A conversation about connoisseurship, quality and sustainability of furniture, art
and objects from the modern era

Recent Posts

Rowland's Ft Greene Community

Vintage Wallpaper Art

Susan Rowland by Appointment

Isamu Noguchi at BBG

Kamilla Talbot: New Works

Chinoiserie Mid-Century Style

Milo Baughman Before + After

Meet Mr. Wormley

townhouse.bz Presents Faux Real

Kipfmueller in Elle Decor

Nelson Sculptures & Prints

Kamilla Talbot: Getting Outside

Joan of Art

To the Pinkneys: A Big Thank You!

Black Tie Halloween?

Problem Solving with Townhouse

Neutra Speaks, Nelson Replies

Falling in Love with Faux Bois

Rowland: Uncontained Forces

Sneak Peek: Rowland Show

Vintage Woodson Wallpapers

Kipfmueller: Process Revealed

Hefty 2-Ply Travels

Oscar Niemeyer, Curvy Modernist

Portrait of Wonder Bread

Peter Shelton, RIP

Take Note: Wondrous Florals

Jud Nelson: Marble Hyperrealism

Faux Forever

After 9/11

Before 9/11

Kool Stools

Salve! Aliquisne domum est?

When is an original not?

Framing Bambi

Welcome to the Knolls

Karl Kipfmueller: Art

Susan Rowland: Art

Kamilla Talbot: Art

Reasons to Love Horsehair

Separated @ birth?

Q&A:I love the bronze table...

A Tonic for the Election

townhouse.bz in the NY Times!

Those legs, I know those legs!

What is Parchment?

Long look Marion, loonger...

What is Shagreen?



Blog Resources

All the Best

An Aesthete's Lament

Architect Design

Habitually Chic

Hollister Hovey

Scala Regalia

House of Beauty and Culture

The Peak of Chic

Archive for the 'Karl Kipfmueller' Category

A Salon Exhibition Art, Objects and Furniture Exploring the Realm of Mid-Century Modernism

Featuring the townhouse.bz collection including Jud Nelson, Kamilla Talbot Piaget Studios, Kathy Urbina, Le Corbusier, Knoll, Milo Baughman, Pierre Jeanneret, Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson, Aldo Tura, Fornascetti, Edward Wormley.

Opening Saturday, July 26th, 2014
From 6 to 9pm
Showing through September 6th, 2014
Thu & Sun 12 to 6pm
Fri & Sat 12 to 7:30pm
or by appointment

@ Guild Greene Gallery
281 Greene Avenue
Clinton Hill, Brooklyn 11238
718 398 6792

Visit Faux Real and explore historic Clinton Hill. Guild Greene’s building is the original 1890s headquarters and laboratory for Bristol Myers. Fine dining nearby includes Speedy Romeo, Marietta, Locando Vini & Olli and Aita.

Shown above: Holos/Series 23, No.1 (Wood Match) Roman Travertine & Red Slate; Jud Nelson, 1994

Contact Us for more information.

Congratulations to friend and colleague, Karl Kipfmueller, on the feature of his beautiful home in the July/August 2014 issue of Elle Decor.

In addition to the incredible photos of Kipfmueller’s home, I highly recommend reading the accompanying article which captures Kipfmueller’s wit, historic references and details his highly personal solutions to his home decor. For example, I learned (but was actually not surprised) that the rich tones on his living room walls were achieved with several coats of tinted butchers wax!

Posted by Marla Dekker July 1, 2014 / No Comments Filed Under Faux Bois, In the News, Jean Michel Frank, Karl Kipfmueller, townhouse.bz Art

Yves Wallpaper, Oil on linen, 2012

How do you start a painting? With a range of studies that are more about the figure.

Your paintings always include a male figure – do you consider it portraiture? I want my paintings to be a riff on traditional portraiture, which is rather amusing since I also don’t care whether or not they function as portraits. To quote Kenneth Clark, the nude “is not the subject of art, but a form of art”.

Nikoma Vienna; Oil on Panel sketch on left; Oil on Linen painting on right, 2008

How has your work evolved? It is now less abstract but more painterly. I am better at manipulating materials. That’s why I’m currently copying a Titian – I want to learn to paint like him.

Where do your backgrounds come from? I collect books and catalogs on fashion, rugs, wallpapers, fabrics, kimonos and tapestries from all periods and cultures and they often show up in paintings when I least expect them to. There is rarely an intellectual reason, it is almost always a visual reaction, though often my combinations amuse me. I also like to use paintings and drawings for backgrounds, everything from Bridget Riley’s paintings to a Giulio Romano tapestry (it was heavily transformed).

Vatican; Charcoal and Gouache drawing on left, Oil on Linen right, 2001

Chinese Wallpaper; Pencil on left, Oil on Linen on right, 2012

The Chinese Wallpaper drawing and painting are virtually the same and yet different – notably the difference in expression – amused and possibly mocking in the drawing and serious and pensive in the painting. Was that a deliberate decision? No, not deliberate. My paintings are more true to how the model actually looks and with oils I can refine it more.

Nikoma Ruhlmann; Charcoal drawing on left, Oil on Linen on right, 2012

How does the Ruhlmann drape add to the Nikoma oil painting? The rings in the fabric echo Nikoma’s hair and creates soft halos.

What is your favorite color? (long pause) Red. All rooms need red, all paintings need red. There are some really great paintings signed in red. Picasso was good at that.

Your maquettes are striking – how do they figure in your work?
I take sculpture classes to become a better painter and the maquettes are the product.

What art is on your walls? The work I choose to hang on my walls is important to me emotionally and aesthetically. In addition to photographs I’ve acquired over the years there is work by artist friends Kelly Driscoll, Aleksandar Duravcevic, Paige Neuhauser, Kelly Saxton, David Sokosh, my mom, niece and nephew. There is also quite a bit of my own art. There is a wall in my living room where I frequently change the art based on what appeals to me at the moment.

What are your favorite paintings? Jacopo Pontormo’s Deposition from the Cross (1528) and John Singer Sargent’s The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1882).

I am a fan of classic fashion photography and I see a distinct relationship between the work of photographers like Avedon, Penn and Wolfe and painters like Pontormo and Sargent.

What do you consider the best show of 2012? The Renaissance Portrait show at the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art) last spring. The Portrait show was amazing because it was a show about an idea (birth of secular portraiture in modern times) illustrated with sculpture and drawing as well as the expected paintings, beautifully installed without a single piece that didn’t add to the story. The show started with a Donatello bust that was the best sited object I saw last year and ended with Bellini. You could escape life for awhile.

The most disappointing show of 2012? The Warhol Show at the Met. Nobody needs to see the Julian Schnabel painting of Barbara Walters. There were a couple of great Warhols and a lot of shitty Warhols.

Your favorite museums? The Met, The Frick, The Detroit Institute of Arts, the ground floor of the National Gallery in D.C. (the sculpture wing), the Tate (the original), National Gallery (London), The Ufizzi, Palazzo Pitti, the Villa Borghese (I have not been to the Prado or the Louvre), the Victoria & Albert.

What do you do to relax? Watch TV like an addict.

Click here to see Karl Kipfmueller’s work featured in townhouse.bz/art.

Posted by Marla Dekker February 2, 2013 / No Comments Filed Under Karl Kipfmueller, townhouse.bz Art

Thanks to Tommi Parzinger, I have been thinking about the use of language and how it relates to furniture. A few weeks ago I was called by a potential client to look at his Parzinger Originals furniture and upon my arrival was surprised to see some very shiny new cabinets based upon Tommi’s designs, however, Mr. Parzinger has been dead for 25 years. The following week in the Home section of the New York Times the architect Daniel Wismer refers to a new Parzinger chaise saying “They have the license from Parzinger, so it is a real piece, not a knock off…”. While it might not be a knock off any more than Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel suits are, it is still a reproduction, and it is misleading not to acknowledge that.

The relationship of language, furniture and commerce is an interesting thing and reproduction, knock off, vintage, period, original and antique all have specific meanings. It is completely possible to have a Louis XV chair that is antique but not period as well as a vintage (but not antique) Louis XV chair that is worth more than one that is period (think Maison Jansen). If not buying for investment and your major concern is style, perhaps none of this matters. Nonetheless, it is important for these terms to be understood, especially since it may affect your shopping.

In the meantime I am going to just relax in my Bruno chair (vintage Knoll) with a bottle of wine on my Mies coffee table (vintage Knoll) drinking from a glass (Josef Hoffmann reproduction, Nue Gallerie) gazing into my dining room with its mahogany table (modern Ruhlmann adaptation) surrounded by a mix of French armchairs (vintage) and American Empire side chairs (period) glittering beneath a Venetian green glass chandelier (antique) which lights up the well arted walls (all original) and think about why this use of language is an issue to me.

By the way, if you want to see a vintage Parzinger Originals chaise, just look at the Townhouse website under seating. That is a real piece.

Posted by Karl Kipfmueller March 14, 2011 / 1 Comments Filed Under In the News, Karl Kipfmueller, Modernism, Parzinger, What Is...

Bambi by Aleksander Duravcevic

In the distant past I acquired a large charcoal drawing by Aleksander Duravcevic (affectionately referred to as Sasha). Although I am sure it has an impossibly formal title, we have always called it the “Bambi Drawing”. Much like the amazing George Stubbs painting of the horse in the National Gallery in London, it reads as both a huge formal portrait as well as an exquisite drawing of an animal. I find it impossibly beautiful. It is also ridiculously fragile. It was always intended for the dining room that did not yet exist but had been taking shape in our minds for years. Suddenly the room was ready and Bambi was still temporarily hanging from clips from the picture rail in our living room, looking vulnerable and aloof.

Bambi’s frame, left as it arrived from the cabinet maker and right after being painted in casein.

Our house was built in 1864 and although we have no interest in living in a period house we still maintain a pretty formal aesthetic. The completed dining room walls are painted an intense deep red (Farrow and Ball Etruscan Red), the furniture is the combination of a dark wood table, a sideboard and white painted French armchairs (none of which match). The artwork is all black and white. The color comes from the space itself. In addition to the red walls, the cornice is a mossy green and the ceiling is an anything but subtle blue. The art that was already in place ranges from contemporary white ceramic wall pieces to vintage and contemporary photography, drawings and prints including a drawing by my then 5 year old nephew of a raccoon that hangs in a Louis XV wooden frame from the fifties, a period Victorian gilt frame on an Alma Tadema engraving and simple black frames on much of the photography. We wanted the room to have the feel of a 19th century hanging, no small feat with this eclectic grouping, so figuring out what to do with a huge (over 6×4 foot) contemporary drawing was an issue.

Sasha’s drawings are usually shown in simple wood gallery frames, which are beautiful on white walls but would look harsh in this space. We also decided that we did not want to use plexiglass or glass over the piece. While we understand the importance of protecting the surface we felt that in a childless domestic interior we would risk it to preserve the velvety appearance of the drawing. The frame also had to be deep enough to protect it from casual traffic and the occasional wild party.

Top left – drawing the stencils, top right – placement of the stencil, bottom left – applying gold leaf, bottom right – securing the gold leaf.

I have always loved Italian art and their frames. I especially like old cassetta style frames which are flat panels with raised inner and outer mouldings. I know a young, eager and very talented cabinet maker who would love to build something besides another high end kitchen or wall unit and who was up to the challenge. I went through books, walked through the Met, took measurements and did drawings and sent the cabinet maker away to build the frame. When he delivered it a few weeks later and I saw how big it was that I thought what in Bambi’s name have I done? There was no turning back. I knew it was to be black so I painted it in casein which mimics the flat fresco like look of old painted frames and I decided to gild the corners and central medallions to both lighten it visually and also to reflect light in the evening when lights are low during meals. The gilding was left rather crude to prevent it from appearing harsh and graphic, this was not for a lobby in a Trump building or a McMansion great room. The back panel of the frame is covered in linen which has been painted flat black. The edges of the drawing are exposed and white so Bambi floats within the frame. It has been mounted with aluminum push pins, a nod to its contemporary status.

The final result is quite amazing.

This huge drawing in this massive frame seems quite at home on the red walls in this frighteningly mature room. It creates a window that feels like you are looking through to a vista with a fawn standing in it. While it dominates the wall, it does not over power the room. I am looking forward to serving venison this fall while Bambi looks on in silent horror.

Sources
Artist: Aleksander Duravcevic 917-363-0002
Cabinetmaker: Christian Galesi 646-541-8547
Finishing: Grand Avenue Workshop 718-789-3306

Reference Books
Italian Renaissance Frames
Timothy J Newbery et. al
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Harry N. Abrams Inc, 1990

Frames in the Robert Lehman Collection
Timothy J Newbery
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Princeton University Press, 2007

Lowy: The Secret Lives of Frames
Deborah Davis
Filipacchi Publishing, 2007

The Art of the Picture Frame
Jacob Somon
National Portrait Gallery Publications, London, 1996

The Gilded Edge
Eli Wilner
Chronicle Books, 2000

Posted by Karl Kipfmueller March 6, 2011 / 3 Comments Filed Under Karl Kipfmueller, townhouse.bz chronicles, What Is...

Karl Kipfmueller in his Brooklyn, NY studio. His paintings are featured at townhouse.bz Art.

From Karl About his Paintings
It was 1983 when I saw a Robert Mapplethorpe show at the Robert Miller Gallery* that had a profound influence on my work. I was in graduate school and up until that point my paintings were manipulated, cropped fashion images blown up and painted in a way that emphasized pattern and composition. The Mapplethorpe show made me re-think what art could be and while not abandoning my interests in composition or pattern, the emphasis of my painting and drawing from that time onward has been the male body.

My work is about the body as object. The work is not intended to be read as portraits even though those elements do often exist. I am not concerned about creating a narrative excuse through History, Religion or Mythology to provide a setting for the figure. It is figure as still life.

I am interested in the concept of beauty in art, both in the subject but also in the abstract qualities of the application of paint and the resulting surface. Mannerist portraiture, 19th and 20th Century Art, Fashion Photography and Figurative Sculpture are all areas that I follow and which make their way into my work.

*It is worth mentioning the Robert Miller Gallery since at that time no one in America would show Mapplethorpe’s work and his only published catalogs were in German, so in l983 it was a big deal to show him in a 5th Avenue gallery (it was before their move to 57th Street). This is a historical context that is easily forgotten 27 years later. Miller is a great gallery, they had the guts to champion someone no one would touch and whose entire reputation in the states at that point was based upon European shows and gossip. Not only did Miller show Mapplethorpe but also Louise Bourgoise and Bruce Weber which made it a place where I spent a lot of time.

Posted by Marla Dekker November 30, 2010 / 1 Comments Filed Under In the News, Karl Kipfmueller, townhouse.bz Art, What Is...

Parchment is tanned goatskin or sheepskin. It has been used for everything from books, documents, diplomas, Torahs and lamp shades. At the end of the 19th Century Carlo Bugatti began using it to cover the occasional piece of furniture. In the Metropolitan
Museum of Art (NYC) there is a remarkable Moorish-influenced
Bugatti secretary and chair with parchment panels. In the 1920s
in Paris Jean Michel Frank started wrapping walls and furniture
in it. It reached its beautiful peak in Frank’s drawing room of the
Vicomte Charles de Noailles, which every decent decorator ever
since has ripped off in one form or another.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Karl Kipfmueller August 8, 2010 / 2 Comments Filed Under Karl Kipfmueller, What Is...


 Shagreen, popularly called sharkskin, is actually the skin of the sting ray (that’s right–the fish that killed that wild life guy on T.V.) which has been tanned, preferably by Italians, because if we have learned nothing else in this life, they understand leather. Shagreen has been used throughout history for decorative objects (picture frames, compacts, glasses cases, Japanese sword handles). In the early part of the twentieth century the terminally clever French started to cover furniture in it, with Jean Michel Frank in the lead. In cocktail tables it is the equivalent of the perfect black dress, always appropriate. It is extraordinarily durable, each of the small dots that make up its’ beautiful surface is like a small chunk of bone. When used in excess or indiscreetly it immediately makes one hum the theme from Shaft. More examples on the jump.

Posted by Karl Kipfmueller July 11, 2010 / 2 Comments Filed Under Karl Kipfmueller, Shagreen, What Is...

Townhouse is designed, written and produced by Dekker Babian. Townhouse is located in Brooklyn, NY. Telephone: 718 398 6792. All text and photos © 2009 – 2016.