Thursday, September 26, 2013

Nice Through an Artist’s Eye

La Promenade des Anglais by Raoul Dufy.
Have you ever found yourself enthralled in a work of art, because it depicts a part of the world you are familiar with? You begin to see the place in a new way: through the eyes of the artist.
It might be Texas through the eyes of Onderdonk, Taos through the eyes of O’Keeffe, England through the eyes of Turner, Venice through the eyes of Guardi, or Giverny through the eyes of Monet.
Or perhaps Nice, France through the eyes of Raoul Dufy.
Having lived in Nice for much of his life, Jean-Marc enjoys the paintings of this Post-Impressionist artist that capture scenes of his home city with vibrant color and expression.
In 1900 at the age of 23, Raoul Dufy traveled from his home in Le Havre to Paris to study painting. He quickly turned from the popular Impressionist style toward the more avant-garde style of the Fauves (“the Beasts”). This latter group, led by Henri Matisse, consisted of a loose-knit sect of artists who explored the use of bright, often unrealistic, color, loose brushwork, and flattened perspectives to convey their emotional responses to the world around them. Over time, like many of his fellow “Beasts,” Dufy developed his own unique style underneath the umbrella term of Fauvism.
Henri Matisse’s greatest Fauve painting, “The Joy of Life – Le Bonheur de Vivre” c. 1906.
“His distinctive style is characterized by bright colours thinly spread over a white ground, with objects sketchily delineated by sensuously undulating lines. Dufy took as his subjects scenes of recreation and spectacle, including horse races, regattas, parades, and concerts,” writes the Encyclopedia Britannica.
“Le quintette rouge et bleu – The Red and Blue Quintet” by Raoul Dufy, c. 1948.

Dufy often traveled to Nice for inspiration. Some of his paintings of this city hang in the local Muséedes Beaux-Arts, while others hang in museums across France and internationally; still others are in private collections.

In 1937, Dufy painted a large mural, now gracing the walls of an entire room in the Muséed’Art Moderne de la Ville in Paris, with an homage to electricity titled La Fée Électricité (The Electriciy Fairy), which is well worth a visit.
Dufy’s paintings that hang in the beautiful Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nice include Casino on the Pier with Two Barouches (1927) and Le Mai à Nice (1927).

Dufy, Casino on the Pier with Two Barouches (1927)
Dufy, Le Mai 

Dusk at La Baie des Anges, Nice (1932) resides at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, while OpenWindow, Nice (1928) hangs at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Dufy, Dusk at La Baie des Anges, Nice (1932)
Dufy, Open Window, Nice (1928)

Do you have a favorite painting that depicts a place you love? Tell us about it!
Posted by Jean-Marc Fray French Antiques at 08:53:00 PM
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Places We Love: The Nissim de Camondo


If you had just one day in Paris, what single place would you visit and where would you eat? Tough question! That’s exactly what one of our clients asked Jean-Marc the other day before she headed off to France. He had to stop and think about that one, since Paris is certainly not lacking in things to do and see.

After ruling out the most predictable attractions, he came up with something few of us had even heard of – the Musée Nissim de Camondo – a beautiful mansion bequeathed to the Les Arts Decoratifs by Count Moise de Camando, a banker with an important collection of 18th century French furniture and art objects. No wonder Jean-Marc lost himself in there, it is a delight for any antiques afficionado!

Located in the Hôtel Camondo, 63, rue de Monceau, at the edge of the Parc Monceau, in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, France, the house was built in 1911, designed by architect Rene Sergent, and inspired by the Petit Trianon in Versailles. The house was passed on to Les Arts Decoratifs in 1935 in honor of M. de Camando’s son, Nissim, who was killed in World War I. It opened as a museum the same year.

Today, the house is maintained as if it were still a private home preserved in its original condition, offering a glimpse of what life was like in an aristocratic home A La Belle Epoque. Take a look:

Le Grand Salon – Louis XVI period furniture.

The Library – Louis XVI settee, armchairs, gueridon and side tables.

Sitting room with Louis XV meridienne, Louis XVI desk and chest of drawers.

Salon des Huets, with paintings by Jean-Baptiste Huet.
Beautiful piece by Reisener.

Now, choosing a restaurant, on the other hand, is no easy task… way too many choices!! And quite frankly, we just don’t get to Paris that often, staying quite occupied in Southern France during our travels.

However, after much thought and contemplation, Jean-Marc decided on a place he’d never been to, but would definitely try if he could have just one meal in Paris: pressed duck from La Tour d’Argent (15 Quai de la Tournelle – 75005 Paris). Iconic, world-renowned, Michelin starred, presumably in existence since the 16th century, with stunning views of Paris and boasting one of the world’s finest and largest wine caves…  All we can say, is: Oui, oui, oui!

La Tour D’Argent.

Pressed duck – a specialty from La Tour d’Argent.

Where would you go and where would you eat if you had just one day in the City of Lights?
We’d love to hear.

Posted by Jean-Marc Fray French Antiques at 07:20:00 PM
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Thursday, September 05, 2013

Jean-Marc Fray Is On a Mission

Now that summer vacations are over, kids are back in school and we have finally adjusted to the blistering heat that is inescapable in Texas this time of year, we took some time to regroup, refocus and set our intentions for the remainder of 2013.  This exercise prompted us to review our goals and plan of action, but more importantly, it gave us pause to think again about why we do what we do – what is our purpose, our raison d’être, if you will.

It became clear that it was an opportune time for us to tweak our Mission Statement, and review the things that we value as a business. And so we did, and we thought we’d share this with you, in hopes that it concurs with your own experiences with Jean-Marc Fray Antiques.  

So there you have it. We continue the journey, onwards and upwards. 
We hope you’ll stay along for the ride…

Posted by Jean-Marc Fray French Antiques at 06:28:00 PM
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