Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Delightful Domestic Artistry




One thing that seems to define unique and stylish interiors is the inclusion of something one-off. It could be a striking piece of art, an unusual objet, or even a wall or a piece of furniture painted in a whimsical manner.

Take faux-painted architectural details, for example. Yes, I know, bad examples abound. But, I've found some truly charming examples such as the image from Hollyhock, above. Painted by artist Paulin Paris, the walls, rather like a stage set, are perfect for a store backdrop. That said, I could see using that painted faux mirror in an entryway or a dressing room.

What about that fabulous Christian Bérard trompe l'oeil painted console below? A work of art in its own right and one which I wouldn't mind owning. No, you're not trying to fool anyone with these faux paintings, but that's the beauty of them- they're slightly exaggerated and utterly amusing.

And if these faux paintings just aren't your thing, what about a mural? (I mean a good mural.) Now, would you have said no to Ludwig Bemelmans if he had offered to paint your walls?


A trompe l'oeil painted console by Christian Bérard, in the Jean-Michel Frank designed Guerlain Institute, Paris, 1939




A "fireplace" in the London flat of Rita Konig. Her mother, designer Nina Campbell, commissioned the painted cardboard piece from a set designer. (Image from 9/06 issue of Domino.)


While this is not a faux painted architectural detail, this figural painting is charming nonetheless. Located in the entrance hall of Tony Duquette's home "Dawnridge".


Now really, who wouldn't want these Bemelman murals in their home? Bemelmans Bar, The Carlyle.

28 comments:

  1. Mark Cutler's fun faux tables, too!

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  2. The Anthropologie store in NYC (Rockefeller Center one) has versions of the "A trompe l'oeil painted console by Christian Bérard, in the Jean-Michel Frank designed Guerlain Institute, Paris, 1939" painted all over their store. They look amazing. I have pics of it somewhere buried on my blog.

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  3. Pigtown- Oh yes, can't forget those!

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  4. Upstate- That sounds amazing. I'm off to search on your blog!

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  5. OH I LOVE Bemelman's bar -I always visit when I'm in NYC.
    I think the reason these chic as opposed to a no-no is they are really tongue-in-cheek about it, don't you agree? These all have a very cartooney nature about them which makes them charming. If they were too 'real' they would just be really awful ( like the murals in grey towers that i blogged about a few weeks back! ).

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  6. Rita Konig's faux fireplace is cute. I had no idea Nina Campbell was her mother. Great taste obviously runs in the family.

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  7. PoC - the Christian Bérard room is amazingly not painted, but strips of ribbon and various fabrics on velvet if I remember correctly. Even more astounding. no?

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  8. Be the Change- Absolutely- it's whimsical and fun- you're not fooling anyone, and that's the beauty of it! (LOVE Bemelmans too; why can't we have a place like that here?)

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  9. HOBAC- Amazing! That was important information that was left out of the book from which I pulled this photo. I love his work.

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  10. djellabah1:49 PM

    The Guerlain room was published in Nest some years ago (issue 6), after it was restored. The trompe l'oeil doorway pictured as well as the trompe l'oeil moldings, et cetera, are made of multicolored grosgrain ribbon cut to mimic Bérard's brushstrokes and and sewn to plain yellow cotton (not velvet). The artist and textile restorer who executed the appliqué work was Margarita Classen-Smith, an Englishwoman who did much work for Jean-Michel Frank, particularly appliquéd leather scenes on firescreens, folding screens, et cetera. She also did a fabulous leather map for Mrs Courtauld's boudoir at Eltham Palace in England.

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  11. I used to live in the apt. bldg. next door to the Carlyle. Bobby Short used to practice playing piano in my neighbor's apartment before headed over to Bemelman's Bar. It was heaven. I miss that apartment...and Bobby of course.

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  12. clémence3:28 PM

    I think the dealer Pierre Passebon in Paris has done of Mrs Classen-Smith's creations.

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  13. Upstate- Weren't you lucky! I miss him too!

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  14. djellabah and clémence- Thank you, b/c I'm not familiar with Classen-Smith's work.

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  15. I adore Rita's faux fireplace. Isn't that the cutest - would be so great in a girl's nursery. with a mirror above it.

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  16. Joni- Absolutely! So cute!

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  17. PoC - I was just wondering if djellabah would consider doing a guest spot - I would love to have her/him to do something for HOBAC.

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  18. Anonymous9:06 AM

    How many people would actually want this done in their living rooms though?

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  19. Anon- Oh, I don't know. I could see some people having it done there, but more than likely, it would be used in a more casual or quirky space.

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  20. I wish I could have seen those red Hollyhock walls in person at Christmas!

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  21. Courtney- I know; I bet they were fabulous!

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  22. a lot of people like having trompe l'oeil in their homes; it certainly was all the rage 20 years ago, and in fact i think it's making a huge comeback in decor! so this wonderful post is rather timely.
    thanks for the inspiring images.

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  23. Bemelmans Bar! It may be my favourite. A must-stop-in whenever we're lucky enough to be in The City. Can't wait for March. We saw Bobby Short play in the Carlyle Cafe a few years back. And he was exactly what we need more of in the world.

    Great post, I enjoyed the painted console and the faux mantle very much!

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  24. E and E-Wasn't Short the best??!!!

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  25. Yeah... I hope there are more great interpreters of the Great American Songbook squirreled away somewhere just waiting to be unleashed on us.... He was a class act, in every sense of the word.

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  26. Fabulous post! I've been posting/obsessing over what to do with my walls at an upcoming tradeshow. come visit...i'll have to link this!

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  27. Paris- I've seen your posts on the upcoming show. Good luck! I know it will look fabulous!

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  28. Anonymous6:06 PM

    I love the first by Christian Berard, which left an indelible mark since the first time I saw it. It is actually sewn not painted. The applique is so beautiful.

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