Jean Marc Fray, French Antiques & Decorative Arts

Le Blog

News, views, reflections and musings about French Antiques, Art, Architecture, Culture, France, Italy, Austin (Texas) and a passion for good living.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Spectacular Summer Sale!

We are in the last days of a spectacular summer sale! An incredible variety of gorgeous pieces are still available and up to 75% off. The sale will go through Friday, so now is the time to find that perfect piece.

Click here to enter the sale and treat yourself to something beautiful to celebrate summer!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Free Shipping to the Trade

Now through August, we are offering free shipping to the trade, to Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. Please contact us to take advantage of this great offer! 512-457-0077

*Free shipping does not include sale items, unless combined with non-sale items.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

"Moi, Auguste"

An ambitious exhibition entitled "Moi, Auguste, Empereur de Rome" ("I, Augustus, Emperor of Rome") opened last month at the Grand Palais in Paris. Organized by the RMN-GP and the Louvre, this exhibit honors the bi-millennium(!) of his death on August 19th in the year AD 14. He was 75 years old and had reigned 45 years.


The pieces showcased here tell the story of Rome's transition from Republic to Empire under the leadership of Augustus. According to the Grand Palais, "A selection of statues, sculpted reliefs, frescoes, pieces of furniture and silverware, along with a reconstruction of a villa from the slopes of Vesuvius and tombs uncovered in Gaul reveal the changes in the social environment of the Romans."

Following the death of Caesar and the subsequent civil wars, Augustus instigated policies that brought about a time of relative peace and prosperity throughout the large empire -- from the city of Rome in the heart of the Italian peninsula to the provinces at the empire's borders -- which came to be known as the Pax Romana and lasted beyond his death. Augustus also physically increased the holdings of the empire, gaining new provinces. The Age of Augustus was a golden age of architecture, art, and literature -- overseeing, for example, the construction of the Pantheon and the writing of Virgil's Aeneid. (For more information on Augustus' reign, click here.)

The consolidation of so many incredible works into one exhibit should offer a thrilling, powerful experience. If you are in Paris in the near future (the exhibit closes July 13th), this is a must see!

A detail from the famous "cuirass" (breastplate) on the statue in the title image.

3, avenue du Général Eisenhower
75008 Paris
Serveur vocal : 00 33 (0)1 44 13 17 17

To commemorate the two thousandth anniversary of the death of the Emperor Augustus, the Grand Palais brings to life his greatest achievements and the artistic ferment of his reign. - See more at:
To commemorate the two thousandth anniversary of the death of the Emperor Augustus, the Grand Palais brings to life his greatest achievements and the artistic ferment of his reign. - See more at:

Monday, April 7, 2014

New Shipment Just In!

Our latest shipment of French antiques, vintage European furniture and vintage Murano lighting has just arrived! Keep your eye out for our New Arrivals notices to see what treasures we found!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Farrah Fawcett Original

Here at Jean-Marc Fray Antiques, we currently have the privilege of showcasing a work of art by Farrah Fawcett, a piece not displayed in public for over 40 years. The work is mixed media on paper and depicts a mother and child, likely the Madonna and Christ Child, in a traditional pose: the mother holds the child against her chest and looks out at the audience. In this work, the mother's gaze is contemplative, yet almost forceful, immediately capturing our attention. The child, the lines defining his face more blurred, gazes up at his mother, allowing her to be the dominating figure in the work. Farrah signed the bottom right corner with her first name (characteristic of her work in the 1970's) and the date: '71. 

Originally from Corpus Christi, Farrah Fawcett was a student at the University of Texas at Austin in the late 1960s. She held a job at the Country Store Gallery on Lavaca Street, just a stone's throw from UT's campus, where she framed and sold art for the proprietor Raymond Brown. This painting was purchased from the gallery by a local Austin art collector in the late 1980s. (She likely framed the piece herself.)

Farrah also modeled for and worked with the famous Texas sculptor Charles Umlauf during her undergraduate years, a relationship which continued after she moved to Los Angeles. 

Charles Umlauf working alongside Farah Fawcett in his studio.

The Blanton Museum of Art describes Umlauf's famous portrait bust of the actress as "a more reflective and melancholy side of the young woman" (Blanton Museum) as compared to the more well-known images of the actress with her trademark smile.

Charles Umlauf, Portrait of Farrah Fawcett. n.d., Blanton Museum of Art.

Farrah, of course, was more than just a model for Umlauf. She was also his student, and he obviously had a considerable impact on her own artistic style. In an undated charcoal drawing by Umlauf depicting a Madonna and Child, currently in the Russell Collection (inv #CUE-31), one can see the same loose but precise strokes that Farrah employed in her work. Her Madonna's features are also strikingly similar, with the small mouth, elongated nose and neck, and sharply defined eyebrows. The large hands in Farrah's painting mimic many of Umlauf's works.

Quite a few of Umlauf's drawing and sculptures depict a mother and child as the subject, perhaps influencing Farrah to create her own interpretation of this scene.

Charles Umlauf, full size casting of scale model from 1964. 1972, Umlauf Sculpture Garden.

A very special work -- please find the listing for Farrah's painting on our website here.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

1925: When Art Deco Captivated the World

One week remains to see a fabulous exhibition at the Cite de l'architecture et patrimoine museum in Paris: 1925 Quand L'Art Deco Seduit le Monde.

Housed in the Palais de Chaillot, itself an Art Deco masterpiece, the exhibition focuses on the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts of 1925 and its impact across the world. It is the first French retrospective dedicated to Art Deco since 1975.

Organized thematically, the exhibit seeks to tell the story of how the Art Deco style succeeded so well and with such an impact on the aesthetics of the world: in architecture, painting, sculpture, furniture, fashion, and decorative art.

Just a few of the artists and architects showcased include the sculptor Francois Pompon, fashion designer Paul Poiret, interior designer Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, architect Henri Sauvage, and many more.

Francois Pompon, Ours blanc, 1923-1933, Musee D'Orsay
Paul Poiret fashion illustration, 1925

Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, Boudoir from the Hotel d'un Collectionneur, 1925

Henri Sauvage, ‘Primavera’ pavilion of the Magasins du Printemps, 1925 Exposition

If you are in Paris sometime between now and February 17th, this is a must-see!

« 1925, quand l'Art Déco séduit le monde »
Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine
Palais Chaillot
1, place du Trocadéro et du 11 novembre
Paris XVIe

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Cartier: Style & History

All the glitz and glamor of Cartier is now on display at the Grand Palais in Paris. The exhibition will continue until February 16th, focusing not just on the beauty and power of the pieces of jewelry created by this famous company, but on the company's history since its foundation in 1847 and the impact its pieces have had on the world of decorative arts. 

"Perhaps because it has been eclipsed by its famous name and the sparkle of its diamonds, too little is known even now about the rich and complex history of this great house of jewellery. Yet Cartier has played a key role in the history of the decorative arts. Its creations - from the classicism of the 'jeweller to kings' to the radical inventions of style moderne - offer a fascinating testament to the evolution of taste and social codes" (Grand Palais). 

Cartier, 19th century

Cartier, Egyptian Art Deco brooch, 1920s

Cartier, The Royal "Halo" Tiara, 1936

"The exhibition features more than 600 extraordinary pieces, presented side-by-side for the first time. Most of the pieces belong to the Cartier Collection, or have been loaned by private parties, institutions and museum collections from France and around the world. Together, these pieces are a testament to the rich and intricate history of the Jeweler to Kings and the King of Jewelers" (Cartier).

Cartier 1956

Calibre de Cartier Cronograph, 2013

You can read more about the fascinating history of Cartier on their website

If you are in Paris before February 16th, be sure to drop by the Grand Palais to inundate yourself in beauty and brilliance!
Perhaps because it has been eclipsed by its famous name and the sparkle of its diamonds, too little is known even now about the rich and complex history of this great house of jewellery. Yet Cartier has played a key role in the history of the decorative arts. Its creations - from the classicism of the "jeweller to kings" to the radical inventions of style moderne - offer a fascinating testament to the evolution of taste and social codes.  - See more at:

Rmn - Grand Palais
254/256 rue de Bercy
75577 Paris CEDEX 12
Informations :
Tel. : +33 (0)1 44 13 17 17

Monday, December 30, 2013

300 Years of Dance in Paris

As we close out the year 2013, we look back and celebrate the 300 year anniversary of the French school of dance, founded in 1713.

The oldest academy of dance in the western world, the French school focuses on "the primacy of harmony, the coordination of movements, the accuracy of positions, and the disdain of prowess" ( Today, 95% of the graduates from this school form the Opera Ballet, which shares the gorgeous, monumental Palais Garnier with the Paris Opera.

Louis XIV, the French king famous for his lavish palace at Versailles, founded the French school of dance in 1713. He was an avid supporter of ballet. In fact, his familiar epithet, the "Sun King," derives from his own experience as a dancer. As a youth, he performed the part of Apollo, the god of the sun, in Le Ballet de la Nuit wearing a glorious golden costume. He danced often and gained great acclaim as a performer.

Henri Gissey, Louis XIV dans Le Ballet de la Nuit, 17th century. Graphics, Pen, wash and gouache.
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.
The next event on the Opera Ballet's calendar is a staging of Tchaikovsky's "Sleeping Beauty" (« La belle au bois dormant »). First performed in Saint Petersburg in 1890, the ballet was inspired by French author Charles Perrault's fairy tale of the same name. Tchaikovsky and the choreographer Marius Petipa "imagined a 'fairy-tale ballet' in which dream and reality overlap and where fairies and godmothers, and the forces of Good and Evil fight over the fate of two young people" (Paris Opera Ballet).

"It was not until 1989 that Rudolf Nureyev restaged the work based on the original choreography for the Paris Opera Ballet. Readopting the original order and structure of the piece, passed on by generations of dancers, he devised a choreography of dazzling academic virtuosity, alternating between lavish ensembles and pas de deux. The sumptuous sets and costumes by Ezio Frigerio and Franca Squarciapino recreate the splendour of one of the most outstandingly accomplished masterpieces in the classical repertoire" (Paris Opera Ballet).

« La belle au bois dormant »
Opéra Bastille
Place de la Bastille 75012 Paris
Métro : Bastille lignes 1, 5 et 8, RER Gare de Lyon
Bus : 20, 29, 65, 69, 76, 86, 87, 91
Parking : Opéra Bastille, 34 rue de Lyon