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, November 27, 2015

Next Level Cocktail Hour

It's official: the holidays are upon us. It's time to deck the halls, hang the mistletoe, wrap the gifts, and stock the bar carts. There is nothing more festive (and necessary) for the gathering of friends and family than a well-decorated and well-stocked bar cart

First, the spirits — gin, vodka, bourbon, scotch, tequila, rum, vermouth, and bitters are the essentials. Buy what you like! Champagne is a MUST for the holiday season, so make room for a champagne bucket and a bottle of chilled French champagne (anything else is just sparkling wine!).  You may want to consider Creme de Casis, Apérol, St. Germain, Campari, Amaretto or Frangelico for your connoisseurs.

Then, the mixers: sparkling water, club soda, tonic water, ginger beer and assorted juices (orange, grapefruit, tomato, and cranberry just to name a few). 

Garnishes offer an opportunity to include a few holiday-themed embellishments. Start with fresh lemons, limes, cherries, mint leaves and olives, then throw in skewered cranberries and sprigs of rosemary for a jolly twist. Candied kumquats are a colorful addition to celebratory sparkling drinks.

Tumblers, high balls, stemware, beer glasses, and shot glasses will cover your glassware needs. And don't forget, a jigger, shaker, strainer, muddler, cocktail napkins, and sugar cubes!

But most important — the bar cart. Get your parties rolling with this glamorous piece of the past. Dress it up for the holidays with garlands or fresh winter foliage. 

No matter the season, style, or application, a bar cart will bring your cocktail parties to another level. See a few of our favorites below!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Unsung Hero of Thanksgiving

Before we have the table cloths pressed and the silverware polished, we'd like to take a moment to celebrate the unsung hero of Thanksgiving: the noble buffet. Sideboard, credenza, console, server... call it what you will, after the dining table, it is the most essential part of the feast!

An autumnal gathering (Source Country Living)

There are so many ways you can style your buffet for the holidays. Create an autumnal display of pumpkins, pine cones, fall branches and foliage. Orange roses, asiatic lilies, bronze and rust mums, and a few sprigs of berries, create a gorgeous bouquet perfect for Thanksgiving. A mirror or artwork and lamps are the perfect backdrop to your seasonal décor.

A buffet holds a mirror, decor, and desserts (Source Dear Lillie)

In addition to being a beautiful showcase, the buffet is the ideal solution for letting your guests help themselves to drinks, side dishes, or desserts. A wood top is warm and inviting with your favorite table runner. A marble top creates the perfect, ready-set serving area. No matter how you use it, the buffet is a key piece to every Thanksgiving feast. Take a look below at some of our favorite buffets, or click here to view our full collection!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

20% Savings with your Holiday Shopping Card

American Cancer Society Holiday Shopping Card


Join us in supporting the annual Holiday Shopping Card program benefiting the American Cancer Society, the nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer through research, education, advocacy, and service.

Get 20% off your purchase* when you use your 2015 Holiday Shopping Card.
 Cards are available in our gallery for a donation of $50 or more, and valid at all participating Austin merchants. 100% of card proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society.

This is a perfect time to start your holiday shopping and make a difference!

Support the American Cancer Society today. 
*Fine art excluded.  Offer cannot be combined with any other store discounts.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Exhibition Glasstress 2015 "Gotika"

On a Thursday afternoon we entered the garden of Palazzo Franchetti to visit the exhibition put together by Berengo Studio with the unique collaboration of The State Hermitage Museum for the 56th edition of Glasstress. It goes without saying that we could not have dreamed of a better place for the newly commissioned art works in glass, all with a Gothic theme, to be presented.

A view down the stairs inside the Palazzo Franchetti

Climbing the 16th century Carrara marble stairs of this Neo-Gothic Palazzo we were immediately seduced by the scenery. A constant dialogue between the pieces and the beautiful background of the Palazzo operated during the whole exhibition with the Grand Canal following us through the Murano hand blown glass windows.

“Stones” Glass and Ceramic by Johan Creten - Sint Truiden, Belgium. 2015

There, in a corner,  glass stones purposely displayed on primary colored cement pedestals contrasted beautifully with the Genovese marble walls. The Gothic resonated throughout the whole Palazzo, from the broken arches and ornate ceilings to the massive hand blown glass armored soldier that welcomed us on the second floor.

“The Suburbs”Glass and Steel by by Diana Al-Hadid                             "Hurt Locker” Glass and Wire by Penny Byrne

The red and silver Venetian silk walls and 16th century oak parquet floors of the private salons and library were the perfect background for the majestic chandeliers, bronze and glass sculptures...

“Glass Medusa”  Glass Bronze by Koen Vanmechelen

“Mirror Mirror” Mixed Media by Petah Coyne - Oklahoma City, USA. 2015

“Awakener/Life Bank” Bronze and Glass by Koen Vanmechelen - Sint-Truiden, Belgium 2015

Detail of “Awakener/Life Bank"
"Relic Glass #1, Crossroads series 9" Glass sculptures by Bart Dorsa - California, Russia  2015

Once again Il Maestro Berengo delighted us with his selection of beautiful pieces, mixing glass, bronze, and wood.

If you are in Venice or planning a trip to Venice between now and November 22nd, please jump off the Vaporetto at the Academia and cross the Grand Canal to visit Palazzo Franchetti. We hope you will enjoy as much as we did this beautiful exhibition.

The 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia

Palazzo Franchetti / Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere e Arti
(Venetian Institute of Sciences, Letters and Arts)
Campo S. Stefano, 2847 Venice

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?