Monday, November 24, 2014

Quality is in the details: Bunny Mellon

Now that the sale of the century (thus far) has ended, Mrs. Paul Mellon at Sothebys, we can all sit back from the hysteria and try to learn from this extraordinary taste-maker.  I read from both camps, that the items were just 'ordinary' and/or worn and then also that they were of the highest quality and perfection.  For what it's worth, I heartily agree with those who found the sale overwhelmingly good.
While I never got further than my auction catalogs, friends of mine attended the sale (and texted me these pictures) and attested that though the furniture was indeed not top notch condition (of course not, it is essentially used/2nd hand furniture!) there was no question to the quality of the items; in particular the details which is where this kind of simple perfection excels.
Even the simplest upholstered pieces featured astounding couture details; from ruffled trims to coordinated buttons.  Even the boxed upholstery of the (blurry) French chairs below had squared cushions to match their frames.
Thanks to Josh for sending me these images from the sale.  Now that the auction has ended the discussions will mostly be of the (boring to me)monetary values placed on the items. These high  prices achieved attest to the level of taste acquired by an aesthete in her 103 years and may we all now try to learn a bit from her years of wisdom.


Chronica Domus said...

How right you are. Quality is indeed in the details. I've always believed this and the "less is more" philosophy. I love the striped bench upholstery - so sweet!

I've no idea what the hammer price on these items fetched but I would guess that with such a high-profile sale, things got a little nuts.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

CD - many items went for 10x the high estimate!

Chronica Domus said...

10x... wow, now that is sheer madness!

Karena Albert said...

Stefan, I had the definite sense that Mrs. Mellon loved everything she acquired during her lifetime, from the finest art down to the simplest of baskets. You are right that the details make all the difference and I believe showed how refined her taste was.

Happy Thanksgiving!
The Arts by Karena

Mark Ruffner said...

Of course Bunny Mellon had no need to impress anyone. I think what everyone has appreciated about her taste, from luxe to the very ordinary, is that she practiced the words, "To thine own self be true."

Toby Worthington said...

'Used, worn, or second hand.."

Well, that WOULD be the definition of a chair made in 1780, I think! Or were people referring to the condition of the upholstery, which in some instances was lovingly patched or mended?

In any case, how nice to see those details on the grey painted bergere.

Loi Thai, Tone on Tone said...

What a collection of painted furniture!!!

Anonymous said...

no; I meant little bows are on the bench! The ruffle piping is on the side of the top chair!

Anonymous said...

I think the upholsterer who does these trademark details is de Angelis in New York!!