Jean Marc Fray, French Antiques & Decorative Arts
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Le Blog

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

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Niki de Saint Phalle Paris Retrospective

Niki de Saint Phalle, painter, sculptor, and filmmaker

From model to social activist, painter and sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle was an icon and most notable female artist of the 1960s when she came blasting onto the avant-garde art scene with her "Shootings" series -- literally shooting paintings with color. She soon became renowned for her sculpture as well, most notably here "Nanas" (French slang for women), brightly colored female forms in resin and plaster.

Niki de Saint Phalle Brunnen

A major retrospective of her work is on exhibit at the Grand Palais in Paris. The show runs through February 2, 2015. If you're in the capital city, make sure to stop by to view beautiful and powerful works from her four-decade-long career!

Niki de Saint Phalle: Miles Davis, Hotel Negresco, Nice

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Biennale des Antiquaires


The 27th Biennale des Antiquaires just opened yesterday at the Grand Palais, Paris. If you happen to be in Paris, you won't want to miss this extraordinary event!

Founded in 1962 by the Syndicat National des Antiquaires, this biannual event was dreamed up, “to create an event where the beauty of the objects displayed would rival that of the women who would visit the exhibition.” 

Decorators, designers, collectors and celebrities from all over the world come to this Parisian event to peruse a plethora of museum quality fine art, antiques, jewelry and collectibles, exhibited by close to 100 world renowned dealers in exquisitely designed "salons" or stands.

Running now through September 21st, here is a sample of some of the treasures you will find there this year:


Commode in Boule marquetry, Galerie François Leage.

"Bureau de Dame" in cherrywood and pear wood with chair by Dominique, Galerie Michel Giraud.

"Femme Au Turban" by Renoir, Galerie Tamenaga.

Polished Kekwood buffet with sliding doors, Galerie Marcilhac.
Cartier Luxuriant bracelet, Cartier Salon.
PHOTO: Julien Claessens & Thomas Deschamps.

27th Biennale des Antiquaires
Sept. 11 - 21, 2014
Grand Palais
3, avenue du Général-Eisenhower
75008 Paris, France
www.sna-france.com

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Places We Love: Villa d'Arte


We discovered the most wonderful place this summer during our travels to France and Italy: The Villa d’Arte in Mortola, Italy, just across the French-Italian border near Menton.

Nestled into a hillside village in Mortola Superiore, reminiscent of the village scenes in the film “Mama Mia!”, Villa d’Arte is an outdoor art studio and BandB run by the lovely and beautiful owner-artist Nicole Durand. It is a place of tranquility and inspiration where you can learn to carve stone, paint, make mosaics, model clay, draw or just take in the incredible view of the Mediterranean Sea that awaits you there.

Walking up to the studio.


Juliette, Jean-Marc and Nicole at work.
Nicole and Jean-Marc.

The outdoor studio sits on the highest point on the property, where artists work under fig trees, olive trees and a covered area for the stone carvers - the view is stunning! The surrounding bougainvilleas, lemon trees and lush Mediterranean flora tower proudly above the Mediterranean Sea - the perfect backdrop for creativity. The sound of cicadas, seagulls and nearby church bells make for an incredibly peaceful setting indeed.





Lunches are potluck style, served under an oversized umbrella, a place that seems to attract a permanent, delectable summer breeze. Morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea are all shared here throughout the day. 

Hungry artists!


Maura and Paul taking a much needed break after a morning of stone carving. 

You can schedule your lessons as you like – some stay for a day, some have pieces they work on year round and they come when they can. Some people come for a week or 2 or 3… Nicole offers lessons year round, workshops in July and September, but takes a break in August when she focuses on the BandB and the visitors it harbors from all over the world. She also organizes annual stone carving workshops in Greece that sound amazing!

The lucky artistes that stay and work for a week or more are enchanted – not just by the idyllic locale and excellent instruction they get from Nicole, but also by the excursions she takes them on to complement the art lessons and provide further inspiration. Nearby villages offer beautiful landscapes to draw or paint, world renowned exhibits in Monaco - just a short drive from Mortola - are a treat and nearby Menton and Ventimiglia have much to see as well.
 
"Hanging Heart" by Jeff Koon at ArtLovers exhibit in Monaco.

Stone carving takes center stage, as Nicole is a reputable and successful stone carver - her art has been sold worldwide, particularly in the US where she lived and worked for several years. Everyone learns to carve stone and we were amazed by the quality of the instruction and the results. 

Juliette contemplates her sculpture.

Jean-Marc joins in.


Nicole demonstrates.

Torso taking shape!
Finished product - nice work!



Grazie mille Villa d’Arte! Thank you for an extraordinary, one-of-a-kind experience, fond memories and wonderful new friendships. We will be back!

Check out Nicole and her BandB at  www.nicoledurand.com

Villa d'Arte
29 Via Moretti
18039 Mortola Superiore, Italy
www.nicoledurand.net
Villa d'arte on FaceBook

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Symbols in Turkish Rugs

Here at Jean-Marc Fray Antiques, we have recently acquired a wonderful selection of Turkish rugs in a variety of sizes, styles, and motifs. The beautiful motifs not only have aesthetic value; many also carry strong symbolic meaning. Interpreting these symbols is an art in and of itself!

Below are two charts illustrating a few of these symbols in their various, stylized forms (Blakeney).


In addition to these motifs, the borders of Turkish rugs often include representations of numbers. "Numbers like 3,5,7,9 etc. are usually regarded to be sacred . . . 3 symbolizes earth, sky, water, holiness, productivity, fertility and so on. 5 means of five fingers of the hand or five prayers in a day. 7 symbolizes seven levels of the sky" (Sultan Carpet).

Other motifs include the zip-zag, the eight-pointed star, the phoenix, the arrow, the goose foot, the dragon, the pomegranate, and the triangle. Colors are important in Turkish carpets as well, often with meanings that run counter to those in the west. For example, white represents mourning and orange represents tenderness. (Sultan Carpet)


Evidence for the use of these motifs in Turkey extends all the way back to the Neolithic period. Patterns found in wall paintings uncovered at the famous site of Çatalhöyük are often similar to the patterns found on the rugs we are familiar with today. "Some of their [Çatalhöyük's] designs were linear or geometric, resembling designs commonly used by weavers . . . because of the similarity of these designs to those of traditional Turkish kilims (flat-woven rugs), the people of Çatalhöyük may have woven kilims" (Redman, Rise of Civilization).


The rugs we are now showcasing in our gallery are in a variety of Turkish regional styles. One type of rug comes from the city of Konya, known for its geometric patterns. 

Konya rug. Available at our gallery.

Another comes from the city of Oushak (or Uşak) -- the most popular style during the Ottoman Period.

Oushak rug. Available at our gallery.

Oushak rug. Available at our gallery.

A third type originates from the city of Kars, which is know for its coarser weaving and, like Konya, its geometric patterns.

Kars rug. Available at our gallery.

The fourth type we are showcasing comes from the city of Sivas, whose patterns are based on classic Persian designs and which tend to have muted, pastel colors.

Sivas rug. Available at our gallery.

While many Turkish rugs created in the twentieth century use these traditional patterns, other incorporate more "modern" elements, including European Art Deco motifs.
 
Turkish Deco rug. Available at our gallery.

Stop by the gallery to see our Turkish rug selection and find the perfect piece for your space!

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.


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

http://www.grandpalais.fr/en/event/i-augustus-emperor-rome

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: http://www.grandpalais.fr/en/event/i-augustus-emperor-rome#sthash.vo9puVYv.dpuf
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: http://www.grandpalais.fr/en/event/i-augustus-emperor-rome#sthash.vo9puVYv.dpuf

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!