There is nothing I love more than an antiques show. Gone are the days of booth after booth of brown furniture. Today’s shows provide the catalyst for vendors and designers to showcase their creative brilliance and highlight the very best they have to offer including everything one can imagine. I was delighted to attend the San Francisco Fall Art & Antiques Opening Gala last week. In honor of the 50th anniversary of San Francisco’s Summer of Love, the theme was FLOWER POWER: Floral Imagery in Art, Antiques & Design. Interior designer Suzanne Tucker chaired the brilliant show and Paris fashion designer Andrew Gn joined as honorary chair for the prestigious event that benefits Enterprise for Youth, a nonprofit organization supporting underprivileged students through educational programs.
Cascading floral design by Riccardo Benavides of Ideas Event Styling set the perfect tone for a magical evening surrounded by beautiful objects, fabulous fashions, and overflowing creativity. Fifty international dealers displayed their fine and decorative arts, from prehistoric days to the present, focussing on floral imagery and symbolism including art, furniture, decorative arts, lighting, rugs, jewelry, photography.
“The inspiration springs from the beauty and romance of blooms and blossoms, and their iconography throughout the ages. Floral imagery has long been part of a rich visual symbolism in art,” Ariane Trimuschat, the show’s director explained in a statement. “Textiles, furniture, paintings, works on paper, jewelry, ceramics, objets d’art have involved flowers and botanicals on some level, be it mythological, religious or romantic. From Watteau to Warhol, Flower Power is fertile ground for cultivating a uniquely curated assortment of art and antiques that will appeal to a wide audience, from the contemporary collector to the antiquities affcionado.”
The Show’s Grand Entry Hall featured Designer Vignettes inspired by the four seasons from designers Jay Jeffers, Kendall Wilkinson, Pamela Babey and Edward Lobrano. Each incorporated items borrowed from exhibitors, along with custom designed wall coverings developed by the designers in collaboration with the specialty wallpaper store, de Gournay.
Spring Vignette by Pamela Babey
Designer Pamela Babey selected spring for her vignette. She elaborates, “Spring. . . a dream. For this collaboration with de Gournay, I was inspired by the dewy pink dawn and the perfumed Giardini di Venezia; everything is pink, fresh, and new. Dreaming of the evening before, an extravagant late-night picnic, the luscious memory is brought back with the sight of the Palazzo Cinese peeking through the tangled brambles glowing magenta in the rising sun.” The flora-laden wallcovering is the background for a fantastic rococo chair that’s inlaid with mirrors. “This chair is utterly frivolous,” Babey says describing the piece from Carlton Hobbs. “I can imagine it in my favorite Venetian Palazzo, Ca’Rezzonico.
Summer Vignette by Ed Lobrano
The summer season is recreated by New York City designer (and former San Franciscian) Ed Lobrano. The wallcovering is done in a chinoserie-style, and it’s fronted by a flower and bird bedecked mirror, also from Carlton Hobbs. Ed Lobrano explains his vision, “My inspiration was a Volkswagen Bus with Daisy’s and other fun summer flowers painted all over it. It was the summer of the flower child and though it needed to be more sophisticated it needed to still be whimsical and a bit ethereal. I think de Gourney captured the mood I was after.”
Fall Vignette by Kendall Wilkinson
Kendall Wilkinson explains her vision, “I was so excited to hear that the theme of this year’s San Francisco Fall Art & Antique Show was ‘Flower Power’ and my mind immediately went to the bold prints of the ‘60s. But, after a moment’s reflection, I began to think in terms of de Gournay and the whimsical, enchanting nature of the brand. Fashion has always proved a fantastic source of inspiration, so with those qualities in mind, I scoured runway recaps until I found an image of a Valentino dress. The way the embroidery draped from the silky, translucent fabric–it was magical. I knew that de Gournay would be able to capture it in wallpaper form and that together we could create an autumnal secret garden hideaway for this iconic event.”
Winter Wonderland Vignette by Jay Jeffers
“For our vignette, I was obsessed with the color of dark plum peonies I had seen on a recent jaunt to the flower market, so our color palate was set. During a creative inspiration meeting, we came across the stunning work of Dutch artist Louis Reith,” Jeffers recalls. “I saw in the graphics of his work shapes that resembled a living room—a fireplace, a mirror, etc. We laid out his original work in a different way to create the mural.” The graphic quality of the imagery represented furniture silhouettes and we thought they would make a gorgeous backdrop to the antiquities and contemporary art in our Winter Wonderland vignette.Once the mural was done, we added a faux fur rug from Jay Jeffers — The Store along with a stunning chandelier from Apparatus Studio and then borrowed some fabulous pieces from some of the dealers in the show, notably a naughty center table by Carlton Hobbs, gorgeous chairs from Epoca SF, a fabulous ottoman from Antonio’s Bella Casa, and artwork by Hackett Mill.”
And here are a few treasures that caught my eye at the show…
Italian 1960’s silver and gold gilt metal oval mirror; attributed to Palladio, Italy through Epoca
“Misty” by Paul Lange at Jayne Thompson Antiques. Misty named for ABT Ballerina Misty Copeland
Black Starr & Frost natural river pearls & peridot daisy brooch, circa 1890 at Lawrence JeffreySam Francis at Antonios Bella CasaLalanne sheep at Antonios Bella Casa Oil-on-canvas painting “Zawiya” by David Sorensen, signed and dated ’87-’88 above 19th century Italian Neo Classical commode at Antonios Bella Casa.Visual drama at Antonios Bella Casa Tony Buccola of Antonios Bella Casa is always a master of mixing styles and centuries Charles Plante’s perfectly appointed boothCy Twombly’s Studio (Gaeta/Italy, 2007), painted in 2016 by Damian Elwes, was shown by Modernism.Roland Petersen art at Montgomery GalleryCanvas sculpture by Mary Little at Galen LoweUntitled, by James Kelly c 1952. Courtesy of Foster Gwin.
Special thanks to the Design Leadership Network and the San Francisco interior design community for planning such a wonderful visit!