Thursday, June 9, 2011

Screen Saver


Coco Chanel loved them...

Coco Chanel's apartment 
...famously owning thirty two. 
Legendary decorator Frances Elkins liked them on the wall...

Architect David Adler's sitting room, decorated by his sister,
Francis Elkins, courtesy of David Adler, Architect: The Elements of Style.
                                         ...and by the fire.
The living room of the Mrs. Evelyn Marshall Field House,
courtesy of David Adler, Architect: The Elements of Style.
In fact, it's nearly impossible to find a decorator who doesn't love screens. They use them here, there and everywhere. In the bedroom, behind the bed...

photo: James Merrell for House Beautiful
Bedroom designed by Miles Redd.

Photo: William Waldron for Elle Decor.
Designer: Lee Mindel

photo: Michael Mundy
Michael S. Smith, courtesy of Michael S. Smith: Elements of Style.

Eliza Bolen's bedroom, courtesy of Bright Young Things: New York.
Or near it...

photo: Robert Tractenberg for House Beautiful
Designer Mary McDonald uses a flannel covered screen to hide a mini bar.

In the living and sitting areas...
Sara Bengur Interiors

photo: Simon Upton for Elle Decor.
Lisa Fine's Paris apartment

Suzanne Kasler

There are so many ways to use screens. In fact, in my humble opinion, a screen is the interior equivalent of a scarf: a chic layering piece, far more versatile than most of us give it credit for. But get creative--quick!--because screens really help elevate the look of a room and, right now, there are a lot of great ones available at auction. 

First up, there is a very pretty Japanese lacquer four panel screen available at Stair Galleries in Hudson, New York, on June 10th, estimate $200-400.
Black lacquer Japanese screen, at auction in New York on
June 10th, estimate $200- 400.

It really reminds me of the one Suzanne Kasler used behind this sideboard, below.

Suzanne Kasler
There are several Coromandel screens coming up at auction, my personal favorite, because they are just so elegant and their muted palettes go well with so many interiors. Coromandel screens are a great auction buy; if you have any doubt, just go to 1st Dibs and check: even the smaller, four panel screens are routinely priced at $3,000 and up! So do what those dealers do, and buy at auction.
A four panel Coromandel screen, circa 1950,
at auction in Michigan on June 12th, estimate $400-600
Two four panel screens in Michigan: a circa 1950s Coromandel at Midwest Auction Gallery in Oxford, on June 12th, estimate $400-600, and a similar version at DuMouchelles, Detroit's long time auction house, on June 12th. The latter appears to be quite new, but is still lovely, with a very reasonable estimate of $100-200. (Note that if you ever feel the photos are inadequate, write the auction house and request additional pictures!)

Chinese Coromandel screen, at auction in Detroit
 on June 12th, estimate $100-200.

Windsor Smith 

Christie's in has this bigger, six panel, early 20th century Coromandel, not unlike the one Windsor Smith used, above,  coming up in their House Sale in New York,
June 21st, estimate $3,000-5,000.

Early 20th century Chinese Coromandel, estimate $3-5,000,
in New York on June 21st.

The Japanese do artful lacquer screens as well, like this late 20th century six panel floor screen, at Christie's in New York on June 21st, estimate, $2,000-3,000.

But there are stand out screens at auction in the next few weeks of every variety. Painted or fabric screens  look lovely in the bedroom or bathroom, as you can see...

photo: Laura Resen for Elle Decor.
Lou Marotta

Bunny Williams uses a screen in a show house, above, and a bathroom, below, courtesy of Point of View: Three Decades of Decorating Elegant and Comfortable Houses

Try this early 20th century tapestry folding screen, at auction at Sloans & Kenyon in Chevy Chase, Maryland on June 19th estimate $700-900.

Tapestry folding screen, at auction June 19th,
Chevy Chase, estimate $700-900.

...this pretty, pretty polychrome six panel floor screen, at Christie's in New York on June 22nd, estimate $700-900.

Six panel painted floor screen, at auction in New York on June 22nd,
estimate $700-900.
...or this funky printed six panel dressing screen, at auction at Weiderseim Associates in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania,estimate $100-200.

Six panel printed screen

And then there are the limelight hoggers: those scene stealing screens. This decoupage folding screen might just be worth the hefty shipping fee, at Christie's in London on June 29th, estimate $1,600-2,400. (Forgive the weird cropping, but I just had to blow it up for the great detail!)

Decoupage four panel screen, in London on June 29th,
estimate $1,600-2,400.
Another scene stealer: Max Kuehne is highly coveted--and collected. This three panel gold leaf and lacquer screen, circa 1935, could really make a room. At Christie's in New York on June 16th, estimate $7,000-9,000.

Max Kuehne screen, estimate $7,000-9,000,
at auction June 16th in New York.
And finally, you can't get a bigger scene stealer than an set piece from the original Ziegfeld Theater! This pair of art deco canvas panels, at Christie's in New York on June 22nd have an estimate $3,000-5,000.

Art Deco canvas from the Ziegfeld. At auction in New York on June 22nd,
estimate $3,000-5,000.

I close with a couple more shots of inspiration--long post, I realize, but screens have a way of doing that to me! I hope my passion is contagious and you're accessorizing with one soon!

A dramatic 1950s lacquer screen, above, and painted wooden screen, below, courtesy of
Bunny Williams' Point of View: Three Decades of Decorating Elegant and Comfortable Houses

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