Cultured Magazine

Spring 2014

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 55 of 135

Every now and then, the leading auction houses present single- owner sales, which have always tended to become sources of curiosity and interest. They typically reveal private lifestyles, secret visions and the educated taste of those connoisseurs who succeeded to build substantial and significant collections. On March 25, Christie's is holding a three-day sale called "Barry Friedman: The Eclectic Eye," offering the design and art collection of one of New York's most celebrated art dealers. It concludes Friedman's nearly five-decade career on the eve of his retirement. The collection may not be the world's most important of its kind, but it is certainly inspiring, daring and witty. It teaches us about the art of collecting and exposes the unique high-brow and quintessentially progressive taste of a man who has guided such celebrities as Andy Warhol and Barbara Streisand to assemble their legendary collections. Friedman's design pieces are like a lexicon of the groundbreaking chapters that constitute the story of modern design: Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Midcentury Modern, Postmodernism and the leading contemporary design modes of this century. The love for abstraction, avant-garde, "good" design and superb craftsmanship is apparent not only in the collection, but also in the choice of their weekend home, which Friedman and his wife, fashion designer Patricia Pastor, purchased 30 years ago and currently is also on the market for sale. This single-level modernist house, overlooking the Hudson River in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, was designed by Bauhaüsler Marcel Breuer, who spent the last chapter of his career in the U.S. Friedman is a true tastemaker, never following trends, but rather creating them and leading the way for those passionate about living with great design. He began his love story with the world of decorative arts fairly early, starting to collect glass art in 1966. He opened his first space, Primavera Gallery, with his then-wife Audrey Friedman. First focusing on Art Nouveau glass by Loetz, Tiffany & Co. and Gallé, he soon discovered the allure of Art Deco while wandering around Paris flea markets. It was also Friedman who had first taught Americans how to live with French Moderne and how to incorporate furniture by Eileen Gray, Émile- Jacques Ruhlmann and Jean Dunand to form glamorous interiors. He then discovered other avant-garde movements: the Wiener Werkstätte, Symbol- ism, Cubism, Constructivism, German Modernism and Postmodernism. After exhausting the vintage, he turned his efforts to contemporary design and was the first to represent London-based designer Ron Arad. The auction is divided into four sessions, two of which are devoted to glass art, Friedman's longtime love. When asked about the event, he replied like any passionate collector: "There is nothing I really want to sell." 54 CULTURED Legendary dealer Barry Friedman closes his storied career with a Christie's sale of his own, wide-ranging personal collection. BY DANIELLA OHAD LA DOLCE VITA Clockwise from left: Yoichi Ohira's Cristallo Sommerso N. 53—Scolpito; Ron Arad's 2 R Not, 1992; Barry Friedman on his terrace in Manhattan in the late '70s

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Cultured Magazine - Spring 2014