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.

Friday, September 4, 2015

A Must: Burl Wood

 We enjoy telling the story behind each of our pieces, which is why anything burl wood that arrives at the gallery is an immediate favorite. 

To us, the story of the burl wood is one of triumph. A burl is created out of some sort of stress, injury, or growth on the tree. Once removed from the tree, master craftsmen slice the wood into veneers and inlays for furniture. This is no easy task with the knots and twists within the wood making it difficult to manipulate and prone to chipping. However, the end result is one of rare beauty. 

In this post, you will find images of the patterns and details that make this particular wood incredibly valuable in the world of interiors.

 Thomas O'Brien used this stunning burled armoire in his own Fifth Avenue home.  

This dining table is more art than table in the room below. The larger the piece, the more time and effort is required by the craftsman to create it. 

Darryl Carter's burled piano is magnificent to say the least. 
Even left in a raw state for this living room by Carrie Hatfield, the table adds a textural and sculptural element to the space. 

Just one item is enough to take any room to the next level. These Art Deco chairs would make for the perfect statement piece in a living area, while the Charles X commode is so intricately detailed it would fit an entryway nicely. The René Drouet buffet is a prized piece made for a home with an understated hint of glamour.

Images via 2

Friday, August 28, 2015

Travels, Wine, and an End of Summer Sale Event

We are fresh back from our summer travels, during which we journeyed from the Ligurian coast to the Basque country, handpicking many fine treasures. (Our container just arrived -- keep an eye on our website to see what we found!)

We started in Ventimiglia on the Ligurian coast of Italy...

Grimaldi on the Ligurian Riviera, and a stunning scallops risotto in Ventimiglia

...went on to Nice on the French Riviera...

The Promenade des Anglais, Jean-Noel and Juliette Fray enjoy refreshments in Old Town

...crossed the Pyrenees Mountains...

Some of the Pyrenees wildlife and landscape en route to the Atlantic ocean

 ...stopped in Biarritz on the French Atlantic coast...

The oceanfront in Biarritz; crunchy bites after a day of surfing

...and we ended our trip in the colorful Spanish town of San Sebastian.

San Sebastian Cathedral, followed by a delicious fish stew

We found some great treasures, enjoyed delicious meals by the sea, and tasted some cools wines along the way.

Because we like to share our favorite finds, we will serve wine from these regions and small bites in our gallery next weekend. During the event, you can also enjoy 30% off your purchase* in our gallery and online. Please join us on Friday, September 4 and Saturday, September 5 from 11:30 to 5, as we toast the end of a marvelous summer!

*30% discount applies to all furniture and lighting. Discount does not apply to accessories or fine art.

Dorade and Provence Rosé in Montpellier

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ellsworth Kelly's Austin

Most know Ellsworth Kelly as the famed abstract painter and print maker. His bold use of color and minimalist restraint have made his work notable for sixty years. Now, Mr. Kelly is lending his artistic genius to the city of Austin.

"Curves on White"
 For the first time, he will create a freestanding stone building at the Blanton Museum of Art, appropriately named Austin. Inside patrons will find luminous colored panes of glass echoing his iconic color schemes along with a rose wood sculpture, and black and white marble panels.

Below are the renderings for the exterior and interior of Ellsworth Kelly's Austin.

The glass panes are a subtle nod to a religious structure. However, the stone building is meant to be a place for reflective thinking.

The rosewood totem: 

Want to know more? Visit the Blanton Art Museum of Art for further details.

 Image 1, 2-6

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Coffee Table Style - What's Yours?

Cocktail table, coffee table ... call it what you will, but it's become the place to make a statement with books, architectural elements, fresh blooms, and over all personal style. 
Jamie Meares took a youthful approach with blooming tulips while Nate Berkus kept things airy with a lucite option. 

Champeau & Wilde accent their ornate backdrops with sleek coffee table options. 

Below we paired our favorite coffee tables with sophisticated reads and beautiful Murano glassware to create three distinctive styles. 

When it comes to your table, what's your style - polished and sleek, fresh and colorful, or urbane and minimal?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

E.1027 by Eileen Gray

After almost deteriorating,  Eileen Gray’s first architectural venture E. 1027 at Roquebrune, France is open for viewing. The home has been restored to its former beauty at last.

Gray was originally trained as an artist and recognized internationally for her unique furniture designs. It was her mentor Jean Badovici who encouraged her to begin full-scale architecture. She created her modernist masterpiece as a vacation spot for them to share. Even its name is an ode to their relationship: The 'E' standing for Eileen, '10' for the 'J' in Jean, '2'  for the 'B' in Badovici, '7' for 'G' in Gray.
 Though the two were lovers, the villa was completely her invention. The modernist movement and her desire to create a continuum from the land to sea heavily influenced Gray’s work.

 She stayed throughout its construction from 1926 to 1929 to ensure every detail created harmony between the senses and surroundings. Such details as windows cut for ideal views, breezes, light, and shadows give the illusion of folding into the sea. She incorporated her furniture designs into the home as well as the architecture with the delicate spiral staircase on the exterior.

 Tour of the home can be arranged through Cap Moderne.

Images via Manuel Bougot (1,3,4,5) and Tim Beaton (2,4)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Grace Coddington: Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue

Phaidon is releasing 2000 copies of the monograph on Grace Coddington, originally published in 2002. Only these copies will include a signed illustration and letter from Coddington. 

You know her as the fiery red head and master stylist for Vogue. Anna Wintour and Karl Largerfield are penning the foreword with snippets from other greats such as Cecil Beaton, Bruce Weber, and Manolo Blahnik. Come fall, and perfectly timed with the annual September issue of Vogue, this soon-to-be coffee table mainstay will be available. 

The photographer turned fashion stylist, was known for her ability to tell a story with clothing. These images speak for themselves.  

A shoot with photographer Tim Walker at the Ritz in Paris

"Paris Je T'Aime" with photographer Steven Meisel

Natalia Vodianova and Adrien Brody by Peter Lindbergh

Images: 1, 2 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Jeffery Milstein's Symmetrical Cities

Jeffery Milstein's aerial photographs of Los Angeles and New York depict each city from thousands of feet above the ground. Each image strikes a mesmerizing balance of symmetry and color. His previous works featuring air crafts and boats convey a love of modern transportation. For his current exhibit, visit the Ben Rubi Gallery in New York City (521 West 26 Street, 2nd Floor; July 9th thru August 22nd).

 You can see the changes in light and color for each city. The New York City images below are a bit moodier, but no less beautiful.

Imagine one framed over an ebonized Louis XVI buffet for the right mix of modern and classic. Which city would you choose? Los Angeles or New York?

Images: LA 07, Marina 1, LA 10, NYC 01, NYC 36, NYC40

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Links + Thank Yous
A few thank yous are in order this week. Our gallery and a few pieces have been selected for two online outlets. Thank you Mark D. Sikes for including our French Maison Baguès Coffee Table and French Louis XVI Pair of Bergères in your 1st Dibs round up. If you haven't checked out his blog, it's chock full of timeless style.

Another thank you to Bungalow Magazine, for showcasing Jean-Marc Fray Antiques as the place for Murano glass and home decor in Austin.

Also, make sure you check the profile on artist Meredith Pardue in the latest Modern Luxury