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Each year, celebrated interior designers transform a luxury Manhattan home into an elegant exhibition of fine furnishings, art and technology.  This all began in 1973 when several dedicated supporters of the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club launched the Kips Bay Decorator Show House to raise critical funds for much needed after school and enrichment programs for New York City children.  Over the course of four decades, this project has grown into a must-see event for thousands of design enthusiasts and is renowned for sparking interior design trends throughout the world. 

 

DG Arts members were on hand, of course, for the event perusing an array of top designer displays one more spectacular than the last, a thoroughly-rewarding and educational experience for all.  The entire event was perfectly suited to DG Arts designer aspirants and one can only imagine what next year's event will bring.

 

Following the showcase, many of the members headed to the West Side and to one of New York's newest trendy eateries aptly named Bellini at 483 Columbus Avenue in the heart of the neighborhoods' best locales.  The restaurant's co-owner Victoria went all out welcoming the group with a cornucopia of delicious Italian delights accompanied by her tantalizing imported wines.  The Neapolitan brick-oven pizza was an all-around favorite but all coursesespecially the Marsala chickenwere close runner-ups.  Throughout the evening, everyone had ample opportunity to reminisce on the early-evening's design event and to make new friends while enjoying the old.  Particularly accommodating was Artem, the groups handsome Russian-born waiter, who kept the courses coming at record speed and every wine glass filled to the brim.  And all that, with a charming Slavic smile.

An evening to remember and certainly one to look forward to again in the coming year.  A hearty thanks to Louise Devenish, the group's facilitator, for making this rare event possible.

 

Claude Brickell

  

Wharton Harris Esherick is the acknowledged founder of the early 20th century Studio Furniture Movement, and Esherick, Sam Maloof (of California) and George Nakashima are referred to as the movement's first generation.  All three possessed a reverence for beautiful woods and for accentuating visible construction techniques.  They pioneered their crafts in their individual studios and procured their own clients, as well.  They conceived their pieces as complete works of art taking precise execution from conception to finished product issuing in this modernist furnishings era. 

The DG Group was off then to both New Jersey and Pennsylvania on a trek to discover firsthand the actual studios of two of these first-generation icons.  The tour, expertly conceived and conducted by DG founder Louise Devenish, saw the group arriving first to visit the studio of George Nakashima situated on six acres of woodland in New Hope, New Jersey.  Upon arrival, all were greeted by none other than the master craftsman's own daughter Mira Nakashima, herself a noted furniture designer who spent years working alongside her immanent father in his studio.  Who better to give visitors a rich and thorough account of the father's legendary life and work.  Mira told of her father's early wanderings that began deep in the forests of Washington State then on to some of the most beautiful natural terrains America has to offer.  His extensive travels, they were told, likewise exposed him to the best in traditional and avant-garde art and architecture of his time.  All lead Nakashima to eventually discover moral, spiritual and aesthetic truths which would sustain him and his work throughout his extensive career.

Following this vivid experience, the group then headed south into Pennsylvania and to the Cedar Hollow Inn in Malvern for lunch.  The restaurant, a rambling early-20th century clapboard structure, has wide-planked floors and wall-to-wall-paned windows welcoming in the brightest of light.  There, fine dining was promptly served and all enjoyed a lively conversation on what they had partaken in that morning.

After lunch, the entourage made its way back from Malvern close to the state line to the Wharton Harris Esherick House resting appropriately among a forest of soaring trees on a thick, virgin landscape.  Designed by Esherick himself of natural-hued woods and faux-clay plaster, the structure reflects well the earthiness of the designer's own eclectic tastes.  Within its confines of the residence, the group discovered the very studio where Esherick spent the last thirty years of his life designing, carving and polishing his renowned pieces.  An enthusiast of writer Henry David Thoreau, Esherick had early on found his calling in nature and his works throughout his career carried through with this raw, natural purity.

No three designers of interior furnishings influenced more the development of modernist American craftsmanship than Wharton Esherick, George Nakashima and Sam Maloof.  The group's visit to the first two's well-preserved workshop environments not only enthralled but enlightened all to the importance of the founders of this early 20th century movement.  One can only imagine what Devenish will come up with next for the group.

Claude Brickell

 

 

Portrait of Mrs. Huth Jackson (c.1907) oil on canvass by John Singer Sargent
Michael Altman Fine Art & Advisory Services, LLC
 
Winter Antiques Show Opens in New York, 2017
 
Until the TEFAF Show debuted in the fall of 2016, the Winter Antiques Show was New York's most anticipated antique fair event, both held at the New Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan now devoted exclusively to the arts.  But the two shows differ in that the former was almost exclusively European-based dealers whereas the Winter Antiques Show (January 20-29) is almost exclusively dealers who are American-based providing a wonderful contrast.
 
The Devenish Group, of course, was in attendance with tours conducted professionally by Louise Devenish, the Group's founder and director.  Dividing into two groups, Louise navigated the gigantic hall introducing members to an array of exquisite display booths including such names as Hirschl & Adler of Fifth Avenue and Throckmorton Fine Arts on E. 57th Street, the latter displaying rare photographs from its largest worldwide collection of the painter Frida Kahlo, among others.
 
The show featured decorative pieces and works of art from the American Colonial through the Mid-Century Modern periods, as well as some contemporary galleries peppered in.   Paintings ranged from the Renaissance to modern with a host of stunning works by John Singer Sargent.  Some of the perennial favorites of Americana visited were Nathan Liverant & Son and Jeffrey Tillou Antiques.
 
Recently renamed the Wade Thompson Arts Center, the East 67th Street Armory is now totally devoted to the arts and presenting film, music and theater with public funding from the New York State Council of the Arts.  The Winter Antiques Show itself has been a major fundraiser for the 125-year-old East Side House Settlement, New York's oldest social service organization now located in the Bronx, which is a beacon of hope in one of the nation's poorest congressional districts.
 
Following the show, the Group headed for the Asian-specialties restaurant Fatty Fish on E. 64th Street where a party-like festivity ensued.  The preplanned dinner consisted of exquisite Asian delights along with complimentary wines.  Four of the restaurant's attendees were with a Chinese-based deepwater artifacts salvage entity bringing with them some of their recent finds, jars. bowels and urns dating back to the Marco Polo era, thrilling to view and even more so to handle.  All attending were 'true blue' DG supporters, and despite the gale-force winds and heavy rain, each made it to this fine, intimate restaurant to exuberantly welcome in the Chinese New Year of the 'Fire Rooster.'
 
A hearty thanks to Louise Devenish for providing yet another memorable DG event.  Louise hopes others will find time, as well, to visit the Armory on their own and enjoy some of the other amazing programs the facility is offering for the 2017 spring season.
 
Claude Brickell
 
 
Devenish Group is pleased to announce the inaugural issue of our new website - with hearty appreciation and congratulations to its creator Mr. Troy Adams.
 
Many thanks also go to DG member Mr. Russ Schleipman whose award-winning photography graces our masthead with art from his cameral lens that transports us to locales rich with tranquility and allure. In our, too often, hectic 21st Century lifestyles, Russ’s photographs are a restorative and welcomed escape for those of us who value artistry, beauty and mankind.
DG Baroque Salon, November 2014 - 001
 
Magnificence, grandeur, wealth, energy, opulence.  These are few words to describe adequately the art and design of the Baroque period.  On November 3, Devenish Group members and guests gathered at Dalva Brothers, Inc., on the Upper East Side to celebrate and revel in the sumptuous Baroque delicacies on display.  The hosts of the evening, Louise Devenish and Leon and Adam Dalva, took participants on a pilgrimage through the era, object by object.  Objects contemplated included a wood and wrought iron sleigh made for the Dauphin, an Italian carved walnut mirror executed by the master carver for the Duke of Parma, a Louis XIV Boulle clock known as "The Harpy Clock", and a splendid German marquetry and carved cabinet with an embellished façade in the form of a Palladian building front.
 
All objects exemplified the energy and dynamism of the time period and proved to be ripe objects for engaged conversation.  The group included period experts including Elaine Banks Stainton from Doyle, Mark Jacoby from Philip Colleck Ltd., the couture and textile experts Gabriella Pannunzio and Valeri Soll, as well as Meggi Sweeney Smith, a dancer in the Baroque style, all of whom brought together contiguous expertise of the Baroque period.  It was an evening of sensuous decadence that will not soon be forgotten.