Another research day in the books.

Last week I got to spend a few hours in Philadelphia after picking up some new inventory which a past client sold me as he gets ready to move out of the country.  I decided to keep the dining table so will be offering up my Heywood Wakefield triple wishbone table and dog bone chairs shortly.  If you are seeking, I can sell this set in need of a little refinishing (6 chairs our of 7).    I am thrilled with the round Herman Miller Architect's table and it really fits my room alot better.  For as much as I loved the Heywood set, it really is a large piece even with no leaves inserted!  That said, reach out if it interests you!

The beautiful building of the Philly Athenaeum. The library is on the 2nd floor.

The beautiful building of the Philly Athenaeum. The library is on the 2nd floor.

The finale of the trip was a Harvey Probber catalog on reserve at the Philadelphia Athenaem.  This museum is an architect's museum.  So you can expect blue prints, buildings and other items of interest.  Harvey Probber furniture is actually more transitional than MCM.  More like Dunbar and Edward Wormley designs.  These designers played on traditional designs so you will see modern elements-curves and angles in tandem with tradition materials like cane and lots of brass bling.  Check first dibs and you will see a Probber piece will set you back quite a bit.  So now you know why I spend so much time on authentification.  If it truly is a Probber, it is a rarer piece.  None of my comps have labels and neither does mine.  Rule #1 of MCM.....never trust it because you SAW it on the internet.  PROOF PROOF PROOF.  If you are spending your money on something of provenance and the dealer does not provide you with adequate proof of this, or at least a well thought out reason to why they believe it is legit....keep walking.  Unless you really love the piece and do not care if it's legit, of course.  

My suspected Probber piece.  The brass rod is a common thread with other Probber pieces.  I have seen magazine racks like this that do not have the table top.  None of my comps are labeled.  

My suspected Probber piece.  The brass rod is a common thread with other Probber pieces.  I have seen magazine racks like this that do not have the table top.  None of my comps are labeled.  

The librarian was waiting with my materials when I arrived for the scheduled appointment.  The folio contained just a small catalog.  I was able to take pics (as is common with museums and collections.....they want to protect their collections and do not want bad photos published.  Makes sense.  Copy right protection is real.  SO I cannot share any pics with you of the catalog but she is safe there in Philadelphia waiting for you to sign her out for the hour.  It may have had about 50 pages, in black and white with some nice photography.  The really cool X or scissors chairs that have a brass rod similar to my table were in there as were some other things I recognized from around the web.  The note on the chairs said '...The new "Probber" chair is distinguished by its elegance of line, achieved through the application of new electronic laminating techniques used in its manufacture.'  Probber was young....like 15 when he started pitching furniture designs to companies.  He really was a go getter.  His line of modular couches were one of the first in the realm.  He had his own furniture company for many years, selling through designers and did a lot of custom work.  Classy is the best way I can describe his designs.  Innovative as well.  So my table or similar magazine rack was not in the booklet.  I was told about 2 places in Delaware where I can expand my search.  I plan on investigating the holdings at Wintethur and Hayley.

BACK TO THE CUTTOLI LEGER RUG..... 

I also received a few documents from my friend at Kykuit.  These were published by scholars and I could not find a free copy to view but she managed to get me a copy and I am ever so thankful.  The one I really thought would be a great read, in fact, was!  Published by Virginia Gardner Troy, 'Easel Tapestries: The American Reception of the Marie Cuttoli Tapestries 1930s-1950s' hit the mark.  Ms Troy really delves into the history of Cuttoli and her creations and then the element of reproduction of an artists work.  She works through the timeline from the original tapestry series of the 1930s through the exhibition and reception of the works into the 1960s editions.  I found what I was looking for when she touched on this specifically with the following regarding Nelson Rockefeller: “10 years later (1962) he purchased Matisse’s ‘Papeete’ and 2 Leger carpets from Cuttoli via her partnership with Galarie Lucie Weill in Paris.  Both tapestries were deaccessioned by the 1970s.”  The literal meaning of deaccessioned is when a listed item is removed from a collection most likely to sell to raise funds.  We know those rugs were not sold as they still reside at Kykuit and are once again on display to the public.  Amazing how much information gets lost in a relatively short period of time!  Troy cites documents from the Rockefeller archives which means the information exists but to reasonably piece this story together takes numerous sources of varying origins.  It is quite fascinating to discover this and now I have proof of what I figured out some time ago.  This chapter can now be closed and I can say without a doubt what I have.  As to which socialite and art collector owned mine.....I guess I may never figure that out. 🤷‍♂️

New acquisitions.

i have been adding some really neat items to my inventory.  Here is a quick overview.  

 

Contemporary Italian chrome bar cart. 

Contemporary Italian chrome bar cart. 

Amazing Morris of Glasgow (yes, Scotland) mixed teak and mahogany veneer credenza.  Designed by Neil Morris.  Features angled shelves and felt lined top drawer.

Amazing Morris of Glasgow (yes, Scotland) mixed teak and mahogany veneer credenza.  Designed by Neil Morris.  Features angled shelves and felt lined top drawer.

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Unmarked teak danish style hutch.  Features glass doors (not pictured), 2 drawers and bottom cabinet.  Compact size to display your collections.  

Unmarked teak danish style hutch.  Features glass doors (not pictured), 2 drawers and bottom cabinet.  Compact size to display your collections.  

Currently working on rebuilding this bench and I have a buyer who is customizing it with me. New strapping installed!

Currently working on rebuilding this bench and I have a buyer who is customizing it with me. New strapping installed!

More coming!  I just sold the first danish style lounge and have another that I will be restrapping and making cushions for.  Keep your eyes peeled to my Instagram or Facebook so you don’t miss anything!

Have a great week!  XO MALISSA

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The best things in life are shared. My trip to Kykuit.

One of a very limited edition, there were less than 20 made. This Fernand Leger design, known as ‘Blanc’ was most likely made and sold during the 1960s American tour of Marie Cuttoli’s textile exhibit and in collaboration with Galerie Lucie Weill. *photo credit J Federici

One of a very limited edition, there were less than 20 made. This Fernand Leger design, known as ‘Blanc’ was most likely made and sold during the 1960s American tour of Marie Cuttoli’s textile exhibit and in collaboration with Galerie Lucie Weill. *photo credit J Federici

It was just about a year ago when I won a gorgeous piece of history and started researching it.  I learned a lot about wool, moths and fine rugs.  The piece was multifaceted with history and part of a very limited edition of hand knotted rugs. The artist whose work was featured, Fernand Leger, was commissioned to create the maquette or cartoon used in the design. The woman who orchestrated this project has just as fascinating history.  Marie Cuttoli, originally the wife of a French Senator, had a vision of reviving the tapestry arts in the 1920’s.  She spent time in her Algerian mansion and appreciated the artisans there.  She worked with a group of women who learned to weave and create works of art from the cartoons.  

These pieces generally took 8 months to weave and thus most seem to have been ordered and shipped from Paris. I was able to find our a little about a few of the owners of these pieces scouring auction comps from Christie’s, Sotheby’s and other high end auction houses.  Some notable former owners include Vera G List, socialite, philanthropist and notable art collector.  I read a transcript from an interview with her in 1973 available from the Archives of American Art which explored her thoughts on collecting and her involvement in the organizations she supported.  Another collector/owner was Robert and Andriene (Andrea) Bollt.  Andrea was also known as an avid modern art collector and philanthropist.  

It was at some point after I listed my piece in my online markets that I was contacted by a curatorial assistant with Kykuit, the Rockefeller family estate.  They held a few pieces from the Cuttoli series in their collection and wanted to find out more about them.  I agreed to share my research, sources and comps with them and planned on making the drive to Tarrytown, NY to tour the estate. 

Enjoying the Grand Tour at Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate in Tarrytown, New York.  *photo credit J Federici

Enjoying the Grand Tour at Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate in Tarrytown, New York.  *photo credit J Federici

I grabbed a friend and scheduled my appointment and Grand tour, as advised by the Curator.  She mentioned that only the 2 longer tours take you into the basement art galleries where the rugs are on display.  Also note that there are many beautiful Calder tapestries on display and any modern art fan would not want to miss this!  

The estate was absolutely amazing! From the gorgeous gardens to the amazing home and antiques, the tour guide was great and really gave us a lot of history on the family and how life was in that compound.  Heavily Asian influenced, the decor was elegant and scattered with Nelson’s modern tastes. It all worked well together.  

After the final stop on the tour at the coach house (filled with buggies that would make my Mennonite friends jealous!), I sat and chatted with the curator and showed her my catalogs and references, presented her with a written summary of comps and info and discussed theories on the origins of the pieces held in our collections. She was lovely and it was so refreshing to discuss this with a like minded individual.  Having to piece together the series of circumstances with these items really makes me appreciate the organizations that preserve this history.  I have used many of them and give back to support them when I can.  

Today I am traveling to Philadelphia to visit the Athenaeum to peruse a Harvey Probber catalog to see if I can authenticate a table I have that is attributed to him.  Another day, another fun expedition.  I will report on that next week.  In the mean time, I will leave you with a few of my shots in the gardens at Kykuit.  Have a great week!  

XO Malissa

 

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Beautiful views of the Hudson River from this perch!  

Beautiful views of the Hudson River from this perch!  

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