On Location

Giving Ideas from the 1stdibs Gallery at 200 Lex

Feeling festive: A dramatic glass-and-brass Sputnik chandelier sparkles above a glamorous Italian mid-century cocktail table inlaid with onyx and brass tiles at the booth of Disegno Karina Gentinetta. Top: A view of the booths at the 1stdibs Gallery at the New York Design Center.

Many 1stdibs fans may not realize that the idea for the website was hatched at the famous flea markets of Saint-Ouen, outside Paris. Wandering through the maze of booths at the Marché aux Puces, founder Michael Bruno declared to a friend that he was going to put the markets online. Nearly 20 years later, the site has changed the way the world shops for rare and beautiful objects.

What most 1stdibs fans do know, however, is that the singular pleasure of wending through a warren of stalls and physically examining one’s acquisitions — flipping them over, looking for their marks, feeling their weight — can still be enjoyed at 1stdibs’ bricks-and-mortar location, on the 33,000-square-foot 10th floor of the New York Design Center, at 200 Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. More than 50 dealers have set up booths there that contain not only furniture but also thousands of such smaller pieces as mirrors, fireplace tools, ceramics, condiment sets and other items that fit more easily under a tree than an English secretary or a Giò Ponti credenza. “I like to see and touch things,” says dealer Inga Davidsson, of Area iD. “It’s an old-fashioned experience that is disappearing in New York. Because of the cost of real estate, vendors cannot afford to have bricks-and-mortar stores. That makes 1stdibs’ NYDC floor unique.”

“There’s eye candy everywhere!” exclaims Maplewood, New Jersey–based dealer Albert Joseph, who has a storefront here. “Because it’s laid out so beautifully, you can totally immerse yourself in the place and the experience.”

Dealer Michael Pashby adds that the range and quality are unsurpassed, and that “the people who staff the space are extremely knowledgeable and helpful. The designers mostly know what they’re coming for, but the public may not. The staff knows how to guide them. I just like going in and talking to them.”

The 1stdibs Gallery’s location in this venerable trade-showroom building makes it convenient to designers and consumers alike. It also hosts regular exhibitions and events. (For more information, go to 1stdibs.com/nydc.) In other words, there are few more interesting places to finish up your holiday shopping. To get you started, we’ve selected 21 particularly gift-able gems.


Chinoiserie Box, 19th-Century
offered by Albert Joseph

Who isn’t a pushover for chinoiserie? Nineteenth-century “comfort boxes” like this one from Maplewood, New Jersey, dealer Albert Joseph were employed by their original owners to hold such personal items as grooming tools or makeup, and they were repainted as they were handed down through generations. Use it as a gift box for a loved one’s present. With its intricate gold design, you can forgo wrapping! $450

 


Albert-Joseph-portrait

 

 

BEST GIFT EVER RECEIVED?

“That would either be a vintage Patek Philippe watch from my dad on my wedding day or a 1940–50 motorcycle-racing game from my wife, with lead-painted toy bikes on a wheel that you spin before betting. I know it sounds crazy: solid white-gold watch or a game, but I love motorcycles.”

— Albert Joseph

 

 

 

 


Ebonized Turner Chair, 19th-Century
offered by Lee Calicchio

 

Turner chairs were a British curiosity when they began appearing in the 16th century. Meant to be a showcase for the wood turner’s art, they became elaborate examples of what was possible when an artist manned the lathe. But their triangular seats, flared shape and rudimentary decoration can also appear almost tribal. Simpler and less boastful than its forebears, this 19th-century ebonized walnut example from Lee Calicchio has a sculptural integrity that transcends style. $3,000.


 

 

 

BEST GIFT EVER RECEIVED?

“A cashmere throw from LJ Cross. It keeps me nice and warm.”

— Lee Calicchio

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Coalescence Sculpture, 2014, by Albert Paley
offered by Highland Park

Two years ago, New Yorkers were treated to the sight of 13 Albert Paley sculptures on Park Avenue. It was a reminder of the magic behind this Rochester artist’s work. For more than 40 years, he’s been making hard steel look as fluid and pliable as ribbon. Paley’s Coalescence, from dealer Highland Park, is part of a series from 2014 and will bring a bold contemporary pop of holiday red to any niche, shelf or tabletop. $26,000


 

 

 

 

BEST GIFT EVER RECEIVED?

“We were shopping in midtown one evening a few weeks before Christmas when my then-boyfriend suggested we go into Tiffany’s. We went up to the counter, and the salesperson, who’d secretly met with him the week before, handed him a ring. He dropped down on one knee and proposed.”

— Eve Kelly Herman

 

 

 


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White-Painted and Parcel-Gilt Candle Stands, Late 18th-Century
offered by Michael Pashby Antiques

 

Candle stands are an idea worth reviving. Light and portable, they’re easily brought into any room to instantly enhance the ambience with the flicker of a flame. “They were always considered the highest type of aspirational thing because they were difficult to make and conserve,” dealer Michael Pashby says of these exquisite late-18th-century English parcel-gilt versions. “It’s remarkable that they survived at all, because they’re so delicate.” Rarity and uniqueness is what makes a gift precious — reason enough for the splurge. $24,000


 

 

 

 

BEST GIFT EVER RECEIVED?

The best is always the last gift I received. It is just so nice to know that someone has taken the trouble to remember you.”

— Michael Pashby

 

 

 

 

 


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A Collection of Murano-Glass Vases, 1970s
offered by Elizabeth Pash

Since the 13th century, when Venetian glassmakers were concentrated in Murano to keep their furnaces far away from more populated areas of the city, the work that has emerged from the island has been considered the pinnacle of the art form. In the 1970s, it took a particularly free-form and colorful turn, as seen in these vases from Elizabeth Pash. With their Commedia dell’arte colors, they will bring a smile to anyone on your gift list this year. Small vases $550, large $650


 

 

 

 

BEST GIFT EVER RECEIVED?

“A car! My husband and children completely surprised me with a red convertible on my birthday a few years ago. Once I recovered from the shock, I really loved it — and I still do!”

— Elizabeth Pash

 

 

 

 


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Set of Six Plates by Roger Capron, 1960s
offered by Guéridon

Vincennes, France–born artist Roger Capron moved to Vallauris, on the Côte d’Azur, in 1946. Along with Pablo Picasso, who descended on the little coastal town two years later, and other artists, he helped revitalize a moribund ceramics industry. The extensive body of work he left behind, such as this 1960s porcelain plate set offered by Guéridon, attests to what many believe was the area’s golden age of pottery. They also set a cheery morning-after table. $1,450


 

 

 

 

BEST GIFT EVER RECEIVED?

“My parents gave me a chocolate Labrador retriever puppy whom I named Kitty, because as a child I had loved Hello Kitty. I was living in Switzerland, and Kitty was in Helsinki, so I flew to Finland to retrieve her.”

— Alexia Morand

 

 

 

 


Even More Gifts at NYDC

What are the holidays without a little shimmer and shine? Southampton, New York, dealer Stellar Union rings in the season with this pair of Italian gilt-metal lamps. Made in 2012, they look like the love child of Greek mythology’s King Midas and sculptor Jean Arp. $5,800.

Metropolis Modern’s French 1950s monumental tree-branch candle holder elegantly interprets the stark beauty of winter’s leafless boughs in cast and patinated bronze. On its own or festively bedecked with miniature ornaments, it makes a spectacular centerpiece for the holiday table. $2,200.

Guests arriving at a holiday cocktail need a place to lay their handbags, check their hair and straighten their ties. Weymouth, Massachusetts, dealer BG Galleries provides an impossibly chic solution in this shapely duo of giltwood mirrors over green marble consoles, designed in 1946 by the incomparable Osvaldo Borsani. $44,000

The season’s revelries always have a morning after. Start the day on a classy note with Arne Jacobsen steel 1960s Cylinda condiment set for Stelton. This collection from Baxter & Liebchen, comprising a toast rack, salt and pepper shakers and bowls for sugar and preserves, will elevate any breakfast. $600

Lars Holmstöm was a third-generation metalsmith who helped found Arvika, an artist commune still thriving in southern Sweden. This weighty candelabra from around 1928, offered by Dallas dealer Collage, is emblematic of liturgical objects he produced for countless churches. But laymen can also admire its handsome sculptural presence. $4,200

Baby, it’s cold outside. Shen you cozy up to the, invoke some flashy 1970s panache with Alessandro Albrizzi’s set of plated brass and Lucite fire tools from Solo Modern. They’re as swank as you’d expect from a man who ran with the most stylish socialite crowd of the era, which included the Fifth Marquess of Abergavenny Guy Nevill, the von Furstenburgs and C.Z. Guest, to name a few. The tools’ marriage of shiny and sleek materials can be appreciated, of course, whether you’re highborn or not. $3,900

Curtis Jeré’s wall sculptures became ubiquitous in the 1970s. Copied ad nauseum by far less talented artisans than Curtis Freiler and Jerry Fels — the pair behind the pseudonym, formed by combining their first names — the knockoffs became the stuff of kitsch. This functional as well as decorative eyelash mirror, however, made of patinated copper and brass strips, reminds us why C. Jeré is so sought-after today. The piece, available through New York City’s Dual, also offers a nice way to behold yourself as you primp for that holiday party. $12,800

There’s something about the snowy white chalkiness of plaster that has a timeless allure. The French designer Serge Roche (1898–1988) couldn’t resist it. Nor could the younger John Dickinson (1920–1982) in San Francisco, an entire ocean and continent away. Los Angeles–based Bourgeois Bohème is equally smitten. But while Roche’s designs were ebulliently Baroque and Dickinson’s chunky and animalistic, this atelier uses it to minimalist ends in its 2013 Palais Royale chandelier, adding handblown glass lights. $5,700

Now, here’s a stylish way to wheel around the eggnog and spiked cider when some holiday cheer is called for. Leggy, flirty and looking like it might just take its own turn on the dance floor, the shapely 1950s brass bar cart from Area iD has two glass shelves with enough room to hold all the boozy libations you need to turn your usually sedate coworkers into John Travolta and Karen Lynn Gorney in Saturday Night Fever. $2,950

Once a glamorous designer who catered to the likes of the Princess of Monaco, the King of Saudi Arabia and the Shah of Iran, Gabriella Crespi has become spiritual and reclusive in her later years (artist Francesco Vezzoli has called her “the Greta Garbo of Milan”). This signed bronze cathedral-style mirror from 1970, offered by Gustavo Olivieri, seems to reside somewhere between her earlier and later personalities. It’s gorgeous in any case, whether you’re celebrating your own beauty or the fact that “unto us a child is given.” $24,000

Since it was established, in 1867, the venerable craftsmen of France’s Atelier Pinton have woven Aubusson tapestries with images drawn from sources as diverse as the Bible — the staggering 2,820-square-foot Christ in Glory at Coventry Cathedral, for example — and modern artworks, as in as this circa-1975 La Tâche Bleue (The Blue Spot), which Miami dealer Michel Contessa describes as “after Calder.” The blue spot sits in a field of extremely lively and seasonally appropriate red. $22,500

Do you want to make the Tin Man’s — or your man’s — Christmas a happy one? Give him a readymade collection of vintage squirt oil cans spanning 50 years of utilitarian design (from the 1920s through the ’70s). Kensington, Maryland, dealer Darrell Dean exhibits them in Billy Baldwin étagères, but their quirky sculptural presence will make any man’s cave the envy of his friends. $5,775.

Gunnar Nylund, for many years creative director of the famed Swedish Rörstrand pottery studio, was known for his feldspar-glazed stoneware, and particularly for a finish called hare’s fur. The shapes of these vessels, offered by Nest Interiors, epitomize everything we love about Scandinavian design: organic form, earthy palette, handcrafting. Their essential purity is the perfect antidote to the chaos and commercialism of the holiday season. $6,155 (or $400–$1,525 sold separately).

The music of Bach, so much in the air at this time of year, is often a starting point for American painter Caio Fonseca. His canvases have a musical life, appearing at times like a rhythmic, albeit abstracted, progression of notes or the hammers of a piano or clavichord. These two aquatint etchings from 2001, offered by Washington, D.C., dealer David Bell, virtually sing, their textures producing a sense of varied tonalities both melodious and painterly. $5,800

More than any other time of year, this is a season of glamour, of dressing up and accessorizing. With that in mind, who could pass up this impossibly chic pair of André Arbus Art Deco chairs from the 1930s, offered by Karl Kemp? Divinely tailored, upholstered in a tastefully muted green silk and finished in an understated gold-leaf craquelure and patinated bronze, they are the seating equivalents of a silver-screen star. $16,000

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