I travel frequently and often have some complaint about the hotel bath. The complaint usually has something to do with function although there is often a detail or two I would like to change about the aesthetics as well.

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VERY RICH & HANDSOME is the name of an exhibition at the Hirschl & Adler Galleries in the Crown Building at 730 Fifth Avenue, New York. As part of my museum and antiques show hopping in New York in January, I especially wanted to see this extraordinary group of American Neo-Classical decorative arts. The title of the show was extracted from an 1820 document by Abby Breese Salisbury who described a group of furniture she had commissioned from the Boston cabinet making firm of Issac Vose & Son in the early days of the 19th century. While great furniture was made in Boston at that time, other cabinetmaking centers were well established New York, Baltimore and Philadelphia. The show has examples from all of these centers and each piece is more refined and elegant than the next.

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WORLD OF INTERIORS, always a great resource for the unusual, recently wrote about Maison du Pastel, a treasured old French pastel manufacturer in existence since 1712. I made their shop a must see on my quick trip to Paris in mid January. The tiny atelier in Paris, open on Thursday afternoons only, is hidden in a courtyard in the Marais. This firm has been attracting artists and amateurs alike in this same location since 1912. While newly cleaned and slightly updated, it appears much the same today as it did when it first opened its’ door;  a welcoming front entrance, a long wall of painted drawers, open shelves holding boxes of colors, a well used wooden counter, charming student lamp and two enthusiastic, knowledgable young women to open your eyes to the world of pastels.

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I know that many of you saw this bath featured in World of Interiors. I would be remiss if I did not comment on this completely original Art Deco design: it is perfection.  The New York City apartment, a penthouse with 30 rooms on Gracie Square with views in several directions, was owned by Conde Nast. The design elements of the bath and the entire apartment fall well within the decorative arts framework made popular in the 1920s and 1930s in France. The influences were informed by contemporary design themes from LeCorbusier and Walter Gropius, historical excesses and exuberant wrought iron floral designs of Edgar Brandt, organic forms from Hector Guimard and crisp angularities from Charles Rennie Mackintosh are evident in the etched glass.

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