French Art Deco

For all you oddball collectable collectors out there!

Collectables and Antiques

Hi Everyone,

It’s been some time since I posted on my blog, but I am on vacation and now have some free time. I came across an article by one of my favourite blogs by Vanessa AKA  Messy Nessy, A London born millennial and her partner (chief millennial technical expert she lovingly refers to as elf ) both young and pretty and with a great pulse on Paris.  One of her latest posts was about the oldest auction house in the world known as the Dorotheum, in Vienna.  Vanessa referred to her blog as Frankensteins auction, but in fact it had noting to do with the real Dr. Frankenstein.

The Dorotheum, one of Viennas oldest auction houses is auctioning off some of the most bizarre of the bizarrest items of curiosities. Everything from turn of the century phones to a rare navicular naventiis.

Below you’ll see some unusual but not terribly disturbing images of things you may just take a fancy for. Bidding can be done online and shipment of one article is possible from this auction house.

Consult with the Dorotheum for any additional information.

Collectables and Antiques

Open Heart Human Model starting at 150E

Collectables and Antiques

A Navicula de Venetiis,  or ‘little ship of Venice’, is a very rare form of sundial. It was developed in Europe in the Middle Ages, though it is possible that its origins were Arabic. Starting bid 10,000E

Collectables and Antiques

1845 Celestial Globe by Franz Leopold Schöninger. Opening price 1500 €

Collectables and Antiques

A Paris turn of the century Stereoscope with images of Paris. The quality of the images on these is clear and fascinating giving the viewer a glimpse of the old past of French and Parisian life. Stereoscope and image viewer “Souvenir de Paris”. Opening price 300 €

Collectables and Antiques

A c. 1890 Jan Felkl & Son Tellurian. Opening price 1,500 €

Collectables and Antiques

An early mechanical dress form. C.1900 Opening bid 1000E

Collectables and Antiques

Economic Microscope by R. & J. Beck. Opening price 300 €

Collectables and Antiques

Three 19th century Apothecary travelling chests. Opening price 450 €

Collectables and Antiques

A mid 20th century distillation apparatus Model. Opening price 850 €

Collectables and Antiques

A Kelvin Hughes Star Globe. Opening price 400 €

 

Collectables and Antiques

A c. 1900 Ericsson Telephone. Opening price 600 €

Thanks for reading.

Mark LaFleur

 

 

 

 

Flying Water Taxi’s for Paris?

If this isn’t the coolest thing ever, I really don’t know what is. And of course it’s started in France. Paris actually.

This summer a fleet of George Jetson like water taxis will be unleashed to the public and will jet up and down the Seine.
What fun!

Think Uber but as a boat which hovers above the water– so basically, a flying boat taxi, right along the Paris Seine River..

French Antiques
Alain Thébault and Anders Bringdal, who together broke the record for speed on a flying sailboat that they designed back in 2009, created these futuristic electric-powered water taxis which go by the name of “Sea Bubbles”. Although, to me they kind of look like weird little bug robots…

French Antiques

Each shuttle will carry 5 people, including a pilot (until regulations change to allow self-driving models)
They will be used with an application similar to Uber and cost no more than €10 a ride
You’ll able to summon them to specially-designed docks which will also serve as charging stations
They will be zero emission and eco-friendly, built with biodegradable material
They’ll be silent and generate no waves
They will hover a few inches above water, travelling at a maximum speed of 30km imposed by the city (about the speed of going downhill on a bicycle).

French Antiques

Interior Shot

The bubbles have gained support from the controversial Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, who is passionate to ensure that the city cuts down on pollution and sets eco-efficient standards for the rest of the world.

The first tests for the Sea Bubbles are planned to commence June 14th on the Seine and rumour has it that if all goes well, they will be launched as a permanent form of transport next Spring.

French Antiques

Lets go to Paris and jet along the Seine. I can’t think of anything more I’d rather do.

Cheers,

Mark

La Samaritane Scheduled to Reopen

For years, one of the world’s most iconic and historic department stores sat empty along the banks of the Seine in Paris; an imposing ghostly shell of former retail splendour, a giant sleeping elephant in the room occupying prime real estate in the heart of the city.

When I heard that renovation works were finally set to begin again after numerous false starts and lengthy delays I was pleased. It was a beautiful building that deserved ressurection.

French Antique Furniture

The Art Nouveau Splendor Palace.

I remember shopping at the Samaritaine before it closed. It had grown old and dingy even then, but it did have everything and anything. I think I was looking for fabric or something. When I learned the icon of Parisian shopping was closing it confirmed the sad state of trying to run a business under the current bureaucratic nightmare of a government in France. I was pleased to learn it was reopening under the umbrella of the fashion giant LVMH, spearheaded by French billionaire Bernard Arnault. (He owns most of the fashion houses in Europe now, including Dior, Louis Vuitton, Celine and too many to list). At least Arnault knows how to operate under the system that’s bleeding the country dry and still make money.

French Antique Furniture

Mon. Arnault

The origins of La Samaritaine is another rags to riches story. The founder Ernest Cognacq, started out his career selling ties under a red umbrella on the Pont Neuf, until 1869, when he heard about a space for let in a petite room next to a café he frequented on the nearby Rue de la Monnaie. He took the offer, opened a small clothing boutique and recruited his wife as his first employee, who had been working as a saleswoman in the confectionary aisles at Le Bon Marché. I wonder if the couple knew then that the famous department store where she left her job would come to be their greatest competitor.

French Antique Furniture
By the dawn of the twentieth century, just thirty years on from Cognacq’s humble beginnings as a smalltime tradesman on the Seine, the couple had expanded their enterprise, giving birth to the large edifice seen today, the “Grands Magasins de La Samaritaine”.

French Antique Furniture
A clever and ambitious businessman, he steadily acquired neighbouring buildings around him and soon enough, entire city blocks were being reworked and reconstructed to make space for his growing empire.

French Antique Furniture
La Samaritaine was an art nouveau palace of retail, the ideally organised and managed department store, arranged as a collection of individually owned stores, each managed by “petits patrons” that operated in harmony but autonomously.

French Antique Furniture
Cognacq used revolutionary marketing techniques, attracting the crowds with “deal of the day” and started doing what might seem obvious to us today– price-labelling the items.

French Antique Furniture

La Samaritaine became Paris’ leading department store and was at its peak during the interwar period, when nearly 20,000 people were under its employ.

French Antique Furniture
It occupied four buildings between the river and the rue de Rivoli, living up to the famous slogan later coined for the department store; “On trouve tout à la Samaritaine” – One can find everything in La Samaritaine.”

French Antique Furniture
There was even a gymnasium and a nursery. That’s something you won’t find in the chic Vancouver ‘Nordstroms’!

French Antique Furniture
I will look forward to the opening of the new Samaratine. They promise to leave all the Art Nouveau splendor that went into building the original palace of luxury shopping. Maybe it will be that way again maybe it won’t. We’ll see now won’t we.

Cheers,

Mark

How Antiques Amp Up a Contemporary Space.

This week on the premier website 1 Dibs, an article was published “How Antiques Amp Up a Contemporary Space”. I’ve pulled the article and reposted on my website. The writer is Cara Greenberg and here is her article below. But I’ve been saying this for years now, and really any good interior designer or decorator already knows this.

How Antiques Amp Up a Contemporary Space.
By Cara Greenberg.

Antiques add drama — and ­more than a little gravitas — to contemporary interiors. Top talents reveal how they pull off the balancing act.

Call it the X factor: the unexpected juxtaposition of decorative elements that lifts a contemporary interior out of the ordinary and makes people sit up and take notice. Often, it’s the insertion of one or more well-chosen antiques, thoughtfully deployed against the clean lines of contemporary furnishings, that makes the whole setting pop. “Antiques are the element of surprise in a contemporary space,” says Los Angeles– and New York–based interior designer Alexandra Loew.

Alexandra Lowe

Alexandra Lowe

“Antiques are a great foil to chic-but-clinical newness,” is how James “Ford” Huniford, of Huniford Design Studio in New York’s Greenwich Village, puts it. “They can keep a contemporary interior from looking like a sterile showroom.”

James Huniford

James Huniford

It wasn’t until the last few decades of the 20th century that mixing styles and periods became acceptable, and then de rigueur. Prior to that, people lived with whatever was, for them, modern in its truest sense — “of the moment,” whether the moment was Louis XIV, Colonial or high Victorian. The early 20th century saw revivals of classical styles, the birth of the modernist movement and the swoops and amoeboid shapes of the immediate postwar years. By the 1960s, when the typical contemporary room was white and spare, with furnishings predicated on the right angle, some design mavericks began bringing in Tiffany lamps and bentwood rockers to leaven the mix.

Antique Accessories

This lovely Louis XVI Console is just at home in a contemporary setting as in a classic. Only this one was produced in France and has an enduring look and quality that will last for decades.

Today, with websites making global shopping possible, the whole of decorative-arts history is fair game for those seeking to create interesting interiors, which can incorporate every style and period from antiquity to the present day. But a delicate balancing act is required. Many top designers selectively use antiques in otherwise contemporary settings to add drama and enliven their schemes. Examples of this are located on our ‘inspiration’ page of our website.

Antique Accessories

Louis XVI chairs like these were sold by us to Interior Decorator Superstar Nate Berkus who used them in one of his design projects just this past year.

Antique Accessories

I love the use of the bureau bookcase and the 60’s maison bague style table in this modern bathroom.

Antique Accessories

This beautiful French Farm table makes this contemporary space look simple and elegant.

So you have it. Mix an antique for drama and style. But you and I already knew that-

Thanks for reading!

Mark LaFleur
226 SW Marine Drive,
Vancouver, B.C.
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We ship worldwide.

Club Michou, Paris.

Mention Chez Michou to any Parisian and they all know it. It’s been around since the swinging 60’s when it was hip and impossible to get into. The second night after we arrived my best friend Simon said “Great you’re here..we’re going to Chez Michou and you must come…I’ll get you some tickets” At 150E a ticket he was being most generous. (I did offer to pay but he refused.)

Now Chez Michou is really nothing more than a crowded, impossible to get into, female impersonator club. The show was amazing, the food, well, mediochre at best. But then again, it is a club, not a restaraunt.

 Antique French Furniture

Club Michou, Paris legend since the 1960’s. It was completely packed on the Monday night we went.

Club Michou requires months in advance for reservations. It’s been like that for decades. So to get in last minute was something I wouldn’t pass on. I turned to my Nephew and asked him if he packed a jacket for going out.

“No” he said.

“Well” I said “Lets go shopping.”

I bought him a new sports jacket (short cropped very tight at the waist that can only be worn by 22 year olds with 18″ waists) shirt, pants, shoes, and flew him down to a great salon I knew to get his hair ‘Parisianized’. I told him just sit back relax! They know what they’re doing. They trimmed his beard (thank God) and redid his hair.

He’s such a good kid he listened to his uncle Mark and within minutes he was ‘Voila un Parisian’. The cut was beautiful, he looked totally French and I was completely satisfied with my creation. I was a stylist years ago when I was very young. I worked on the lead actor of the dreadful movie that has now has a cult following “The Evil Dead”. My long time New York friend, Lauren was the publicist and she asked me if I’d style the lead actor. We now laugh at the ‘popularity’ of this movie and frankly are slightly embarrassed we had anything to do with it.

 Antique French Furniture
Anyway, by 8 we were at my friend Simons for champagne and appetizers and waiting for a private black van to take us to one of the most legendary clubs in Paris. The private black Mercedes arrived, packed us in, and up we went to the Montmartre district of Paris. We entered the club without waiting a second, (there was a line) and were greeted by charming albeit half drag queen, and shown to Michou’s table for a hello. We couldn’t help noticing that every celebrity’s photo from the 1960’s to now were covering the walls.

Michou immediately insisted we have a photo taken with him by his photographers. We found out later they were 20E a piece and it was nothing about being special.

 

 Antique French Furniture

MIchou with the fabulous Regine, famous for her hip nightclubs of the 80’s.

 Antique French Furniture

Our ‘family’ portrait with Jackson and I in the middle standing next to Julie, Stany, The bottom row is their daughter Ana Kim, Mother Aimee, Michou, Simon and Gabrielle.

 

 Antique French Furniture

These two were there that night.

Don’t even think of getting out of Michou until way past 1 am. Their impersonations of Grace Jones, and Celine Dion sent shivers from the realism of the production. Jackson and I didn’t get home until past 3 and we had to be out the door by 9 am. That my friends what being Parisian is all about. Party all night, and work (for part of the day anyway).

 

 Antique French Furniture

Amazing Celine Dion impersonation, if you like Celine that is. They all adore her in Paris.

The club is bright red inside and stays that way until you leave.

 Antique French Furniture

Chez Michou is cramped, small inside, and the food was not that great. But the floorshow was amazing. When Grace Jones came on I thought I was dreaming. (or having a nightmare)

In any event, I hope you enjoyed this blog. Chez Michou is a fun place but I don’t know that it’s for everyone. The performers spoke in nothing but French so much of it was lost as they spoke in slang and very quickly

In any event, I want to thank my friend Simon and Julie for inviting us. We had a truly Parisian Experience.

Thanks

 Antique French Furniture

See you next week!

An Art Deco Christmas Eve

It was around 3 o’clock on Christmas Eve when we pulled into Brussels. We’d been on the road for over 7 days touring the Christmas markets in France and Germany, and visiting Larry’s family. Our final leg of our trip was to spend Christmas Eve with our friends who’d recently moved to Brussels. When I say recently, I mean that same day!

Jeff and his family have been the subject of many of my blogs. I have to say he’s unequivocally my best friend in Europe and I was sad when I learned Jeff and his family were moving to Brussels. For economic reasons, they left Paris like so many other Parisians after Francois Hollande took control and imposed so many unreasonable taxes.

 

Jeff, Helene, Louis and Constantine on the staircase of their new home

Jeff, Helene, Louis and Constantine on the staircase of their new home

But I could see that his move to Brussels was going to be a happy one. His new house, was nothing short of breathtaking with it’s 5000 sq. ft. of Art Deco detail. From 14ft. ceilings to 4 ft wide crown moulding details, every turn delighted the eye. There’s a large backyard garden for the boys to play in. Their Parisian apartment, while large (100m or 1000 sq. ft) what a fraction of the size of this house and certainly didn’t have a full backyard.

 

Art Deco details were breathtaking. Look at the grillwork spaning the main salon from petite salon

Art Deco details were breathtaking. Look at the grillwork spaning the main salon from petite salon

The house has four floors, an immense garage for four cars, and a large backyard. In European standards this is privileged living.

 

Photo of me on the sofa in the main living room or salon.

Photo of me on the sofa in the main living room or salon.

The next photo gives you some idea of the scale of the height of the ceilings in this place.

 

Larry is over 6'2 to give you some idea of the height of the celings.

Larry is over 6’2 to give you some idea of the height of the celings.

Art Deco details were everywhere in this house. The house was originally built in the late 19th Century, with the Art Deco additions done in the early 20th Century. (there were influences of Art Nouveau in the Art Deco details). In the ‘Biz’ we’d call this transitional.

From the grill work to the light fixtures, everything was intact from it’s last restoration. Above the fireplace was a stained glass Art Nouveau/Deco scene of a mermaid in the ocean.

 

The fireplace was 19th Century and made from solid marble. The above stained glass was added later.

The fireplace was 19th Century and made from solid marble. The above stained glass was added later.

 

Note the intricated moulding on the ceiling.

Note the intricated moulding on the ceiling.

 

I wish I had brought a good camera to capture more of the beauty of this house. As it was an Iphone 5 had to suffice.

I wish I had brought a good camera to capture more of the beauty of this house. As it was an Iphone 5 had to suffice.

It was after 1 in the morning when we wrapped up our visit. Our friends were so excited about their new home, they didn’t want us to go.

 

Fabulous Wall Sconce measuring over 16" Tall.

Fabulous Wall Sconce measuring over 16″ Tall.

I spotted a fabulous ceiling fixture that was at least 4 ft. long in the main entrance of the house. I would have given anything to find something like this to bring back to Canada.

celing fixture

More Art Deco detail in the entrance of the house.

More Art Deco detail in the entrance of the house.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of this magnificent house. We have an open invitation to stay with them anytime we’re in Brussels. This is one invite I intend to take them up on!

Happy Holidays.

Mark LaFleur
The Antique Warehouse
226 SW Marine Drive,
Vancouver, BC

http://www.antiquewarehouse.ca

An Extraordinary Encounter in France

Hello from France!

Just this past week, Larry and I had the great pleasure of meeting a very important lady in the world of early 20th Century furniture designers.

This extraordinary lady’s name is ‘Francoise Siriex’. Mdm. Siriex was the director of the ‘Maison Leleu’ from 1950 until it’s close in 1973.

What was Maison Leleu? It was the atelier of reknowned modernist designer ‘Jules Leleu’ (1883 – 1961).

In case you’ve never heard of Jules Leleu let me fill you in. He was one of the greatest art deco and modernist furniture designers of all time whose beautiful furniture commands several thousands of dollars to this day.

A very close Parisian friend of ours knew how much we loved Leleu and just happened to mention in fact she knew the former directrice. Brigitte, our friend, kindly telephoned Mdm. Siriex and asked if we could meet her. Much to our delight Mdm Siriex agreed.

Larry Adams and Mdm. Siriex at the exhibit of modernist designers at the Espace Landowski

Larry Adams and Mdm. Siriex at the exhibit of modernist designers at the Espace Landowski just outside of Paris.

It was a rainy blustery afternoon that day, in fact, I thought I might spare the lady our meeting by organizing a more ‘weather friendly’ day. When I telephoned her she remarked that a little rain was not a problem and she’d meet us at our arranged time and place.

Madame Siriex well into her later years, met us at the Espace Landowski, a gallery in Boulogne Billancourt and proceeded to tour us around the exhibit that featured Leleu’s work and other super star designers of the time.

We were later invited back to her apartment and chatted with this dynamic woman for over three hours about her past and her work at the Maison Leleu. We learned this incredible lady had recently published a book on the Maison Leleu in 2008.

The House of Leleu by Francoise Siriex Book Cover

The House of Leleu by Francoise Siriex available on Amazon.com.

She spent years assembling this magnificent book, which is available through amazon.com for anyone who’s interested. Be aware however, this book will set you back over $300. If you saw the book you’d know why. It’s one of those fabulous over sized ‘coffee table’ books that’s large, impressive and beautifully put together with loads of information on this incredible designer. In fact, this dynamic lady still flies back and forth to New York doing book signings and guest appearances.

At one point during our visit I remarked if she had any of the original designs from the famed designer. The gracious Mdm Siriex brought out a file of hundreds of original designs that she’d kept for decades. As I carefully leafed through the amazing collection she asked me if I’d like one. Thrilled, of course I said yes. She remarked she couldn’t leave Larry out for fear of rivalry between us so a grateful Larry picked out a wonderful sketch done for a bathroom designed in 1930.

An original pen and ink sketch by Leleu C.1940

The original pen and ink sketch that I chose by Leleu C.1940.

Brief history of Jules Leleu

French superstar designer 'Jules Leleu' C.1940

French superstar designer ‘Jules Leleu’ C.1940.

Jules Leleu was born in Boulogne sur Mer (North of Paris near Calais ) in 1883. Raised in an artisitc family, the young Leleu studied applied arts and in 1918 went into furniture design. He moved to Paris in 1924 where he lived with another famous designer Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann.

The House of Leleu prospered and later became a family business. By the late 1930s, Leleu’s sons, André and Jean, and his daughter, Paule, were active partners. The famous atelier had an elite clientele including the Prince of Monaco, The Emperor of Japan, and President Eisenhower.

Commode by Jules Leleu C.1930

Commode by Jules Leleu C.1930

The furniture of Leleu is often compared to that of Jacques Ruhlmann. Each liked simplified shapes, the use of exotic woods, marquetry and inlay of ivory.

Leleu outlived Ruhlmann, and his style evolved. He grew adventurous, adopting new materials like artificial lacquer, fiberglass, plastic and aluminum and continued his prolific career designing.

Along with the interiors of industrialists’ houses, Leleu designed sleek salons for ocean liners like the Ile-de-France and the Normandie, corporate offices and interiors for public institutions (the League of Nations in Geneva), and the Elysee Palace in Paris.

SS Ile de France cost over $10,000,000 to build

SS Ile de France cost over $10,000,000 to build.

1st class suite in the SS Ile de France

1st class suite in the SS Ile de France.

Lean Horne and Rita Hayworth

Lean Horne and Rita Hayworth were among frequent voyagers on this luxurious liner.

The Main Foyer of the SS Ile de France

The Main Foyer

Leleu died in 1961, leaving a legacy of elegant, refined and often surprisingly original work, and his pieces are highly sought after today. His family and loyal staff (Mdm Siriex included) continued his work until 1973 when the Maison Leleu finally closed it’s doors.

Beautiful sideboard 'attributed' to Jules Leleu

This beautiful sideboard is only ‘attributed’ to Jules Leleu and sells for $28000.

The Antique Warehouse and ‘Leleu’

A curious remark was made during our visit with Mdm. Siriex. She stated that “Pas tous de Jules Leleu meubles a été signé” which in English means “not all of Leleu’s pieces were signed.” We’ve had signed ‘Leleu’ pieces sold through the store before, but we’re sure we’ve had some that were unsigned. In any event we’ll pay careful attention to the detail and craftsmanship that is unmistakable ‘Leleu’ in the future. Have a look at this French art deco cabinet that’s unsigned and currently in the store.

We have several ‘modernist’ pieces arriving to the store over the next several months. If you’re a lover of this style, please keep tabs on our ‘new container‘ announcements. ( One expected in about two weeks )
You can sign up for our newsletter and product updates if you’ve not already done so. We’ve not picked up any signed pieces of Leleu, but you never know… That’s what makes our business so exciting!

A bientot, from Paris France.

Cheers,
Mark

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