Chess Set by Man Ray
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Chess Set by Man Ray
Thursday, May 21, 2009
I first met them in their former location in Delray Beach and was impressed by their merchandise as well as their lovely manner. They seemed to have a great deal of knowledge of their inventory and it's creator, dates, value, etc., which is essential in this business especially when you are dealing in pieces that are not commonly familiar. And in a town where lucite lamps are abundant and Milo Baughman chairs are a dime a dozen, it's a breath of fresh air to find a dealer bringing something new (well, different at least) to the table.
Another item of interest in Preview Mod is this stunning "Sphere" dining table and 4 lucite/chrome chairs by Boris Tabacoff, France 1969, $9,500. What makes this set so special is both the condition and the rarity that it all survived the years together. It is shown with a Castiglioni "Frisbee" hanging light fixture and is back-lit by a Gio Ponti "Pirellone" floor lamp for Fontana Arte, 1967, $2,700.
Friday, April 10, 2009
One of my favorite reasons for visiting Florida, outside of getting out of Chicago in the winter, is for the many great places to scout out vintage home furnishings. And when in Miami, you can do no better than Biscayne Boulevard where you can hit dozens of dealers within 40 blocks of each other that specialize in 20th century furnishings, art and lighting. Most of them specialize in American and Hollywood Regency designs from the mid century but the last few years has attracted a growing number of European dealers as well, specializing in American, Italian and French modern furnishings.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Born December 29, 1946, Marianne Faithfull grew up in London's swinging mod scene and began her career in the 1960s with the hit, "As Tears Go By" written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The Rolling Stones were the most popular band at that time, along with the Beatles, and their music gained recognition in households across the globe. Marianne, however, found her way into the hearts of a smaller audience, but her career was large. She would go on to become an award-winning singer, songwriter actress and poet.
She vanished from the spot light and a tumultuous relationship with Jagger and excessive drugs after the her hit song Sister Morphine and returned to the scene in the late 1970's with a hit album, Broken English. This followed an even bigger album, Strange Weather, which was my original acquaintance with the British pop icon. With tracks like Times Square and the disco attempt of Sweetheart, I was hooked on her raspy hoarse vocals and her biting poetic lyrics.
She enhances her body of work with numerous scores for films including her hit, "Ballad of Lucy Jordon" and "Trouble In Mind" which contains one of my favorites, "The Hawk" featuring Mark Isham.
I did see her once in concert. In fact I was standing outside the Park West Theater in Chicago waiting for my guest to arrive when Marianne Faithful pulled up in a taxi to the front door, paid the driver walked up to the entrance, alone - no posse - looked at me and smiled as I held the door open for her. She nodded and thanked me in her raspy voice - which by the way is absolutely angelic in person. I was impressed by her lack of pretense. What class!
Her album Vagabond Ways is an autobiographical one and one, along with the above mentioned, I highly recommend. She may be a cult classic but she's truly Aces in my book... or blog.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Now a retailer can ask $10,000 for their C. Jere but it doesn't mean it is worth it or they will ever get it. The piece is only worth the most recent of auction records which is largely relative to the collectors bidding, the demand and economy at the time of the auction. The most sought-after Jere pieces tend to be the copper and chrome abstract (starburst, raindrops, etc., ) and organic shaped (leaves, trees, etc) wall pieces, lamps and tall scultpures produced in the 60's and 70's. The more tourist-scene pieces such as the "Paris Cafe" or bird sculptures fetch far less amounts generally under $100 on ebay. So the value of a C. Jere greatly depends on where you buy it and what it represents.
Buyer Beware: A retailer may attribute their piece to C.Jere just because it is made of metal. I've seen this happen very often, in fact, there are C. Jere attributions currently on 1stdibs that clearly are not but there is no law against false attributions on these web hosts, including ebay. I've sold pieces that exceed the quality of any "C.Jere" production but sometimes, for some it's all in a name, albeit a fictitious one. If that is how you roll than be sure to identify a signature, every authentic piece will bear it, unless it has been replated.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Several years ago Joe maintained a website providing information and an online store as a supplement to inventory he sold at Broadway Antique Market (BAM) in Chicago. He later became a realtor for Baird & Warner, specializing in Modernist properties in Chicago and the suburbs.
Joe is also President and Co-Founder of Bauhaus and Beyond and you can sometimes catch Joe as a keynote speaker at Modernist shows, but I would highly encourage you to check out his website at http://www.jetsetmodern.com/ And if you are in the market of buying or selling a Mod home.. he is your man.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Picture it... the space age of the 1960's and in a technologically advanced America where business is looking forward to modernism, the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) launched a marketing program to advance the selling of ALCOA aluminum products. The players: Austin E. Cox A.S.I.D. of Austin Enterprises and the advertising agency Ketchum, McLeod & Grove. The game: Chess.
I have typically seen the set in the 30" case but there is a variation of this set in a smaller format in which all pieces are identical in size and fit in an 18" long case. I have bought and sold these sets over the years and have seen them increase in cost considerably up to $3,000 retail.
In a recent trip to Palm Springs, I uncovered a rare set I have never seen nor have seen since. The pieces are stored in an 18"x18" box and the pawns depict a fist holding an axe. As opposed to mounting the display case it is actually the checkerboard on the opposite side. Very clever design and is a part of my private collection.
The other sets, however, are available at Modlife and retail $595 for the 18" case set and $895 for the 30" case set. And if you check out our ebay store you'll find a rare chess set made by Avon in the 1970's which where individually sold as men's aftershave and hair care products. This collectors set comes complete with boxes and most of which still have the Avon product in the bottle. SEXY!
Friday, February 13, 2009
My Funny Valentine
It's that beloved holiday that creeps up on us every year to remind us that we need to buy a Hallmark card and some chocolates, or reserve a table at a dark-lit restaurant in a lame attempt to appear, "romantic." And, if you think that is annoying, try being single and reminded that you don't have a date on Valentines, just as you were getting over your insecurities from New Years Eve. In, fact, the two holidays are so obviously consumer-driven for the "couples" that it should be labelled, "Amateur Night part 1" and "Amateur Night part 2."
It seems odd that we should even attach romance to a Christian holiday that originated by recognizing martyrs - all of whom served the church and had suffered and died for it. Mmmm.. maybe it isn't such a stretch from romanticism.
All I know is modern love is something not preached by the church or by David Bowie. And for this Chicago-born Italian, Valentines day marks the anniversary of the Valentines Day massacre which celebrates its 90th anniversary. For those of you who missed school that day, the Valentines Day massacre took place in 1929 in a Chicago garage where 7 men where gunned down after forced to face a wall by what they believed to be a police raid. These raids where common during the prohibition era. The victims where part of the Irish north side gang led by Bugs Moran and believed to be murdered by the Italian south side gang led by Al Capone. The garage was demolished in the 1960s and is now a landscaped parking lot.
Nothing romantic about this story, but it does give me an idea of what to do this weekend. I'm filling a flask of Baileys and sharing it with one of my many Irish friends, if not all I can pile into my Range Rover and drink in the parking lot of 2122 N. Clark St. where that bloodbath occurred. Maybe I'll even pick up some cannolis.
And when I get home, I have several episodes of Love American Style, that 70's sitcom that featured short vignettes of love stories often starring television personalities such as Karen Valentine and John Davidson. Ah, a perfect mod evening.
Happy V.D. all!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Now who can forget the absolute mod madness of the quirky comedy show LAUGH IN? The show always ended in a beloved segment in which the players poked out of windows on a psychedelic painted wall and threw lame one-liners at each other, most of which were bloopers resulting in hysterical laughter. This is Modlife's pick for most valued mod moment of the psychedelic 70's family hour... though it's pretty neck to neck with the Brady Bunch's "Sha Na Na" number.
Welcome to the Modlife, Inc. blog!
When it was first suggested to me to start a blog I thought, "Yeah, right, like I've got nothing else to do... blogs are self-serving pastimes for people with too much time on their hands and no one reads them anyway." I mean, seriously, all the time I spend on a computer I never read anyones blog. I do research, catch up on the news, browse ebay, sometimes craigslist, surf youtube and read endless mundane updates of friends on facebook - but never waste my time reading a blog.
So why write one? Well, there's a great deal of information that I have learned over the past few years as a dealer in Mid Century Modern furnishings that I want to document and share. but I'm not referring to the information we can all find on websites like Architonic, Design Within Reach or from the trades. All good resources, by the way - I've learned much myself from them. I'm interested in the less iconic underdogs.. the b-sides of modernism that we don't see in catalogues or in the homes of the new modern enthusiasts who are craving Eames lounge chairs and Saarinen tables. Don't misunderstand me. I love those items too. They are classics and I have them in my home as well. But there is little to teach and nothing more to learn about these standards.
So I will introduce to you what in modern design excites me. Documented, research and plucked from photo archives, I will feature modern furnishings and objects that you may never have seen or have but knew nothing about, but, hopefully will come away with an understanding and appreciation. And, just to keep myself from being too dry and preachy, I will stir in some pop culture moments in the mid-20th century history, just to add some vintage modern flavor.
I hope you enjoy the blog and visit our store and website. Thanks for reading.