12 October 2011

objects of Desire: Tony Duquette


I marvel at the creative energy of the likes of Tony Duquette. 

Immediate thoughts might be of Duquette as decorator,  or  jeweler- or artist-he was all these things. Rarely are designers today moving through their rooms with the zest of Tony Duquette-touching everything with his hand and eye- his signature- a la Duquette in the most glorious way.  

His designs are distinctive in every sense of the word, recognizable. I have and invitation to Dawnridge from the elegant Hutton Wilkinson, now I just have to get to California!

Top New York antiques dealer David Duncan recently acquired a rare, signed set of low-relief paintings by Duquette.

The paintings are of male and female figures in 19th Century inspired costume. The stylized attenuated figures appear on a floating  Duquette gondola ornamented with paste jewels  set on a painted board with stylized palms.
Each painting is in a customized 19th Century wood and gesso frame, one with chain link motif inner matte, the other with a scroll motif inner matte. Those are the details that are priceless in any of the decorative pieces created by Duquette. This pair of pieces bespeak "Duquette" right down to the fine radiating lines suggesting  a sunburst. 

I love the faces he painted. They have all the glamour of the period (c.1950), but done in the most simple gestural features  that also evoke the decorations of Chinoiserie as well. The paste jewels  are another favorite touch, the soft palette of blues- perfect for a day of boating and the creamy whites-a froth of confectionery sugar a pure Duquette fantasy.  The pieces are being offered through David's gallery, David Duncan Antiques here. I hope to sneak a peak at them next week, if you haven't already snatched them up!



  1. These remind me of the fantastic costumes and sets Duquette designed for MGM musicals.
    __ The Devoted Classicist

  2. I've never seen a Tony Duquette creation that didn't make me happy. Some of his fantasy pieces of furniture are amazingly quirky yet functional. Mary

  3. Beautiful, yes the faces are lovely, thank you

  4. These are just so great! I love the faces, too and the smart palmy shapes in the background. Fantastic!!

  5. it is all about the faces! So few strokes! I was so lucky to be friends with Tony; and Hutton and Ruthie! I collect the works of Marcel Vertes! His faces were also very few strokes!

    I bought one of my oil paintings from Tony and Hutton! It had belonged to Elsie de Wolfe!





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