1stdibs Introspective - Shop Talk - Jourdan Antiques
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By Susanna Salk

Marie “Mady” Jourdan is one of those warm souls who, upon first
meeting, will press the address of her Paris apartment into your
palm and insist that you stay there. From the sparkle in her eye and her joie de vivre emanating like a fine perfume, you know her invitation to you is sincere as is everything about her.  Her eponymous downtown shop is a celebration          of a life surrounded by arts and fine furniture. Her childhood bedroom contained a Louis XV armoire from Chateau de Fontainebleau, so it wasn’t a surprise that when she turned 18, instead of jewelry, she asked her parents for a Louis XVI commode. “It has since followed me all my life and is now in my Paris bedroom apartment,” says Mady proudly.
Jourdan attended Duke University where she earned a PhD. It gave her a unique edge when she went back to Paris to open her first antiques store dealing in top level XVIII century furniture. Says Mady,“I loved what I was doing until suddenly one day, I noticed my children had grown and were ready to leave the nest. So I asked myself: 'Now what?'" This elegant ball of energy didn’t waste an ounce of angst. She flew to New York. “For me, Manhattan was the best place to energize my batteries. As much as I love the beauty of Paris, I love the dynamism of New York.”  After speaking to many residing dealers, she decided to open her own shop, selling mostly nineteenth-century pieces at first and then gradually adding some Neoclassical designs from masters such as Royère and Jansen, who proved a wonderful complement to the existing Empire and Directoire inventory. 

As of late, Jourdan has broadened her range even further to include pieces from the 60's as well as contemporary French and American designers such as Garrouste et Bonneti and Philippe Hiquily. Explains Jourdan: “My major pleasure is to go on learning and discovering. It is endless as you keep going. And it keeps you young!”

Jourdan’s love of fine design is not only inspiring to her visitors but also to her own kin: She has for several years been carrying her daughter Marie Guerin’s line of French-made consoles, book shelves, and cocktail tables. All the better with which to toast the next generation of Jourdan style. “I always buy what my eye tells me is good, whether it is a Ruhlmann desk or a collection of African hats,” says Jourdan. “My eye has never let me down.”

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