Sunday, December 16, 2007

Where Have All The [French] Antiques Gone?

August 10, 2007 – Nice, France.
It is true that 18th century pieces – especially honest 18th century provincial pieces (not the production French country stuff from the 1920s to 1970s which is still plentiful and relatively cheap) – are becoming harder to find, and therefore we need to sift through the content of small towns, sometimes villages, and auction houses to find something like this authentic Louis XV low buffet at a reasonable price.
Designers and magazine editors who dictate the decorating trends know this phenomenon well and, to a certain extent, depend on what is available from European markets. This is why some of the aforementioned trend setters have for years promoted home decors bedecked with, for the most part, more contemporary pieces or reproductions. The most creative have learned how to make the best out of it, guided by their true knowledge of art forms and their sense of style. They incorporate newer periods, while respecting the value and the decorative impact of fewer 17th, 18th and 19th century classic pieces.
This is exactly what we have been trying to achieve for the last twelve years… less by necessity than for a sincere appreciation of modern styles…and especially because we love the mix. Collectors and designers alike may find still fewer classic antique pieces that they can afford due to the emergence of new markets: Australia, China, Russia – where buyers also want a piece of the action by “owning an 18th century French chest trend”.
A Dutch importer that I’ve known for years recently told me that he used to ship 4 containers a year to the US; now he is working with a Hong Kong company who buys 15 containers per year(cash/with pictures) provided the content is European and pre-1850.
If you have a hard time finding and decorating with 18th century antiques, you are not alone. My advice is to purchase that key piece when the time is right; don’t rush it. Meanwhile, you can do the research and again explore new avenues – mixing styles. In our next featured article, we will even tell you how to do it!
Posted by Jean-Marc Fray French Antiques at 01:42:00 AM
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