Tuesday, March 8, 2011

More is more

One of the rooms at the Duquette's "Dawnridge" home

This past weekend, One Kings Lane had a Tastemaker Tag Sale featuring vintage and antique items collected by the late, great Tony Duquette. It was amazing to see so much of his life and tastes reflected in the pieces, and gave me a chance to research his colorful life and works. 

Painted screen - from OKL sale

Tony Duquette

Rose Chest - from OKL sale

Painting by "Beegle"

Discovered in the 1940s by the ever-fashionable Elsie de Wolfe, Mr. Duquette was a creative force: working as an artist, sculptor, jewelry designer, movie set designer, and interior designer. As David Keeps of the LA Times wrote, he was always creating, "magically transforming plaster, paint, industrial materials, shiny discount store wares and mirrors into dazzling sculptures and exotic tableaux inspired by the storybook fantasies of his youth".

The Duquette's Malibu property called "Sortilegium"

Duquette created this sculpture: the 28 ft tall "Phoenix Rising From His Flames"

The "Phoenix" sculpture above (an icon I obviously relate to) was created by Duquette subsequent to the burning of his 100+ acre Malibu wonderland in the mid-1990s, and just prior to the death of his lovely wife, the artist Elizabeth "Beegle" Johnstone. (He called her "Beegle" because he felt she had "the industry of the bee and the soaring poetry of the eagle". Cute.)

Tony and Elizabeth at their Hollywood studio in the 1980s

Another Painting by Elizabeth "Beegle" Duquette

Bamboo Chest - from OKL Sale

Bedroom at their "Cow Hollow" house near San Francisco

Louis XV-style Chinoiserie Desk - from OKL sale

Mr. Duquette had several different homes scattered around California in which to exercise his creative talents, all doused with brilliant color and intriguing objects.

Living room of their "Hamster House" at Sortilegium

Elsie de Wolfe-style sofa - from OKL sale

Window at their "Cow Hollow" House

Ballroom Chair - from OKL sale

Although many of his interiors had an over-the-top feel, there always seemed to be classical touches running throughout.

Bedroom in their "Horntoad House" at Sortilegium

Peacock Panel - from OKL sale

I think it is quite interesting to see the objects out of context (in the sale listings) and then to compare them back to Duquette's creations. It just goes to show what you can do with a little (or a lot of) imagination!

Home of James Coburn designed by Tony Duquette

I. Magnin Chest of Drawers - from OKL sale

Kitchen at the Duquette's "Frogmore House" at Sortilegium

The Duquettes hosted many a party, their tablescapes and place settings on the grandest and most fantastical scale.

A gilded table setting at the Duquette's Hollywood studio

Current trendsetters and entertaining enthusiasts still imitate his style and his "more is more" aesthetic.

A table set at the Duquette's "Dawnridge" home

Duquette was not limited by preconceptions in decorating; he would use wild fabrics and strange accessories to create pseudo-still lives on each table.

Table setting featured in book "More is More"

Some of the fabrics used by Duquette, such as the malachite fabric in the two photos above, can now be purchased through Jim Thompson fabrics.

"Gemstone" fabric - Tony Duquette Collection for Jim Thompson

"Golden Sunburst" fabric - Tony Duquette Collection for Jim Thompson

From exotic glitz to moody drama, Duquette really knew how to set (and steal) the scene. Although I have yet to read either of the books on Mr. Duquette (however, I plan on ordering "More is More" soon), I feel he would tell us to trust in ourselves, be fearless, and let our creativity and imagination be our guide!

Living room at "Dawnridge"

I hope you all have a great week!

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