NEW YORK, NY -- February and March always bring the sense that one is quite ready to be done with the cold, the damp, and the dark. I can’t believe that it is still getting dim around 5:30 in the evening, when I convinced myself that that rhythm was on its way out of my life around Christmas. I always miscalculate that: in December, I must remind myself next year, there are still three months of early evenings to go.
I had the good fortune of escaping to the warmth of California and Hawaii, however, for about a week in January, and I brought my camera with me. My camera, in the counter-cultural vein of many millennials, is an old film camera (counter-intuitive as that might seem, we like to rebel against our techie reputation). It wasn’t passed down to me by a grandfather; rather, I bought it with a close friend I was traveling alongside this summer as a means to document our journey. A trusty Pentax ME, made 1980, it became our baby, and it taught us the joy of delayed gratification: it felt like Christmas when we received our long-awaited developed photos, and we loved only having one chance to line up our shot right, gauge the proper aperture, and hope the picture came out if we held steady. Soon, we learned how to develop our photos in the darkroom, another step toward recovering the long-lost art of photography, a once quite satisfying and rich process.
Bringing the camera out to California and Hawaii was lovely. I hadn’t really used the camera since the last warm fall days of October, and it felt great to handle its weight and real, manual buttons again. I started looking for shapes and spaces to capture, ones that reflected the mood of my surroundings. Building facades that caught a certain morning light, a few portraits of my sister, some black-and-white shots of some old, beautiful homes and hotels that still stand in Honolulu – these frames made up my week’s portfolio. I have yet to develop most of the film (three rolls of 36 shots), but with those carefully chosen shots I brought back more of a sense of aesthetic appreciation for my own wintry New York landscape. Of course, I might still be basking in the aura of vacation – who knows? But I think my time spent walking with my camera, looking at what made up the aesthetic of my surroundings, made me more open to beauty on even the coldest and darkest of days. I was in the garment district just last night, not typically thought of as the most beauteous part of New York, but I kept finding little glints of nostalgia, of excitement, of things I would LOVE to capture with my little camera.
The February sale at Hayloft has many eye-catching pieces, ones that are stirring my new aesthetic appreciation. There are several paintings in the sale that I find particularly evocative. Douglas Chandor’s Portrait of a Woman (Lot 22) is enchanting to me – the woman in the painting is beautiful, and something about her gaze is inviting and warm. Domenico Forlenza’s Woman by Window (Lot 254) I find intriguing for different reasons – the woman captured invites us in with both her pose and her gaze, and the painting feels fun, energetic, and sunny. Paul Strisik’s Mussels, a still life (Lot 59), is simple and almost sparkling in the way it captures light – I would love to hang this in a sunny, intimate space.
My favorite objects in the sale feel equally special. Lot 200 is a Murano urn-form vase whose pictures simply can’t do it justice: the way this iridescent glass captures light looks magical. Lot 220 is a Tiffany & Co. French silver mounted carriage clock. It is feminine and intricate, tortoise shell layered with silver, and would be so beautiful as a focal point on a bedside table.
In furniture, there are a few pieces that are pulling me. First, Lot 2: the Louis XV style painted vanity. I find it fun and beautiful; I love the tiny detailed scenes painted all over it, and think it would be a lovely piece to have in the right bedroom. Second, I love a good pine chest, so I love Lot 9 – and while it might need a bit of fixing up, the starting bid is unbeatable. I love the wooden trunk, Lot 276 – I find the brass details in it lovely. Lastly, I think the Neoclassical style metal and glass low table (Lot 236) is just the perfect coffee table for a small New York apartment – it doesn’t take up any visual space, as it’s see-through, and yet it provides ample table space: what more could you ask for?
I invite you all to find the beauty with me in these last cold weeks – April is just around the corner! And soon we’ll be complaining about the heat.
Timed online-only auction of furniture, décor, art and jewelry
Current auction closes on Sunday, February 11 at 7pm