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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Kykuit- Hudson valley on the horizon!

I finally got an answer on why I am getting people on my list that say they were never on my website! Apparently there are spambots hacking into the mailchimp and I can set up a captcha when people sign up.  I have not figured that out yet but plan on it.  If you got here from a spambot, I apologize but stick around if you love vintage goodies!  😉💕 

I am still working my way through my estate sale loot and most recently added some nice 70s-80s era point and shoot cameras.  They are all untested but I have no reason to believe they won’t work if you choose.  They make great props and displays.  I will be busy this weekend so don’t expect much there but I did get the dressers up on Etsy and chairish, minus one I need to retake photos for because the photo nazi’s don’t like my pics.  If you want to make your own set with these, I would gladly discount for multiples. Also, local cash deals get my bests price. 

4 drawer chest in gorgeous walnut veneer. 

4 drawer chest in gorgeous walnut veneer. 

Walnut night stand with plastic laminate top, single drawer and open shelf. 

Walnut night stand with plastic laminate top, single drawer and open shelf. 

They want me to hang the mirror. The mirror can actually be used separately or attached to the unit.  There are hooks for wall hanging. 

They want me to hang the mirror. The mirror can actually be used separately or attached to the unit.  There are hooks for wall hanging. 

I also have a few danish pieces coming soon. Stay tuned to my social media! 

My trip to Kykuit is scheduled and I will be touring the estate with one of the public tours followed by a meeting with the assistant curator.  I cannot wait to share my research and materials on Marie Cuttoli and  the Fernand Leger rug in their collection, which happens to be in my inventory as well.  It is such a special piece and historic in more than one way.  To be in the room with a second is a dream.  I cannot wait to report back on my adventure and I have some work to do before I go.  I will be presenting my research and would like to get my notes in a logical format on paper to pass on.  This is what it is all about. Preserving these awesome artifacts and their stories!  More to come! 

XO Malissa

Adventures to come!

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I have been keeping this secret since I have had other things to talk about but this week’s update will fill you in!  In my business life, many things happen that just seem to materialize and I just cannot explain why I was so lucky to be at the right place at the right time with the right instincts for everything to happen.  Finding the awesome Fernand Leger rug was one of those moments.  Although I am blessed to have it in my possession, I knew early on that it came with some issues I had to tend to like the cleaning (a $250 investment) and then there is the restoration work to replace the knots that were chewed by some hungry moths which is quoted but out of my budget without a buyer in the wings. I have spent a lot of time researching it and have purchased materials useful in my quest.  You see, the woman who is responsible for this awesome piece was responsible for bringing back the tapestry arts in the 1920’s in addition to being a patron of the fabulous artists she honored.  Her Paris fashion house, Maison Myrbor, also turned out haute couture clothing which is found in museums around the globe.  The tapestry arts were never a booming industry but she exhibited over the years and info can be found.  

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Back to how I fit in here.  I was contacted by a woman who works for a prominent estate, now museum of the family’s collection and he has my rug in her collection along with another in the series.  They have no info on them and are hoping I will share my research  with them. Of course!  I will be taking time to write my notes out for her and will be visiting the estate when they open for the season this spring to meet with her.  I cannot wait and will be sharing my experience with you all when I get back. I have one local stone to unturn on this research as the traveling exhibit where the rugs in my series where sold in the 60s came to Allentown so the museum is on my list to contact to see if they have info or perhaps staff or volunteers I can reach out to.  This whole adventure will help me build provenance with the rug as well as myself.  Overall a fun adventure!  Such a special piece of art and textiles with only 20 or less ever made.  A super rare collectible!  

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On another note I am running a sale on most furnishings in honor of my birthday month just in the Etsy shop.  If you are looking to add something to your home, reach out now to secure the price.  Many items leave me with little profit at that price but I need to move some big items so trying to entice the people with them in their carts to commit.  Subject to end at my whim.  I also have a set on hold that will be delivered next month to New Hampshire.  Reach out if you see something and are near or could meet me during that trip.  If it fits with the set I would meet for a fee way less than the cost of shipping. 

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Don’t forget I have an album of new gift appropriate items pinned to the top of my Facebook.com/madformodmalissa page where you can claim items, fill a box and I will pack and ship to you.  These are all priced at wholesale! With spring holidays on the way, take a look and claim some goodies!  I will need your email and will send you a PayPal invoice. If you are local to me I can get your items delivered.

Thanks for following! Lots more fun to come soon!  

Xo Malissa