- By Alex Hitz for Departures
Chinese Porcelain Company
Since 1984, uber-decorators like Peter Marino, Brian McCarthy, and Ellie Cullman have flocked to New York’s Chinese Porcelain Company for ne plus ultra 18th Century Fine French Furniture, period export ceramics, and important Asian lacquer pieces—essential elements to create Grand English Country House Style or Le Style Rothschild—the only look for the moneyed potentates of the ’80s and ’90s. But tastes shift with the times: while venerable dealers like Segoura in Paris, and Stair and Company in New York have gone the way of the world, there’s a palatial new gallery upstairs for CPCO in East 59th Street’s legendary Fine Arts Building.
The address isn’t the only thing that’s changed: Hedge-fund manager-cum-antiquaire Pierre Durand, a Peruvian with a Columbia MBA, and an original partner of CPCO with the late Khalil Rizk, has joined forces with contemporary-art-dealer-turned-Upper-East-Side-saloniste-objects-afficianado Louis Bofferding, a Minnesotan by birth. The scope of offerings has widened. Whether you’re looking for a Kenzo Okada masterpiece, a Louis XVI meuble d’entre deux, or an exquisite Napoleon III folding chair with the highly-carved amputated bird’s leg foot that once belonged to Brooke Astor, now you know just where to find it.
“Louis brings exceptional taste,” says Durand, “and a deep scholarship of the decorative arts.” Meanwhile, Bofferding attributes “Pierre’s eye for Chinese art combined with mine for 20th-century design,” as what makes the new partnership peerless. They both share a passion for European decorative arts that folds together to make the gallery a top destination for collectors and designers from around the world.
Both Pierre and Louis have been my friends—and each other’s---for more than 20 years and both is a style–obsessed connoisseur. As “antique” has become nearly a four-letter word today, they’ve taken a taken a more curatorial approach. “We want to show it’s more interesting to MIX works from different periods than to decorate in just one style,” says Bofferding. With elements like Albrizzi and Dickinson objects from the ’70s (whose popularity can’t have been hurt by Tom Ford’s penchant for same) plus “fetishistic” Victoriana--- undulating themes of sexual repression that inspired ’30s surrealist objects like Syrie Maugham’s “lips” sofa and Dali’s lobster telephone—the name of this new game is haute example of period and style. Don’t miss that carved-with-a-gilded-reed Regence fauteuil upholstered in pony you just can’t get anywhere else.
Combining a healthy exhibitions program—jewelry, ink drawings, and sculpture from artists with “unique takes on their fields, the best of their kind, relevant to the way people live now,” says Durand—two dynamic creative visions, and cache of objets non-pareil, the message is clear: tastes may change, but quality never goes out of style.
— Alex Hitz