Style Court

Nine Years of Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes

10.23.2009

Interchangeable Parts: Mary McDonald (and Another Sale)


Time for another installment of "Interchangeable Parts." Interior designers are known for frequently changing their own rooms, often acquiring new must-have possessions and parting with things they tire of, so it's always interesting to see which pieces they hang on to throughout the years, and how they make them work from house to house.


Mary McDonald inherited from her grandmother an ethereal painting of clouds by Southern California landscape artist, Clyde Eugene Scott (1884 - 1959). When her Hollywood bungalow was photographed by Melanie Acevedo for House & Garden, November 2001, the painting was hanging in her small, icy-blue dining room. (Images three and four above.) And in the same house, her collection of bone pagodas appeared in a den (again photographed by Acevedo for domino, January/February 2006).

When the decorator moved to a grand 1920s Beverly Hills house designed by Elmer Grey, the Scott painting and pagodas came along, this time juxtaposed with dark wood and distinctive paneling. The soft clouds really work in both settings, and the art reminds me of one of Claudia Thompson's ideas: She suggests hunting for old damaged landscapes at garage sales and flea markets and, if there happens to be a pretty patch of sky in the painting, salvaging just that and framing it.

Images one and two are cropped from Coral von Zumwat's photos for California Style, December 2008.

Back in 2007, I did a different post about Mary's re-use of zebra stools, pillows made from Brunschwig & Fils "Le Zebre," bone-inlaid chairs, and her signature blue-and-white ceramics.

Shifting gears back to sample sales, Virginia Johnson will have her biggest sale to date with most items ranging from $20 to $50. Look for wool shawls, coats, clothes and accessories. Thursday through Saturday, November 5 through 7 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Awol Gallery, 78 Ossington Avenue in Toronto.

Last two images courtesy Virginia Johnson.

12 comments:

An Aesthete's Lament said...

Claudia Thompson's advice reminds me a painter (name forgotten, a woman, wonderful talent) who was much praised in art circles in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Her paintings were indeed that—patches of sky, as if they were all that survived of grander, larger, landscapes. The paintings would have a bit of tree branch peeking in, et cetera, which highlighted the artistic conceit.

Style Court said...

Aesthete -- her work sounds wonderful. I'll have to do some research! Thanks.

Jane said...

That is a really beautiful canvas and it just shows that quality always looks good and should be transplantable. That is an interesting idea about the sky sections... I might try it, thank you for the tip. xoxo

Style Court said...

Jane, I guess just hunting for a painting like that would add a new dimension to flea marketing :)

Laura Casey Interiors said...

Great post. There is a store that I used to love to go to on the Upper West Side in NYC that just has old remnant art- almost like a salvage yard for art. I forgot about it until I read this post. If I ever come across the name of it or stop in I will let you know. They always had a mix of interesting and beautiful old pieces.

Style Court said...

Oh sounds intriguing Laura!

susie q said...

Claudia Thompson never has a bad idea! This one is fabulous.

Mrs. Blandings said...

It's amazing how different that painting looks on the different walls.

Rebecca@Harmony and Home said...

Some people have all the luck to be born into fabulous families! :)

Simply Colette said...

Just found your blog. Love that lemon motif! Hope your having a lovely weekend. :)

Style Court said...

Thanks Colette!

The Peak of Chic said...

You have an eagle eye, Courtney. So interesting to see the paintings and pagodas in different settings.