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Artnet Design


by Brook S. Mason
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Certain to further up the cachet of the 81-year-old French designer Maria Pergay is the latest show dedicated to her artistry in Paris. There Chelsea dealer Demisch Danant and the Paris JGM Galerie are jointly hosting “Maria Pergay: Place des Vosges,” Mar. 22-31, 2012, and the all-too-brief exhibition features 55 examples spanning 55 years.

Pergay herself, who was just awarded the French Legion of Honor for Arts and Letters, has curated the show. “She had a vision of the exhibition and included such icons like her 1968 Flying Carpet Daybed, a low and curvy stainless steel daybed, right up to her 2012 Marie Antoinette Table, which includes a hunk of 17th-century oak from Versailles embedded in stainless steel set on a pedestal base,” said Suzanne Demisch.

Pergay certainly has her share of clients in both Paris and Manhattan, not to mention private commissions in Belgium, Russia, the United States, and Saudi Arabia, where she designed for the Saudi royal family. The Metropolitan Museum of Art includes Pergay among its holdings, and Pierre Cardin has been a big collector of her work as well.

The grand apartment in the 17th-century Hôtel de Duras on the Place des Vosges is a fitting setting for Pergay’s work. Included are period Coromandel screens and Russian vases, Louis XV armchairs and Pierre Paulin furniture in order to give a sense of Pergay’s distinctive taste. “She mixed her furniture with period examples similar to those in her own home,” said Demisch. Prices will run from €2,000 for a silver box to €250,000 for the unique five-foot-long Marie Antoinette table.

Dal Fabbro for Furniture
Architects have long tackled furniture design and even the fine arts. Think Frank Lloyd Wright, Zaha Hadid, Lee Mindel and Robert Couturier. But furniture designers turning their hands to the fine arts is a rarity.

One exception is the late Mario Dal Fabbro (1913-90), who published no less than 12 books on design, including Modern Furniture: Design and Construction. He designed furniture for both Knoll and Paul McCobb Design Associates.

Now the Greenwich Village-based Maison Gerard is spotlighting his sculpture. “Mario Dal Fabbro’s sculptures are exciting and bewildering at the same time,” says Gerard Widdershoven. “The innate strength and beauty of the wood combined with organic shapes and negative spaces create a dazzling effect,” he said. That dealer compares the Italian’s sculpture to that of Constantin Brancusi, but Dal Fabbro also channels Barbara Hepworth.

Prices are $10,000-$48,000.

1stdibs Design Fair
The inaugural New York 20th Century Art and Design Fair (NYC20), Apr. 12-15, 2012, is set to take place at Lincoln Center under the big top, so to speak. Staged in a tent, the show kicks off with 36 dealers, all of them clients of the popular art-and-design website 1stdibs. Among the 20th century design dealers are Lobel Modern with designs by Karl Springer (1931-1991), Caira Mandaglio with Gio Ponti and Vojtech Blau with Alexander Calder tapestries. Among the art dealers taking part are Trinity House. The preview will benefit the Bard Graduate Center.

Eastern promises
The art of ceramics dates back more than 2,000 years, but Korean designer Hun-Chung Lee takes that artistry far beyond mere vessels to furniture, no less. R20th Century in Tribeca is featuring his new works -- chairs and other seating done in ceramic, using a celadon glaze, first developed during the 15th century. Both sturdy and unusual in form -- the drip glaze is especially appealing -- Lee’s pieces are bound to be popular.

BROOK S. MASON is U.S. correspondent for the Art Newspaper, and also writes for the Financial Times and other publications.