginkgo leaves, and peacock feathers.

From Artistoric: This tile, designed by Christopher Dresser and made for Mintons China Works in 1873, exemplifies the Aesthetic Movement ethos of the home as artistic expression and sanctuary from modern life.

Acanthus

The acanthus leaf is a popular architectural design element in Ancient Greek architecture. It was first used on capitals, or tops, of Corinthian columns. Its design is a stylized version of a Mediterranean plant with jagged leaves known as Acanthus Spinosus. The Romans continued to use acanthus leaves in decoration, and many cultures followed suite in using this classic decorative motif, including Byzantine, Romanesque, and Gothic traditions. With the neo-classical revival in England in the eighteenth century, the acanthus leaf became a prominent feature in art once again: everyone from Thomas Chippendale to Robert Adam incorporated the acanthus leaf into their furniture designs, often featuring the acanthus leaf on the knees of chairs, friezes of tables, and stems of legs.

Temple of Castor and Pollux capital (detail)- Jean-Tilman Françoise, 1816 ink rendering; Rome Antiqua (Paris, 1985)

Anthemion

The Anthemion (or Palmette) is a motif in decorative art consisting of a number of radiating petals or leaves which resembles the fan-shaped leaves of a palm tree. It is found in most artistic media, but especially as an architectural ornament, whether carved or painted, and painted on ceramics. It is very often a component of the design of a frieze or border.

Etruscan architectural plaque with palmettes, from late 4th century BC, painted terracotta, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC)

Art Deco

Art Deco, or simply Deco, is a style of visual arts, architecture and design that first appeared in France just before World War I. Art Deco influenced the design of buildings, furniture, jewelry, fashion, cars, movie theaters, trains, ocean liners, and everyday objects such as radios and vacuum cleaners. It took its name – short for Arts Décoratifs – from the Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes held in Paris in 1925. It combined modern style with fine craftsmanship and rich materials.

From epoca in San Francisco: a chic American Art Deco 1930’s steel dressing mirror raised on a maplewood base with ebonized highlights.

Arte Povera

The Arte Povera (literally “poor art”) movement took place between the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s in major cities throughout Italy and above all in Turin. The word “poor” here refers to the movement’s signature exploration of a wide range of materials beyond the traditional ones of oil on canvas, bronze, or carved marble. Materials used by the artists included soil, rags and twigs. In using such throwaway materials they aimed to challenge and disrupt the values of the commercialized contemporary gallery system. Among the leading Arte Povera artists were Giovanni Anselmo, Alighiero Boetti, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz, Marisa Merz, and Michelangelo Pistoletto.

Jannis Kounellis, “Untitled,” jute fabric and wool, 1968

Asscher-cut

Created by the Asscher Brothers of Holland’s Asscher Diamond Company (now the Royal Asscher Diamond Company), this diamond cut features large step facets and a high crown that produces a brilliance unlike any other diamond shape. In fact, diamond experts often refer to the shine and sparkle of an Asscher cut diamond as “an endless hallway with reflective mirrors”.

The most famous Asscher-cut diamond of all was worn by the late Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor. The story goes that Richard Burton bought the 33.19ct Krupp Diamond for the actress after she beat him at a game of table tennis. The diamond was previously owned – and named after – Vera Krupp, who was part of the Krupp dynasty that supplied arms to the Nazis during the Second World War. Burton bought the diamond for $385,000 in 1968 and Elizabeth later remarked in an interview: “When it came up for auction in the late 1960s, I thought how perfect it would be if a nice Jewish girl like me were to own it.”

The legendary Krupp diamond

Assemblage

Assemblage is an artistic form or medium usually created on a defined substrate that consists of three-dimensional elements projecting out of or from the substrate. Think of it as the three-dimensional version of a collage. In 1961, the exhibition “The Art of Assemblage” was featured at NYC’s MOMA. The exhibition showcased the work of early 20th-century European artists such as Braque, Dubuffet, Marcel Duchamp, Picasso, and Kurt Schwitters alongside Americans Man Ray, Joseph Cornell, Robert Mallary and Robert Rauschenberg.

Robert Rauschenberg, First Landing Jump, 1961

Athenienne

An athenienne is a small, decorative stand in the form of an antique tripod, used especially in France (often in pairs) in the Louis XVI and Empire periods. The multi-purpose athénienne was intended for entertaining in the salon or boudoir, including pedestal table, perfume burner, heater (for coffee, tea, or chocolate), a planter to grow bulbs in the winter etc.

One of a pair of tripod stands (athèniennes) after a design by Jean-Henri Eberts, 1773. Image via The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

By Vera Vandenbosch

Join our team!

Do you love the arts?

Is “meticulous” your middle name?

Can you juggle? Metaphorically speaking 🙂

Are you passionate about organizing, record keeping, problem solving?

Then join our team for the 2022 San Francisco Fall Show, the longest running art, antiques and design fair on the West Coast, renowned and respected across the globe and an integral part of the San Francisco Bay Area’s art and design communities.

We are looking for an Events Coordinator. Click here for more info, and to apply.

We are looking forward to meeting you!

Vignette designed by Kendall Wilkinson for the 2017 San Francisco Fall Show. Photo by Drew Altizer.

Great news for the 2022 Show – a new affiliation with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

The San Francisco Fall Show and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF) are thrilled to announce an exciting affiliation. FAMSF will be the new beneficiary of the legendary Opening Night Gala, which will be held in person in 2022 at Fort Mason. This will also mark the 40th anniversary of the San Francisco Fall Show, the longest running art, antiques and design fair on the West Coast, renowned and respected across the globe and an integral part of the San Francisco Bay Area’s art and design communities.

FAMSF oversees two unique museums—the de Young in Golden Gate Park, showcasing priceless collections
of American art from the 17th through the 20th centuries, textile arts, and art of Africa, Oceania, and the
Americas, and the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, whose collections include European decorative arts and paintings, ancient art, and one of the largest collections of prints and drawings in the country. The FAMSF
mission is to connect visitors with local and global art in order to promote their knowledge of and curiosity about the past, deepen their engagement with the art and ideas of today, and stimulate their creative agency in their own futures.

San Francisco Fall Show Chair Suzanne Tucker, the driving force behind this partnership, declares: “I am
delighted the show gala will be supporting our beloved museums and honored to be working with the extraordinary FAMSF team. This new relationship is written in the stars – a natural synergy between the pre-eminent antiques and art fair on the West Coast and the FAMSF world class museums. This collaboration will elevate and enhance the outreach of both organizations, resulting in an unparalleled celebration of art, antiques and design.”

“We are pleased to partner with the San Francisco Fall Show and thank them for their commitment to the arts and our mission” states Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “With their support, we invite the Bay Area community to engage with the art and ideas of our time through a multitude of inspiring exhibitions, public programming, and education initiatives presented at the de Young and Legion of Honor in 2022.”

The 2022 San Francisco Fall Show will take place at Fort Mason October 13-16, 2022 – the Opening Night Gala will be on October 12, 2022.

Photo – Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer Photography

By Vera Vandenbosch

Designers Circle Tablescapes at Neiman Marcus

Last week, Neiman Marcus in San Francisco hosted a cocktail event to celebrate their recently revamped and quite impressively enlarged home/tabletop fifth floor. To mark the occasion, a few select members of the San Francisco Fall Show Designers and Artisans Circle were invited to create a special table setting using Neiman Marcus’ dinnerware, flatware and glassware. In addition, San Francisco Fall Show dealers epoca and Garden Court Antiques contributed one-of-a-kind antiques, and Flowers Claire Marie provided the breath taking floral arrangements. The result was nothing less than spectacular. A table!

Table setting by Candace Barnes – Candace Barnes Design
Table setting by George Brazil – SagreraBrazil Design
Table setting by Catherine Macfee – Catherine Macfee Interior Design
Table setting by Lisa Staprans – Staprans Design
Table setting by Nicholas Proietti – Nicholas Vincent Design

By Vera Vandenbosch

2021 San Francisco Fall Show – Man’s Best Friend

The 2021 San Francisco Fall Show is now live on InCollect through October 24. Today’s blogpost explores dogs, AKA “man’s best friend”. The earliest citation of this expression in the U.S. is traced to a poem by C.S. Winkle printed in The New-York Literary Journal, Volume 4, 1821:

The faithful dog – why should I strive

To speak his merits, while they live

In every breast, and man’s best friend

Does often at his heels attend.

Here are a few lovely examples from the show:

From Engs-Dimitri: Faience Model of a Spaniel, Mombaers Factory Brussels, 18th century

By Vera Vandenbosch