Out & About: (Almost) Meeting Marilyn Monroe...


Dallas is always one to host a great event. Tuesday I had the privilege of attending the preview reception for Heritage Auction's Fine & Decorative Arts event happening this weekend. Let me tell you... the items in the auction did NOT disappoint! While I'd been given the opportunity to identify my top 10 of my favorite lots via their online gallery, I was amazed when I arrived to find a collection of rare Marilyn Monroe framed works adorning the walls. This Hollywood beauty remains forever young due to her early departure... but her legacy as an icon and a rare beauty lives on. 

Amidst the passed hors d'oeuvres and gorgeous gilt treasures at the reception I spied not one, not two but four limited edition (read: extremely rare and numbered) "Marilyns" playfully adorning the walls. One was a chromogenic from Something's Gotta Give and was signed as the first of only 35 in existence. It's the image of her with one leg peeking out of the swimming pool. Additionally they had three more stunning framed images of the divine Miss Monroe artfully scattered about the walls. Incredible. 

While there I had the opportunity to try on that megawatt 23 carat diamond & emerald necklace. Hello, fabulous! The look of "wow" on my face says it all. It is a stunner in person. Also under the glass was a bounty of "look at me" moment cocktail rings and other sparkling treasures. There was so much to appreciate in this intimate auction setting. 

Fear not, readers. The bidding doesn't begin until tomorrow and you need not be in Dallas to score some of these treasures. Visit the Heritage Auction's Fine & Decorative Arts online and bid away (feel free to drool over the Marilyn pieces).

I want to personally thank the team at HA for graciously inviting me to paw at the pretty treasures up close. My delight was being given the opportunity to try things on and learn more about the auction process. I could not have had a better time and am so excited about attending future events (and winning a few coveted lots!).

Editor's note: It's also worth mentioning that my eyes were opened to the shopping possibilities. Heritage Auctions sells Chanel. Yes, Chanel. And a lot of it. Gold rings, diamond jewelry and... yes, handbags (including this pink ostrich beauty)! They also boast an exceptionally rare Hermes Birkin with 18K Gold hardware. Wowzers.

With so many "recommerce" options around and the challenges of trusting an unseen/unknown source, I wouldn't hesitate a purchase with a trusted auction house for a moment. Believe me, the next time I look for a previously loved high end bag I know exactly where I'm shopping. And yes.... they even offer "buy it now" options on many items! 

{featured works: BERT STERN (American, 1929-2013). Marilyn with Blue Roses, from The Last Sitting, 1962. // LAWRENCE SCHILLER (American, b. 1936). Marilyn on the set of Something's Got to Give, Page 29, 1962. Chromogenic. // LAWRENCE SCHILLER (American, b. 1936). Marilyn on the set of Something's Got to Give, Page 23 (Roll 14, Frame 17), 1962}


Acquisitions: My Top 10 Heritage Auctions Lots Revealed...

A week or so ago I teased you by revealing three of my top 10 lot selections for the upcoming Heritage Auctions Fine & Decorative Arts event. Well, patient luxe lovers.... today is the day I share the rest of those incredible finds with you. From glistening necklaces to an ebonized Louis XV table with incredible gilt accents (I die!), these pieces will most certainly make your heart skip a beat and perhaps encourage you to raise your paddle (virtual or real) later this month. The event takes place September 13-14th here in Dallas, but like all modern conveniences you can always bid online. 

Ready...? Here are my delicious ten lots:

Pair Regence Style Gilt Mirrors

Anything Regence-style considers serious consideration. Finding perfect pairs of items is even better. These oversized gilt mirrors would look fantastic flanking a tall étagère over a pair of demilunes or over bedside tables in a master bedroom.

Toulouse-Lautrec Framed Lithograph

The art lover in me fell for this Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec lithograph instantly. Like owning one of Picasso's studies or Leonardo's ink-drawn engineering illustrations, this silver-framed mixed medium work is an instant conversation starter for your gallery wall.

Pair Louis XV Gilt Tables with Marble Tops

The graceful lines of Louis XV styling is all here: the sinewy cabriole legs, the detailed apron and the scroll feet. Finding such a striking pair of tables with perfect marble tops is pure auction magic.

19th c Gilt Bronze French Figural Sculpture of Roman Decurion on horseback

Historical sculpture has long been a passion of mine. This regal gilt bronze figural is a prime example of why this artform withstands the test of time. A Roman Decurion on horseback adorned in his battle finery is shown in great lifelike detail, emphasized even more by the lustrous gold finish. 

Gilt Baroque Sconces

There's not a designer around who could pass these beauties up. Every intricate detail of the meandering foliage & Baroque style faces says "Arch Digest portfolio feature" to me. This lovely pair could easily flank an interior doorway or entryway mirror for grand effect.

Gilt Wood Convex Wall Mirror

Who doesn't love a gilt convex mirror? This one is a bit whimsical with a deer nestled amongst an oak leaf furl, but I love it nonetheless. The beautifully aged finish offers character and much needed patina to this spectacular piece. 

Aquamarine & Diamond Ring

This beautiful cocktail ring features a 16 carat aquamarine stone within a diamond and 14k white gold setting. It is stunning and will not be missed on your manicured fingers! For me it's the sophisticated styling and tasteful design that makes this ring special.

Pair of Italian Marble & Gilt Urns

I'll admit to having a weakness for lidded urns. This pair of Italian marble & gilt urns circa 1900 are remarkable in both scale and materials. Floral swags, acorn finials and grotesques in dramatic headdresses makes these an auction-goer's fantasy.

Gilt & Bronze Ebonized Wood Console

This is everything I love in Louis XVI furniture. A demilune in black and gold with an egg and dart frieze? It's pure French furniture goodness. The details on this magnificent specimen don't end there. The pierced stretcher is a thing of beauty connecting the tapered legs & gilt feet. This piece does show some age, which only makes it more desirable in my opinion. It is without question an exceptional piece.

Emerald & Diamond Necklace

23 carats of shimmering goodness. This remarkable emerald and diamond necklace is elegant without being ostentatious. Oval cut emeralds and full-cut diamonds are perfectly set, making this exquisite piece of jewelry a remarkable gift for a remarkable woman.

Aren't they lovely? I think so. Frankly it was quite a challenge to whittle it down to only ten finds. Next week on September 9th I'll be attending the preview reception for these (and all of the other) items for this event. Stay tuned to my Instagram stream for up close looks at these magnificent finds. Also... I'll be interviewing a few seasoned auction attendees for their tips and tricks as well as solid auction etiquette tips to help you avoid looking like a newbie. Stay tuned! 

Acquisitions: Delicious Diamonds...

It struck me the other day that our there comes a time in your life when you decide to focus on obtaining the real deal when it comes to jewelry. Perhaps for you it's that diamond engagement ring or a tennis necklace or bracelet given to you by your parents on a special birthday. When we're young it's all about fashion jewelry, then we discover costume jewelry and suddenly... boom! Only diamonds will do. With dollar values in flux we now have an even fonder appreciation for authentic luxuries with actual worth. Gold, diamonds and property might just be better investments than any bonds, funds or stocks could ever hope to be. 

I look at my grandmother and her marvelous drawer of costume jewelry and I gasp every time I see it. But she also has real jewelry. Lovely pieces that she clearly cherishes even more. Jewelry is an inherently emotional gift. We acquire it on special occasions (or on occasions that become special in hindsight). We associate it with a person. It is a highly emotional possession. What about you? Do you have a special necklace or ring or bracelet that you adore? What makes it special? Did you buy it yourself or did a certain someone surprise you with it? Do tell. I'd love to hear you gush about your baubles and bling! 

Acquisitions: At the Auction...

There are few social events that compare to the specific feeling of a live auction. I love that sense of quiet anticipation and strained composure. Everyone jockeying for the same selected lots without trying to let on their eagerness to win. The events I have attended boasted magnificent jewels and antique Persian rugs, both rich in history and value.

When Heritage Auctions reached out to invite me to select ten lots from their upcoming Fine & Decorative Arts event happening in Dallas next month I eagerly accepted the challenge. One glance at the inventory for the auction won me over. As expected, my greatest challenge was limiting the list to only ten great finds. Régence-style mirrors, brilliant emerald and diamond necklaces and spectacular framed works of art from some of history's most noteworthy artists are just a few of the marvelous items that will go home to lucky bidders at September's auction.

Those of you not in the Dallas area will appreciate that Heritage boasts a robust online bidding process. In real-time you can compete by proxy with other collectors attending the event without missing a cue. Theoretically, you could sip bubbly from behind the wheel of your Riva Aquarama while acquiring a prized Louis XV gilt bronze figural clock via their flawless online bidding method. No need to sit with the masses at their Design District location. However... attending auctions in person is so much fun, isn't it? I think so. 

Here are just a few of the fabulous pieces I highlighted from the lots. First up, a pair (let that word sink in for a moment) of Régence-style gilt wall mirrors. These magnificent golden beauties are as fabulously ornate as you'd hope they would be. The idea of finding a perfectly matched set of this quality is remarkable. Their scale is equally impressive... a staggering 88 inches tall and 46" wide. These would be beautiful over a pair of demilunes flanking a fireplace or grand entryway. 

Perhaps it's my fascination with the Romans, but this figural of a Roman officer is impressive on many levels. The gilt bronze finish and marble base lend it the gravitas you'd expect from a sculpture of this nature. I envision this on a table in an executive's home library or in a modern loft owned by an erudite couple. It's a beautiful figural sculpture made even more appealing by the musculature of the horse and the presence of the officer's spear and shield. Just magnificent. 

Finally, a shimmering 23 carat emerald, diamond and white gold necklace. I don't know about your city, but Dallas is a town that needs no excuse to get dressed up for the evening. It is easy to imagine this making a spectacular gift for a lucky girl who deserves a bit more sparkle on her neck. With over 100 full-cut diamonds surrounding those radiant emeralds, it's clear this piece of jewelry is ready to enjoy some time in the spotlight. 

These are just a few of my selections. I would love to invite you to preview all of the lots online for September's event. The event takes place September 13th beginning at 10am CST through September 14th in the Dallas Design District Annex, 1518 Slocum Street, Dallas, TX 75207. I personally will be attending the Reception Preview on Tuesday, September 9 at the same location. Please come out and join me as we peruse these lovely decorative objects and fine jewels. Perhaps you'll even be inspired to go home and bid on a few fabulous things. Happy auctioning!