Our Grand Prize Winner
In September The Antiques Diva & Co held our very first giveaway, Tell Me About Your First Time at The Paris Flea Market. Our Grand Prize Winner My 1st Time at the Paris Flea Market is Bev Martinets, who won a VIP Antiques Diva Day Tour at the Paris Flea Market with one of our Paris Diva Guides including LUNCH at our favorite restaurant in Paul Bert Serpette and a Champagne Toast to finish the tour! Plus, Bev will receive an Antiques Diva tote bag to carry her purchases!
Bev’s story made me smile and made me sad! Here’s Bev’s story:
Meet Bev Martinets
Grand Prize Winner My 1st Time at the Paris Flea Market
Well, I suppose I’m can’t officially enter the contest because I haven’t actually made it to the Paris flea market(s), but I TRIED REALLY HARD!!! I worked for an airline a few years ago, I had a layover in Landstuhl, Germany. It was a risky feat to attempt a trip to Paris and back in the time we actually had, but what the heck, how often is a girl a few hours from Paris. My fellow FA and I happened upon a most charming consignment shop in the town owned by an even more charming lady by the name of Angelica and we told her of our deep desire to get to Paris. She was so kind and helpful, she closed her shop and took us to the train station and explained the “ticket machine” and off we went to Kaiserslautern (“K-town”) to purchase our tickets for the next day. We found some very helpful people at the ticket office, and the next thing we knew, we had booked a very expensive, first class ticket on the high-speed train to Paris for the next morning leaving at 6:00 a.m.
We were up at 3:00 a.m. and on our way to PARIS!!!! We dined in first class, watched in amazement as we flew through the beautiful countryside and were giddy with excitement for our first trip to Paris. We arrived at the Gare de l’Est and were off, spending the day navigating through the City. Through that process, we made 3 lifelong friends, one who became our personal guide in the Metro. We ate crepes, chocolate and drank wine. We ran and strolled through the streets, we laughed, we took photos, we shopped, bought our berets and Swarovski crystal charms….. but never found a single flea market of any kind though we searched, as work beckoned us away.
I’ve always wanted to take one of your tours as I was an antique dealer for a number of years and I’ve actually inquired about your tours in the past. I even applied for a job as one of your guides a number of years ago!! So this is my “hoping” that I could win and then in the future I would be able to #TellMeAboutYourFirstTime story at the #ParisFleaMarket. So fingers crossed!!!
It sounds like Bev’s time in Paris was wonderful and full of adventure, a lasting souvenir! I had to laugh out loud at Bev’s adventure: soooo many tourists search for the Paris Flea Market – le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen – and don’t find it! In fact, many get off the metró and are sure they are in the wrong spot, so they leave! Bev, you surely deserve an expert Diva Guide to make sure you arrive safely at the flea market, and then to introduce you the fabulous finds and treasures!
For directions, read our blog: How to Find the Paris Flea Market.
Congratulations to our winning stories!!! And thank you so much to everyone who entered!!!
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva
Identifying French Furniture Periods
If there’s one thing I’ve learned since falling hopelessly in love with an adorable Frenchman it’s that French people definitely appreciate the finer things in life. They’re famous for l’art de vivre. From fine wine to fine furniture, from the Eiffel Tower to the fields of Provence, the people of France surround themselves with art and furniture that spans hundreds of years of impeccable style.
The task of identifying French furniture that’s often two hundred years old can be daunting though. How do you tell a Louis XV buffet from an Empire buffet? What’s the difference between a period piece and a style piece? There’s so much to learn. But you don’t need a Ph.D in Art History to grasp the basics. I’m making everything easy for you. Our Timeline of French Furniture Periods takes away the guesswork. From the French Renaissance to les Années Folles, you’ll learn how to identify the styles you love best by following Louis — our Frenchie (which you’ll see a lot), on a trip through time as we look at the various French furniture periods and the primary motifs and elements of design for each.
What’s most important to remember when trying to decipher who’s who and what’s what is that the periods in French furniture design follow the time periods associated directly with the reign of a particular king, politician or military leader. While each king’s style differentiated his reign from the others, there’s much overlapping of styles. Take the acanthus leaf for instance, it’s used in almost every period, the swirls and curls just vary.
The difference from one monarch’s style to another is usually only a matter of a few degrees of decadence, with a couple of transitional styles thrown in between for good measure. When a piece was actually crafted during a particular king’s reign, Louis XV for example, it’s identified as a Louis XV buffet or a period buffet. It will often have the stamp of a known ébéniste and will be more valuable than a style piece, which has the style motifs typical of the Louis XV period, but was made at a time after the Beloved’s reign — then it’s referred to as a buffet in the style of Louis XV or a Louis XV style buffet.
For nearly two centuries, the House of Bourbon ruled not only the courts of France, but also its worlds of fashion and decor. The “Fab Four,” Louis XIII, XIV, XV and XVI, had a huge influence on the arts and design. These four famous kings introduced French society to music, art, fashion and furnishings. Louis XV style is the epitome of French furniture at its finest. The period is regarded by many as the Golden Age of French furniture, a period of grand creativity, influenced by scandal and royal mistresses like Madame de Pompadour and Madame du Barry. It was all about comfort in the 18th century and Louis XV style was designed for the comfort and glorification of beautiful women. The classically French bergère was introduced. This cushy armchair has stood the test of time and blends stylishly into the most contemporary of rooms.
But French furniture lost its position of dominance with the execution of Louis XVI and The French Revolution, making the early 19th century the last great period in French furniture making.
Whether you mix it up with the delectable designs of different periods or let one style dominate your decor, what’s your favorite? Let us know about the styles you love best.
AD&CO Holiday Sales Event
This holiday give the gift of travel to someone you care about… or to yourself!
To quote Audrey Hepburn: Paris is always a good idea!
1 Week Only
+20% off our most popular Paris tour
The Antiques Diva & Co Paris Flea Market Tour
400 euros for 1 – 2 people
Use Code: ParisDivaStyle
Book by Tuesday, November 30, 2016, travel by November 30, 2017: Save $100-150 Euros!
The Original Paris Flea Market Full Day Tour
Available Saturday and Sunday 10am-6pm
Let our expert Antiques Guides pick you up at your hotel and take you to the famed Puce de Paris St Ouen (Paris Flea Market), complete with 15 districts, over 2,000 vendors and 7 miles of alleyways! It’s easy for one to get lost in the maze of alleys and streets, but our guides know the market like the back of their hand. We weave into nooks and crannies you’d never find on your own. We custom plan a route based on your style and budget, maximizing your time and money. Our Guides have relationships with many vendors and translate and negotiate on your behalf. Use our in-house AD&CO Logistics international shipping services to ship your purchases home; we can also liaise you with a preferred shipper to get your items home.
As the only official Exclusive Guide of the Paris Flea Markets Paul Bert Serpette, The Antiques Diva & Co has been chosen because of our long term relationships and close contacts with les Puces. The best way to get a bargain at the Paris Flea Market is to be a local… And it just so happens we are! We can typically save clients via negotiations on antiques what they pay for our tour. Plus we save you time in addition to money. We custom plan a tour for you, helping you navigate the many markets and thousands of vendors to find just what you’re looking for. You don’t waste time digging through things you’re not looking for, but rather maximize your shopping time (and dollar) on a pre-choreographed tour.
Our Paris Diva Guides … we’re just fun. Not only do we take the stress out of your day by translating and negotiating on your behalf but we tell you inside stories about living in Paris, our favorite haunts, secrets about Parisian life. But buyer beware… the very first Paris Guide hired was a client who was so obsessed with shopping les Puces I asked her, why don’t you come on staff and help lead these tours! You too might just fall in love with Paris and decide to move overseas!
Promotion begins November 23, 2016, and ends November 30, 2016. Full payment is due at time of booking and is non-refundable. Airfare and hotels not included. Contact AD&CO for details.
Meet My Colleague Andrew Skipper
My colleague Andrew Skipper & I have spent countless dinners discussing Diva Business and just simply drinking too much wine over long lingering meals. Our friendship has been formed around the table… and one of the things I love most is when he is visiting me at my house in Berlin. I make dinner and he whisks open my cupboards and takes it upon himself to set my table. He always pulls dishes I’ve forgotten I had out of the back corners and sets a stunning table. As we embark upon the holiday season I asked Andrew to share with you a few of his tips for setting a table for the holiday season.
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva™
Growing up, we always sat down for family dinners together. Even with conflicting schedules, dinner time was an important part of the day to reconnect with each other. As the oldest child, it was my responsibility to set the table each evening. Perhaps it is because of this that I still set a table every day, even if I’m dining alone. There is something dignified about laying out the place setting, folding the napkins, arranging the stemware just so. Partaking in this tradition grounds me. It also challenges me, in an enjoyable way, as I come up with fresh ways to mix china patterns and create beautiful, although often simple, centerpieces. With Thanksgiving, the most anticipated meal of the year for most Americans, just days away, allow me to share my table which incorporates European antiques (some sourced on Antiques Diva Tours), and a sense of holiday festivity. After all, it’s not just about the food, as presentation plays a very important factor in creating a warm atmosphere for loved ones.
I took inspiration from a vintage black and gold tole French cachepot I recently purchased. I decided that the entire scheme would be gold, black, silver, and red. This time of year especially, I love lots of red roses in the house, so a simple mound of them fills the cachepot. I chose vibrant red napkins to complement the flowers along with black faux bois patterned placemats to ground each place setting. For place card holders, I used little brass swans that I picked up at a flea market in Belgium with The Antiques Diva. i also used antique silver fox knife rests that I purchased in Berlin. Adding to the menagerie of animal figures, a pair of vintage silver peacocks, found at Portobello Market in London, survey the table from either side of the centerpiece. Since no dinner table is complete without candlelight, I opted for a pair of English antique brass candlesticks with paw feet.
Simple white dinner plates with a basket weave patterned rim rest on gold chargers and are topped by black and white toile patterned salad plates. The flatware is Ralph Lauren and the stemware is a mixture of antique and new. I always keep a bottle of bubbly on hand, so for this table, I decided to bring out my vintage champagne bucket I bought in Belgium. After all, the holidays are the perfect time to raise up a glass and toast the many blessings we have. Wishing you all a very happy holiday season!
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells! Santa’s on his way!! He’s making a list of those who have been naughty and nice… and I’ve got to tell you… I have been very very good this year. And thus… my wish list is super long! With a world of antiques available at my every whim… where do I go to shop for antiques? London of course! Two of my favorite antiquing sources for the holidays – or any time of year – are Alfies and Grays Antiques. You’re invited to shop with them too at their special after-hours Christmas Shopping Party at Alfies Antique Market on Thursday, December 1 from 5pm-9pm.
But don’t worry if you’re not in London this holiday… their gift guides are jammed packed with presents fit for a diva. Uhm… I’m just saying… Here’s my Wish List in case anyone of you wants to start their Christmas shopping with me in mind (wink, wink)!
Louis Vuitton Trunks
Louis Vuitton is timeless chic when it comes to fashion and handbags… but with travel accessories!? Get out of here. I’m ready to hop a steamer for my next holiday. Who wouldn’t love these fabulous vintage Louis Vuitton Trunks? And if you’re not planning un grand voyage they can be used for stylish storage or simply as a decorative accessory in your home
Haori Kimono C 1920s
1920’s Diamond and Ruby Ring
Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a jewelry fanatic. This ring is just glamorous and stylish all at once! A bit over the top? Yes. But who said that was a bad thing?
Gold Tone Snake Necklace
I’m in love with this exotic snake necklace. Paired with a simple dress, this baby has chic written all over it!
Red Chanel Bag circa 1980s
Vintage Chanel. Need I say any more?
Tiffany & Co 18 C Gold Earrings
Classic, timeless, chic. These earrings would go with just about anything or for that matter… nothing at all!
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®
I’ve got Thailand on the mind. The Antiques Diva & Co has launched Asian antiques buying tours in 6 countries. You can now book an Asian antique buying tour to Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia – along with our repertoire in 8 European countries. I am delighted to announce that I have teamed up with MyAntiqueSchool and I and my colleague Angela Somwaiya, our head Diva Guide in Asia and owner of Paul’s Antiques, Bangkok’s best source for South East Asian Antiques – will be teaching an introductory course on Asian antiques with MyAntiqueSchool, a new online antiques school where the world’s best experts in antiques are coming together to teach.
All the details for our online Asian antiques course are included in the press release below, contact the school directly to book your class.
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva™
Introducing Our Online Asian Antiques Course
Award winning Internet company, MyAntiqueSchool, has teamed up with Toma Clark Haines, CEO of the world’s most acclaimed Antiques Touring company, The Antiques Diva & Co and Angela Somwaiya, owner of Paul’s Antiques, Thailand who is one of Asia’s most knowledgeable antiques dealers and is the head Antiques Diva Guide for Southeast Asia. The collaboration is to give enthusiasts, collectors and designers access to experts on buying Asian Antiques for the first time. Now wherever you live in the world, you can get access to Asian Antiques Diva Expert Angela Somwaiya through the MyAntiqueSchool online classroom, and receive personal tutoring in a vibrant community with other enthusiasts.
During the unique and collaborative online course Angela Somwaiya and Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva™, take you on a journey through South East Asian antiques using on-location video lectures filmed at Paul’s Antiques and other exclusive locations in Bangkok. The subjects are then discussed and debated in the online classroom, with weekly assignments evaluated by Angela. Course subjects covered include colonial era furniture, Burmese teak, lacquerware, hill tribe furniture, hilltribe baskets, temple relics, architectural items and Buddha statues.
Asian Antiques Course Topics
The popularity of using Buddha statues in interior design is increasing to such an extent that the team has dedicated the whole of lesson two to Buddha statues and their varied mudras (hand positions). Angela discusses various Buddha postures (and which ones are rare), how to display Buddha statues in their new homes to show respect for their heritage and spirituality (e.g., when brought back for interior design purposes). Most importantly, Angela also shares correct legal and culturally acceptable practices for exporting Buddha statues from Southeast Asia to Europe or the US. Finally, Angela goes on to reveal the best-kept secrets on how to identify which region certain Buddha statues are from, and key characteristics which denote different style periods.
The Antiques Diva™ team gives you insights into other South East Asian statues including the pantheon of Nats, various Disciples, Attendants and Angels as well as their meanings, positions, history and values. This lesson also touches on Mythical beasts, Hindu Gods and Goddesses, statuettes and folk characters.
In the final and fourth lecture, Toma Clark Haines and Angela Somwaiya cover the all-important value of South East Asian antiques and how to price them.
Elspeth Briscoe, CEO and Founder of MyAntiqueSchool commented:
“The MyAntiqueSchool philosophy is that knowledge and history of antiques and collectibles in some areas will be lost, as future generations read fewer books, and crafting of materials isn’t always passed through to the next generation. MyAntiqueSchool is a perfect digital vehicle to ensure that we preserve this knowledge, and connect people with true experts to keep our history, skills and craftsmanship alive. Asian Antiques is a popular market, with a clear need for access to experts worldwide, especially for the enthusiast and designer markets.”
“MyAntiqueSchool has teamed up with world experts in the antiques and collectibles community so that enthusiasts, collectors and professionals, wherever they are, get the opportunity to learn from the best, including board advisor and investor, Joanna Hardy, known as Antiques Roadshow expert and lecturer at Christie’s in London.”
MyAntiqueSchool is a unique business founded in London by former eBay and Skype executive Elspeth Briscoe. MyAntiqueSchool is partnering with world experts in antiques to teach subjects and keep craftsmanship alive around the globe. Courses include: Understanding Ceramics, Fine Jewelry, Upcycling and Art Deco, with more courses and tutors coming each month. The following expert antiques advisors are already involved in the initiative to become the world’s first online education hub for learning about antiques and collectibles.”
Toma Clark Haines, CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co explained,
“Our mission is to make European and Asian antiques accessible. Working with a team of 24 locally-based guides The Antiques Diva™ & Co takes clients on one on one customized antique buying tours in 14 countries in Europe and Asia. We translate, negotiate and ship antiques helping clients navigate the international waters when it comes to global sourcing. We are the leading resource for helping newcomers to Asia source antique abroad. In this course we examine what to buy and why in South East Asia.”
Paul’s Antiques Owner, Antiques Diva Guide and Asian Antiques Expert Angela Somwaiya said:
“I’m thrilled to be sharing my knowledge and expertise gathered over 24 years of living in Asia with others in this dynamic format. It has always been my desire to increase cross-cultural understanding through the sharing of knowledge, and I believe that the future lies in the combination of cutting edge technology and the understanding and application of ancient wisdom. MyAntiqueSchool makes this combination possible and I’m so excited to be a part of it.”
Toma Clark Haines continues,
“Our job is to be cultural liaisons– to be diplomats of the antiques trade – giving our clients and students unprecedented access into the local antiques scene in each of our 14 tour countries in Europe and Asia.”
The benefit of being able to learn online is that students get access to some of the most knowledgeable experts in the world, that otherwise they would be unable to meet. MyAntiqueSchool students receive weekly video lectures and are set optional assignments, on which tutors give personal feedback. They also have a downloadable guide, which can be printed off and kept, and access to the video tutorials for a year after the course has ended. Students interact in an easy-to-use online classroom where they can chat with other students from around the world who share the same passion they do.
Course prices range from $125 for a taster course to over $1,000 for longer, more in-depth courses.
Faculty Antique Experts
- Joanna Hardy (board advisor) – independent fine jewelry consultant with over 30 years experience including De Beers and Sotheby’s, in London a NADFAS lecturer, author and regular specialist on Antiques Roadshow
- Judith Miller (advisor) – author of the Millers Guides, acclaimed broadcaster (UK Antiques Roadshow and others) and expert for MyAntiqueSchool
- David Rago – lead expert appraiser for the US Antiques Roadshow on PBS and Partner and Co-Director of 20th Century Decorative Art and Design Department at Rago Auctions in New Jersey ($30 million annual sales)
- Tony Geering – up to half the arts and crafts furniture sold by Liberty in London has been discovered by Geering, mainly at big antiques fairs and obscure country shops
- Toma Clark Haines – founder of The Antiques Diva™ & Co, the worlds largest antiques touring company operating in 14 countries in Europe and Asia. Toma teaches from around the globe, Europe, Asia and the USA.
- Marc Allum – UK Antiques Roadshow Regular, Author, Broadcaster, collector and buyer for interior designers
To book a MyAntiqueSchool course, or to get on the waiting list for courses coming soon, see http://www.my-antique-school.com.
Notes to Editors
MyOnlineSchool, MyAntiqueSchool’s parent company, was founded by Elspeth Briscoe (eBay, Skype, The Guardian). MyOnlineSchools serve students from over 50 countries worldwide, their most far-flung students come from Argentina, New Zealand and Indonesia. They have delivered thousands of hours of lessons to students and well over a million users have visited their sites. MyGardenSchool and MyPhotoSchool have won The Good Web Guide Awards three times and are partnered with many highly respected industry leaders, such as The RHS, BALI, APLD, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and Mumsnet. In February 2015, MyOnlineSchool announced seed funding of nearly half a million pounds from a team of specialist institutional investors to help launch and develop MyAntiqueSchool. For investment enquiries please contact elspeth(at)my-online-school.co.uk
Toma Clark Haines is the Chief Executive of The Antiques Diva™ & Co, the world’s largest antiques touring and sourcing company. As an American who has lived abroad over 17 years, it has been said Clark Haines is conquering countries faster than Napoleon. Working with a team of 24+ locally-based agents, The Antiques Diva™ & Co offers customized antique buying tours in 14 countries working with both the public as well as the trade. Her favorite part of her job is stocking clients’ antique stores, lecturing at furniture markets around the world and creating new trends in home fashions.
Paul’s Antiques, which came under the ownership of Angela Somwaiya in 2008, has been a favorite among diplomats, expats and collectors for over 20 years. Originally specializing in colonial era teak furniture from Burma, the shop has evolved to include collections from Thailand and all over Asia. It’s in-house workshop is known for its sensitive refinishing and repair work that retains the original character and enhances the natural beauty of the pieces. In addition, custom furniture in Paul’s Antiques own unique “style” can be ordered to your specifications.
I Give You My Antiques Diva Office!
My life has been a whirlwind these last few months at The Antiques Diva & Co. While traveling on an around the world ticket from Europe to Asia to the USA and finally back home to Berlin I’ve literally circled the globe building new relationships and strengthening connections as we launched brand new Antiques Diva Asia Tours, started development at the factory of the first product in our Antiques Care and Restoration product line, and premiered at High Point Market as the Brand Ambassador for Pandora de Balthazar among other things! I was on the road 3 months and traveled to 3 continents and in 9 countries.
From speaking engagements to private dinner parties to taking clients on antiques buying tours to dealing with day-to-day details running our own in-house shipping company – my life is made up of many aspects. I’m a business woman but my business either operates on the road in whatever hotel I’m staying in, whichever country I happen to be in, or it operates out of my home office.
I am a firm believer that one’s home – or home office – should reflect themselves, and after contemplating the experiences I have throughout the world, I looked at my home office in Berlin, and was not surprised to see the international mix of pieces from different time periods and styles. I thought it would be fun to share a bit of this eclectic mix here on the blog, so without further ado, I give you my Antiques Diva Office!
My French Louis XV desk with doré bronze mounts is a piece I purchased from the Paris Flea Market. I love the Diva-esque female figures that grace each corner. This is a POWER Desk – What makes this piece even more special is that it is signed and has the original makers mark. The 18th century Rococo desk chair is also a French piece, fit for a Commander in Chic! To hide files and clutter, I use an 18th-century Bavarian cupboard with a beautiful painted Romanesque scene on the front.
When it comes time to catch up on industry reading, I relax on the Rococo Style Napoleon III chaise lounge which I purchased in Bath, England. I had this piece recovered in a gorgeous fabric which I sourced through Linda Merrill. For artwork, I have a pair of 1960’s gold ceiling tiles which were salvaged from the ballroom of the Russian Embassy in Berlin, Germany. Accessories in my Diva Office change frequently, depending on where I’ve been and what little treasures I’ve picked up! As soon as my shipment from my recent buying tour in Asia comes in you’ll see some Asian Chic adding to the ambiance.
My Diva Office is a reminder that what makes a room—and a life— interesting is the mix. Old and new, refined and rustic, extravagant and simple, mastering the art of the mix adds depth and character—two qualities I hope I have both as a person as well as in my own home.
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®
Where do you get your design inspiration?
Join us on a behind the scenes design inspiration tour of the Paris Flea Market Marché aux Puces with the teams from Currey & Co and Traditional Home Magazine.
What is a Design Inspiration Tour?
Interior designers, furniture manufacturers and showrooms, architects, landscapers, shelter magazines and design industry professionals stay ahead of trends in design, art, cuisine and fashion by traveling to locations that inspire and nurture their creativity and are an opportunity to see first-hand emerging trends in the design world.
Join our group of design industry professionals as we immerse ourselves in the past and present of the Paris Flea Market!
“Having been to the market more than 20 times on our own, they took us to the backside of the flea market where we’d never been before – and it was all NEW to us. We found lots of inspirations and a few concrete ideas on new furniture designs. The best part of the day (other than a superb lunch) was a tour of vintage clothing & fabric shops. We could have spent all day there! Toma and Danielle seemed to know just about every vendor at the flea market and were full of historical information on how Les Puce came to be.
All in all, it was a thoroughly entertaining day – oh, and did I mention champagne! Bubbly always makes an excursion more fun.”
Where do you get your design inspiration?
To book a design inspiration tour contact email@example.com
Drum Roll Please…
The AD&CO team had so much fun reading your stories about your 1st visit to le Marché aux Puces… thank you for sharing your adventures, and the treasures you’ve discovered!
Diva Readers share my passion for the hunt, and the determination to get that special piece back home again! Every piece in our homes tell a story about who we are, and I loved learning more about our Readers!
The winners of The Antiques Diva & Co #TellMeAboutYourFirstTime at the Paris Flea Market Giveaway are:
Grand Prize 1 Day Tour at the Paris Flea Market
1st Prize Aidan Gray Paris Flea Market CandleStick
3 RunnerUps – DesignHER copies by Julianne Taylor
Congratulations to our winning stories!!! And thank you so much to everyone who entered!!!
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva
Antiques Meet Modern
When asked what I personally collect – my answer is always first and foremost “People.” In my line of work, I am constantly meeting fascinating people from all over the world. While in Venice last year at Saloniste’s , I fell in love with both the artwork and personality of Michaela Zimmer! She is a remarkable artist who lives and works in Berlin, Germany, and whose work is exhibited around the world. People are often shocked to discover that as The Antiques Diva I’m obsessed with contemporary art. But as in love as well as decorating… opposites attract. My personal decorating style is a juxtaposition of antiques meet modern.
I am over the moon to have contemporary paintings by artist Michaela Zimmer in our Antiques Diva headquarters (which happens to be in my personal home).
A friend of mine refers to me as “his whirlwind.” Anyone who knows me, knows I am always on the move. And perhaps that’s what attracted me to Michaela’s work. It moves. It flows. It dances with light and motion. Michaela Zimmer rethinks the idea of the abstract painting. She filters the fundaments of abstraction through the syntax of performance. With a background in dance and photography, it’s no wonder movement is such an important part of her process— incorporating the idea of physical movement (dance) and the concept of a still moment frozen in time (photography). When she paints, she surrounds herself with canvases and literally dances as she creates her art. Looking at a series of her work, you can see the movement as it dances from canvas to canvas.
Relationship Between Antiques and Contemporary Art
When discussing the relationship between antiques and contemporary art, Michaela sees it as revolving around time and space. One look at her canvases shows that she places a focus on movement. She explains, “What is specific about these canvases, characterized by a virtually incorporeal, floating chromatic space, is the fourth dimension inscribed within them; time manifested as traces of the performative between the multi-stratified, fragmented layers.” It’s this movement that enters into a dialogue with antiques.
Interior Photography: Susanne Ollmann http://www.ollmannfoto.com
all artwork courtesy of the artist and FOLD, London http://www.foldgallery.com/
Relative to movement, Michaela says, “It is interesting that the word ‘speed’ always evokes the notion of ‘fast speed’ first. Focusing on both, fast and slow motion, and situations where they blend into each other, has always been an aspect of my work. Mind you, even when a line appears to be ‘fast’, this might have resulted from a slow movement which accelerated from a certain intensity that wasn’t fast at all.”
Antiques often reveal traces of the human hand which played a part in creating them, and the sculptural element of Michaela Zimmer’s paintings reflect that as well. Details get blurred and stay hidden behind semi-transparent PE film. The dichotomy of abstraction and corporeality disappears in the merging of image and object – illusionary space and material. Combining contemporary paintings with an antique environment is combining both visual experiences.
Combining Contemporary Paintings with an Antique Environment
There are different approaches in Michaela Zimmer’s paintings. The lines that originate from a concentrated single movement are mostly applied to white canvas that is only primed. They take a long time in their (mainly physical) preparation, but are then executed quickly. Even with the best preparation, a lot of them end up unresolved and get destroyed, since they can’t be corrected.” The process of creating a work can take quite some time. The paintings are based on numerous layers of paint, which are applied and then often taken away, again and again. This process is time-consuming and very difficult to control since the aim is not a spectacular composition, but a rather quiet one that unfolds only slowly. As Michaela explains, “A similar ‘gradualness in the investigation process’ is also required from the viewer, if he or she is to be rewarded.”
In my own home, it’s time that forms the interaction with other objects around the paintings in the room. The present meets the past in my home in Berlin – the historic building is a brewery dating from the early 1800’s – that has been converted into modern loft space for working and living. Michaela’s contemporary art visually bring the space to the 21st century but the 19th C building is grounded with 18th Century antiques.
While I was delighted to share with you a glimpse into my own home office so you could see how art interacts in private spaces – I want also to tell you about an opportunity to visit a gallery in England for a special Exhibition of Michaela’s work.
exhibition 29 October 2016 till 26 February 2017
Curated by The Lowry in collaboration with Rambert, the exhibition will feature work by four international artists and explore the synergies between contemporary visual art and dance. Artists featuring in Perpetual Movement include Turner Prize nominee, Goshka Macuga, Leila Johnston and Michaela Zimmer, and the exhibition will feature specially commissioned works alongside key pieces from Rambert’s archive that inspired them.
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®