Modern Art, Trad Setting
I'm on record as saying this is my all-time favorite Michael Smith-designed room. My mom and longtime friends can attest to that as I've talked about it for years. No one else seems to love it as much as I do (it received a tepid response when I posted it in 2007) but one of my designer friends does admit that the room is, "a really fresh take on a classic look." We both think the juxtaposition of Conrad Marca-Relli's painting with refined antiques makes it. (Not to mention what Aesthete describes as, "the funkily unexpected hydrangea print" on the loveseat.)
Marca-Relli was an American artist closely associated with Abstract Expressionism. During the Great Depression he was one of many artists who found work through the WPA Federal Art Project, and later in the 1950s he began experimenting with collage. Historians cite Jackson Pollack and Willem de Kooning as major influences. The Marca-Relli collages that are celebrated today were often created using fragments of canvas or linen overpainted with bold strokes. Personally, I'm drawn to the calligraphic nature of the brushstrokes. (Visit Hollis Taggart Galleries to learn more.)
Above, an iconic Slim Aarons photograph is propped nonchalantly. Smith is known for weaving together lush color and pattern, as well as multi-cultural influences. Details follow below.
Apart from being a personal favorite, this room is such a great example of what gallery owner Emily Amy discussed last week -- using modern or contemporary art with traditional furniture. In case you're curious, this was the living room of Lori Laughlin and Mossimo Giannulli. Margaret Russell produced the story for Elle Décor (circa 2000?).
When I was working on last year's "See How They Wrap" tastemakers' holiday series, I asked Kelly Robson about her plans. She said, "Oh, all I'm doing this December is black grosgrain on brown kraft paper." Turns out Michael Smith feels that's the only way to go (from the Needleman interview). Image via domino.