Monday, March 21, 2011


FEUILLE DE CHOU is a term used to describe a certain kind of tapestry but can also describe export and Chinese armorial porcelain characterized by a stylish motif of lush green/blue overlapping leaves.

It's pronounced (and this is a tough one so practice it a few times before trying to impress your friends & neighbors): "FUR duh SHOE". Sounds like an animal-print Manolo Blahnik, right?
But this is not real "FUR duh SHOE". This is more accurately called "fur ON duh shoe" and lists for about $650 USD the pair.

Feuille de chou is actually French for CABBAGE LEAF and looks like this 16th century Flemish tapestry:
And here's another, same period and also Flemish:
What do these tapestries cost? For ones that are in C. Mariani Antiques condition, $30,000 USD to $125,000 USD each depending on provenance and subject matter (e.g., a pretty bird or a unicorn in the cabbage patch will fetch much more than a horned man-eating monster):

Popular and expensive:

Not so popular but still pretty expensive:

All too fascinating for words, I know. But just when I thought I'd become jaded about even the prettiest feuille de chous, we acquired a show-stopping masterpiece (TODAY, 4/14/11): An incomparable 16th century Sicilian silk ceremonial table carpet, in superb condition, and, yes, priced well above the other feuille de chous but so, so worth it! It makes me want to cry it's so beautiful:

Wow. Sob.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Second helping of Cabbage? FEUILLE DE CHOU, Part Deux

For those of you who are rabbits and therefore can't get enough feuille de chou cabbage leaf tapestries, read on:

Feuille de Chou (this is hard to type so I’ll just call it FDC) tapestries, as I mentioned in my last post above, are called that because of the mass of cabbage-like leaves dominating their fields.

I think they're the most striking and mysterious of all tapestries. Their design is almost abstract, a profusion of wild foliage seemingly emerging out of the darkness. Ooh, scary.

The first FDC tapestries appeared in the early 16th Century and probably evolved from what are called millefleurs (pronounced:”meel FLUR”) tapestries that are flowered and less dense tapestries. Here is the 15th century "Captive Unicorn" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. Flemish, 15th century:

The funny thing about FDC tapestries is that they really don’t depict cabbage leaves at all.

And so the “cabbage leaf” name is really a misnomer. The leaves portrayed are actually meant to be acanthus (bear’s breach) plants. I have three of them in my back yard:

FDC tapestries are almost three-dimensional and often have animals or mythological creatures amid the foliage. What they rarely, if ever, depict are people. Why is that? I have no idea. But that’s just one of the many mysteries of FDC tapestries. Others are:

"What do FDC tapestries mean?”, and

“What do they symbolize?", and

“Why doesn't Buzz get a life and stop wasting time on boring subjects like this?”

All excellent questions, but no one really knows the answers: maybe these wild and dense thickets, appearing to be beyond the control of man, represent medieval society’s genuine fears of chaos or insanity (hmmmm.). Life then was short and brutish—that’s a quote from some famous guy (Thomas Hobbs?) that I studied in college . But I’m too lazy right now to look it up (it’s Saturday!). Hope you have a lovely weekend.

P.S. I know, now you’re all worked up over tapestries (dream on, Buzz) and probably want to know all about verdures too. But I’ll mercifully save that for another post. You can thank me later….


David Phoenix, the uber-talented Los Angeles designer who you probably all know, did the extraordinarily gorgeous Living Room at the currently running 2011 House of Design in Crystal Cove, Laguna Beach, California this year (it's open through the 27th so there's still time to go!). And so I flew down to attend the opening and take a "look see". And I was stunned--all I can say about David's room is WOW! Talk about a tour de force! David knocked this one out of the park! It's really a must see:

I arrived (with the lovely Sarah Hills from our Gallery) at the Tuscan villa and snaked our way through the crowds of spectators, designers and press, to our usual hangout: the open bar. OK, I admit that before we found where the bar was we entered the tented area (it looked so elegant!) where the portapotties were. But anyhow, after we finally found the bar area we feasted our eyes on David's room:

Could you just die!?! This guy has the most unflinching superb taste, pure and simple. I kinda hate him for that, but in a good way.

I honestly wanted to buy the whole room. Ok, a couple of pieces were from C. Mariani, so I guess I wouldn't have to buy those. But what amazed me was how incredible our pieces looked in the context of the room as envisioned by David Phoenix. To coin a phrase from my college days (yes I DID go to college), the transformation and gorgeositty was mind-blowing. See for yourself:

Above: C. Mariani's 18th Century Chinese Sang de Boef Lacquer Screen (the most expensive piece on display and worth every penny by the way), according to OC Register) and our very modestly priced (and also worth every penny) La Collezione Rossano Tuscan Coffee Table.

What struck me was the way David mixed traditional with contemporary and then detailed the room to perfection with a wide array of accessories, none of which he borrowed from me :( but I didn't take that personally. Sob.

He did however use our Collezione Montalvo Demilune Console Table:

And he used our C. Mariani's 20th Century Set of Flora Danica Botanical Designs Dinnerware, some of which he mounted on the wall (which I would never think of doing but am now a total convert since it looked amazing):

What can I say except that I genuinely "j'adore" (no, I don't speak French) David Phoenix's work and thank the Philharmonic society for showcasing his extraordinary talent. My recommendation is to run don't walk to see his room before the 27th! General admission tickets are $35 and unlimited-entry passes at $45. For a schedule and other information, please visit the Philharmonic Society.