1 How did you get your start?
A common passion for art and design led us to start building our own personal collection and set up our gallery in 2018. We specialise in rare French pieces from the 1920s to 1940s. We also have a collection in our home which we hope to grow. But we refuse to live in a museum-like home, so our antique furniture is very much used and lived with!
2 What projects have you worked on recently?
We recently organised a photoshoot with our collection at Eltham Palace, an Art Deco mansion in the south of London. We will be exhibiting a selection of pieces at this year’s LAPADA Berkeley Square Fair alongside fellow gallerist and friend Laurent Guelfucci, owner of Guelfucci Gallery.
3 What is one great discovery you have made?
A very rare Jean Michel Frank armchair from a private collection, in untouched condition.
4 What is your favourite appearance of an antique in a film, play or book?
The tortoise in A Rebours by Joris-Karl Huysmans is the first decorative object that springs to mind. In fact, and as incongruous as it is, the tortoise isn’t an antique but a live animal that the main character, a dandy named Des Esseintes, decides to purchase and on a bizarre whim, to adorn with precious stones, in order to balance out the sheen of a gold and plum-coloured carpet.
5 What is one thing you couldn’t do without?
Folding screens. Lacquer, straw marquetry, carved wood, hand painted, leather clad… we think they look fantastic in any interior and should take pride of place in a collection.
This decorative object originates from China and Japan, but multiple variations and uses have occurred throughout history. During the Art Deco period, which Crosta Smith Gallery focuses on, remarkable examples can be observed, such as the wonderful Destin by Eileen Gray, or straw marquetry clad little screens Jean Michel Frank designed to frame a sofa or a piano, while he also collaborated with artist Christian Berard on a handful of beautiful hand painted screens.
Jean Dunand’s folding screens in lacquer with inclusions of gold leaf or eggshell, or Katsu Hamanaka’s impressive pieces are definitely something we will always have our eye on.
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