Colours of the Mediterranean

This week's blog comes from Palma de Mallorca and is inspired by the art of Joan Miro and his love of mediterranean colours. Born in Barcelona, artist Joan Miro settled in Mallorca in 1956. His magnificent studio was designed by his friend and collaborator Josep Luis Sert. It was in Mallorca that Miro found a place where he could create in peace and freedom. For over 25 years he produced some of his most vibrant works of art from this studio.

Miro worked with a limited palette of unblended colours, favouring reds, blues, yellows, greens and black. His colouring is bold and expressive and gave inspiration to a generation of colour field painters - we often take inspiration from works of art and Miro's colours provide a beautiful but bold balance which can perfectly translate into an interior's colour scheme. His semi-abstract forms also provide a charming playfulness relating as they do to natural elements of life including the sun, the stars, birds, fish, the sea and the human form.

Take a look below at Miro's Danseuse Dancers (1969) paired with Farrow & Ball's Blue Ground and St Giles Blue. A work of art with pure colours like this provides inspiration for a seaside home and could beautifully reflect its natural surroundings. Alternatively, these soft blues would look lovely in a children's bedroom to create a subtle but fresh feeling.

In the central image below Miro has painted a signature red wall in an otherwise white interior in which to create a simple display of his Spanish dolls. Farrow & Ball's Radicchio and Red Earth paint colours echo this earthy theme.

Milo's colours often reflect the tiles, houses and traditional craft works of Mallorca, like this tiled advertising wall piece below right. Farrow & Ball's Dayroom Yellow perfectly reflects the atmosphere of Miro's painting below left, Bird Against The Horizon (1976), and could bring some Mediterranean sunshine into your home.

If you find yourself in Mallorca, make sure you visit Miro's studio and home which has a beautiful permanent exhibition of Miro's work.

You can find out more on Fundacio Pilar i Joan Miro a Mallorca here

From Roentgen to Faberge at Christie's

Another exquisite auction was held at Christie’s last week. ‘From Roentgen to Faberge’ contains stunning pieces from a single European private collection. The collection was formed over three decades by a connoisseur whose taste was clearly impeccable. There were many standout pieces, but we’ve chosen a few that particularly interested us.

As expected, many French pieces caught our eye, particularly this pair of Louis XV grey painted fauteuils (c. 1755-60). Each has a channeled frame and cartouche-shaped padded back and serpentine seat. Their peach mohair velvet coverings give them a beautiful and elegant lightness combined with a rich texture. They were made by Jean and Jean-Rene Nadal, the Parisien Nadal family of furniture makers who had a flourishing business during the mid 18th Century and were known for their master skills, craftsmanship and fashionable Louis XV style. 

Estimate: £4,000 – 6,000

Price Realised: £4,000

There were several dinner service sets on auction as well as this Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica part dinner service. This Danish design varied from the grand Russian gilt set underneath, instead painted with a feminine flower design with serrated gilt rims.

Estimate: £25,000 -35,000

Price Realised: £74,500

While we often like to focus on simple and elegant pieces, this lavish and luxurious Russian porcelain dinner service (c. 1840) couldn’t help but grab our attention. The set features plates and dishes all decorated with gilt scrolling acanthus, with a gilt rosette at the centre. The dinner set is steeped in history as it came from the dowry service of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna. Its grand history and appearance would make a tremendous and memorable addition to a dinner party.

Estimate: £10,000 – 20,000

Price Realised: £35,000

This next piece, a hardstone and diamond table ornament is admittedly a slightly more characterful choice for us. Among the carved spray of wild strawberries are nephrite jade leaves and white hardstone flowers with diamond centres. The gilt stems add a further dazzling touch as does its grand jasper plinth.

Estimate: £3,00 - 5,000

Price Realised: £13,750