April 9, 2010
Book(s) Friday: Doris Duke, Vienna Workshops
Posted by Kevin Sharkey
I was lucky enough to find an old Christie's catalogue from the Doris Duke Collection, an extraordinary sale that was full of beautiful things collected over a lifetime by an even more extraordinary woman. Duke's interests had no bounds and specialists that worked on the sale were knowledgeable in a confounding amount of areas: antiquities, books, furniture, Chinese works of art, porcelain and glass, silver, old master drawings and paintings, maritime art... the list goes on. Even more than her interest in collecting, she was dedicated to preservation (of works of art, the communities she lived in, etc.) and a countless amount of charitable causes. If there wasn't a charity for a cause she believed in, she would start one herself (i.e. the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, ddcf.org).
1 Here's Doris at her Honolulu residence, Shangri La. A salt water pool and exotic gardens decorated her outdoor living space, but I'm focused on the carved door frame in the near left of the photo.
2 I covet the pair of patinated bronze deer along the back wall, designed by none other than the iconic Tony Duquette. And the sculpture sitting in the center window amongst the plants looks awfully familiar.
3 Bamboo everywhere you look, animal-print upholstery and a small bonsai tree tucked away in the corner are enough to get (and keep) my attention.
4 Cut and etched glass mirror, metallic mantelpiece, jade accessories and lacquer furniture: Yes, yes, yes and yes. What's that I see in the mirror's reflection?
5 A beautiful mahogany tester bed. The seated figure atop the yellow silk pagoda-esque canopy is just fantastic.
6 This bathroom is so luxe with it's mirrored and curtain-framed walls and bathtub, marble floors, and a club chair to lounge in underneath a hair-drier.
7 New York in the '30s is a place and time I would just love to visit, especially at the Waldorf's Burlesque Ball. Duke's ensconced by husband, James Cromwell, and friend, Jack Hearst.
8 With the Maharaja Bhawani-Singh of Jaipur at a wedding at City Palace (Jaipur, India, 1966)
9 That Chinese painted silk screen is six-panels of pure, unadulterated luxury.
10 THE most exquisite mirror - and also one of the most famous. It is from the Chinese Bedroom Apartments at Badminton House.
11 It was envisioned as a 'jardin chinois' or a Chinese garden vignette.
12 Heaven! A silver closet. I'm attracted to anything shiny.
13 Would love a pair of these 5-branched candelabrum for special occasions.
14 It's hard to get a good look in this photo, but the fork and spoon have a gorgeous engraving of a crest on their handles. The egg shaped serving spoon is beautiful enough on its own.
15 These boat shaped sauce tureens are perfect. Loving their angular handles with reeded edges.
16 Beautiful set of Chinese export porcelain "Green Fitzhugh" dinner service. Among the chrysanthemum and butterfly decorations are the initials "B" in black.
17 A bureau-cabinet painted pale blue and white and heavily decorated. Some hidden details: it has mirrored doors and a bombe case that opens up to reveal secret drawers.
18 Detail of the bureau: lots of chinoiseries, flower sprays and foliage.
19 I lust after anything that involves Chinoiserie motifs and exotic birds - this 12-panel mirror has both. Love!
20 I love the pieces scattered across this table, which appears to be a triage unit for chipped and broken porcelain.
21 This needlepoint carpet is stunning, but do you see the lines on those library chairs? Breathtaking.
22 Two things (among many) that I love about this bureau: its bracket feet and the inkstand with a built-in candlestick set on top of it.
23 I know it's hard not to stare at the foil and gilt-framed mirror, but my eyes were immediately drawn to the pair of rock-crystal ornaments (no doubt an influence of Duquette) set atop the mantle.
24 I love how the colors of this window treatment and the mahogany, satinwood and tulipwood pieces that decorate this breakfast nook perfectly complement the fall foliage.
25 Close-up of the embroidered and appliqued pelmet that is paired with canary yellow draperies in the previous photo.
26 Gorgeous study. Is that a reeded walnut rubbish bin below that table? How chic!
27 I love the modern graphic print on the shaped, high back settee - they balance each other out.
28 Japanese screen painted with maples.
29 Doris in the '30s. So Film Noir.
Wiener Werkstätte (Taschen) is a look inside the Vienna Workshops during 1920s Austria, which was an artists' assembly full of extremely talented people. This book is truly wonderful, and I just loved seeing the design process and sketches come to life in photograph after photograph. It reminds me of what I see everyday at Martha Stewart when I meet with all of my talented designers. In fact, I think I'll lend this book to our decorative housewares team for a little inspiration today.
1 Even if this photo was in color it wouldn't look much different - this lady's dressing room was designed using only white, black and gray to ensure that the real star (the clothes) could have the spotlight.
2 I like this simple sketch of a tumbler by Josef Hoffman (who also designed the dressing room - notice any similarities?)
3 Here's how the design came to life.
4 Hoffman used malachite and three different types of marble (statuario, black and bleu-belge) to create this amazing master bathroom. If this were mine I'd never leave.
5 Mirror framed by gilded rosewood. I'm mesmerized by the layering and detail of the frame. Martha and I both covet this piece.
6 This fruit basket reminds me of the silver basket housing my Easter candy collection at the office, which is mysteriously looking more and more empty every day...
7 I just love the detail of this enchased silver goblet in the shape of a bell flower - a very popular motif of the 1920s.
8 Sonja Knips House, Vienna, designed by Hoffman. Great window panes and LOVE the design of the chimneys.
9 A beautiful 'bonbonniere' made of muslin glass. An extravagant accessory for the home - yes, but I'm sure I could commission Alexis to fill it with homemade bonbons!
10 A detailed sketch of the Max Reinhardt Theatre, New York.
11 I love the contrast between the height of this centerpiece and the shallow bowl on top.
12 How could the Vienna Workshop designers have known that this would look perfect on my living room console?
13 This vanity is so over-the-top and animated it makes me smile.
14 The bookbinding studio - one of the many areas of study and design at the Vienna Workshops.
Let me know what you think of these photos and enjoy your weekend!
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