3 Electrifying Antiques Shows Are Coming to Christie’s This April
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Antiques collectors rejoice: Christie’s will hold its The Collector series of online sales in New York, London, and Paris at the same time this year in all three cities. “We are really excited to be presenting this inaugural international edition of The Collector in April, providing the decorative arts market with a notable innovation to the global sales calendar which enhances and streamlines the buying experience for new and existing clients,” says Nick Sims, Christie’s global managing director of classic art.
The auction house had previously held three unique sales at different times of the year in each city. However, driven by “increased demand in the category”—which includes furniture, silver, ceramics, glass, clocks, and other objets from the 16th to the 20th centuries—Christie’s will now hold the sales concurrently in all three cities. “Many of our existing clients for The Collector buy and bid across all three sale locations and across each category within the decorative arts,” notes Sims, who adds that 65% of new buyers to Christie’s globally entered via online sales in 2022.
To reinforce the global, and singular, nature of its first-ever international edition of the sale, Christie’s has partnered with designer Jane Schulak and events designer David Stark to produce pre-sale exhibitions in each city highlighting selections from the lots offered. The tastemaker duo—who co-authored At the Artisan’s Table, which celebrates decorative arts traditions like Aptware—created coordinating vignettes with a consistent visual motif linking all three, each featuring tromp l’oeil treillage but in different nearly neon colorways for New York, Paris, and London.
“Treillage, reinterpreted in graphic fluorescence, is the great connector between the three cities. It’s grounded in history but reinterpreted with a pop sensibility and it works beautifully as a backdrop for all the objects in the sale, irrespective of period and origin,” explain Schulak and Stark. For additional consistency, all three spaces feature the same aubergine base wall color and painted patterned floors.
“It was essential to establish a visual thread between the geographies, so that we were able to seamlessly incorporate such a wide variety of objects that might not otherwise find themselves in the same room,” say Schulak and Stark. “It was also important to find a way to add levity to the proceedings and avoid bowing to the pressure of freezing these objects in ‘period’ rooms. The unexpected pops of blazing color”—magenta in London, taxi cab yellow in New York, and red in Paris—"give a context that is very now with a respectful wink to history.”
In each city, Schulak’s and Stark’s vignettes are anchored in selected lots on offer commingled with contemporary artisan works: Sourabh Gupta’s paper flowers in New York; Laurent Poumarat’s papier-mâché candle sticks in London; and Jean Louis Mennesson’s painted wooden “vessels” in Paris. “In real time, we show how styles, materials, or techniques are passed down from generation to generation and are made fresh through a contemporary lens,” the tastemakers say. These works “provide a sly wink that keeps the rooms from being ‘period pieces.’”
Further, their presentation brings into relief how dynamic decorating with antiques in contemporary spaces can be. It’s a potent design trend that has skyrocketed recently as supply chain challenges have prompted designers to reconsider antique and vintage furniture options, while consumers have rekindled an appreciation for craftsmanship along with a more personal, one-of-a-kind style.
To satisfy that age-old thrill of discovery, shoppers have increasingly turned to vintage and antiques selling platforms old and new, from estate sales to dealers who sell on Instagram. With their competitive bidding format, auction sales intensify the buying buzz, as designer Sheila Bridges recently shared on Instagram regarding two purchases—a painting of James Baldwin and an Italian, neoclassical-style demilune table—she made at Christie’s sale of Andre Leon Talley’s collection.
“Well worth the stressful bidding war to have a colorful painting of this incredibly important Harlem American born writer, poet, artist, activist looking at me with those big, expressive eyes and reminding me how so many talented Black creatives (like he and ALT) constantly struggled to make a better path forward for younger creatives like me,” Bridges said of the Baldwin portrait.
Christie’s is betting that syncing its The Collector sales across three cities will only escalate the enthusiasm for antiques buying. “The vignettes…really highlight the exciting potential that the three sales offer to buyers who are passionate about craftsmanship, provenance, beauty and design,” says Sims. The pre-sale exhibitions will be on view in New York from April 10-18, in London from April 11-18, and in Paris from April 14-20. Bidding on the over 600 lots opens April 4 and runs through April 18 in London, April 19 in New York, and April 20 in Paris.
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