Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Van Day Truex Envy

Jealousy reared its ugly head last week as I was perusing the February issue of House Beautiful. It was while reading the article on designer John Peixinho's attractive Newport house that I about fell out, so to speak. Right there on page 78 was a photo of Peixinho's dining room, which featured a wall devoted entirely to wash drawings by designer Van Day Truex. To someone like me who covets Truex's drawings (and who dreams about the day I own one of my own), this photo was simply awe-inspiring. In fact, I believe that the moment I saw this photo, I heard the proverbial choir of angels sing.

Of course, I'm not really jealous of Peixinho and his enviable collection of Truex art. Rather, I admire his keen eye and his good taste. The House Beautiful article mentions that one of Peixinho's Truex drawings (seen in the second photo, above) had originally been painted for Brooke Astor. I don't know the extent of Astor's collection of Truex drawings, but I do know that at least two were sold at the mammoth Brooke Astor Sotheby's sale in 2012.

Another person who owned an enviable collection of Truex drawings was Albert Hadley, who was Truex's great friend.  Hadley had a number of his friend's drawings on display in both his Manhattan apartment as well as his Connecticut house, and he even included Truex's drawings on an Elle Décor-published list of the designer's favorite things.

If you wish to learn more about Truex and his drawings, then you must read Adam Lewis's wonderful biography of Truex, Van Day Truex: The Man Who Defined Twentieth-Century Taste and Style.  And speaking of Lewis, he also owns a couple of Truex drawings, which you can see below.  And rounding out this brief list of Truex collectors is Christopher Spitzmiller, whose Truex drawing graces the foyer of his Manhattan apartment.  Look closely at the photos below, and you'll see that Truex drawings seem to get passed down amongst friends, which is really as it should be. 

Van Day Truex wash drawings in the home of Van Day Truex.

In the Manhattan apartment of Albert Hadley...

...and in his Connecticut home.

Albert Hadley even included the wash drawings on his list of favorite things.

Two Truex drawings in the Manhattan apartment of Adam Lewis.

A Truex drawing graces the foyer of Christopher Spitzmiller's New York apartment.

Images #1 and #2 from House Beautiful, February 2015, Thomas Loof photographer.  Truex apartment photos from Van Day Truex: The Man Who Defined Twentieth-Century Taste and Style by Adam Lewis.  Photos of Hadley's Connecticut home from American Homestyle and Gardening, November 1999, Simon Watson photographer.  Photos of Adam Lewis and Christopher Spitzmiller's homes courtesy of New York Social Diary, Jeffrey Hirsch photographer.


  1. These drawings are new to me. But I think that I've just been hooked. Now, I'll have to be on the look out--I love works on paper, especially washes and grisaille. Thanks! Mary

  2. Anonymous9:48 AM

    Oh they are just stunning, I have a thing for sketches and would love to have a wall of Truex sketches, they would delight me more than any painting.

  3. i had heard about Van Day Truex + never knew so many were in Hadley's possession. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

  4. Anonymous2:30 PM

    Love the drawings, but not when they're hung so crowdedly that they're on the backs of doors and over the edges of moldings. Sometimes less is more.

  5. Anonymous3:42 PM

    I love the drawings; I love the pictures of his house, and I love them on the back of doors and over moldings!

  6. One's art collection can be so revealing -- this is impressive!!

    xo. Leslie
    Segreto Finishes

  7. Really pleased to see the G. P & J Baker classic ‘Ferns’ Fabric being used a loose cover. About to feature in our new bedroom. Wasn’t it supposedly Edith Wharton’s favourite fabric too? I’ve learnt recently that it’s based on an 18th century print or drawing depicting the various species of ferns growing within a mile radius of the Mansion House- the Lord Mayor’s official residence in the City of London.

  8. Such subtle, serene, and ethereal works of art. Thank you so much for sharing these with us Jennifer.

    The Arts by Karena

  9. I love his paintings as much as you do. Not sure if you saw my post many years ago on the story of my own Truex painting, which I discovered in a small shop in Georgetown. They described it as "an old Italian print" and I think I bought it for $400 or something. I even sent photos of it to Adam Lewis who confirmed its authenticity and knew when it was painted and who for. I had it reframed a couple of years ago and now it has pride of place in my bedroom.