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17 December 2012  |  Furniture & Decorative Arts   |  Article

Channeling the East: Incorporating Chinese Taste in an Interior

Including Chinese elements in Western interiors is, of course, nothing new. Trade along the Silk Road had been occurring for centuries, and though tightly controlled by the Chinese, the advent of the sea trade in the 17th and 18th centuries allowed seemingly exotic exports, such as silks, porcelain, and lacquer, to become more available to the Western market. Expensive and opulent, Chinese goods stood as 17th and 18th-century symbols of wealth and worldliness. European craftsmen created their own interpretations of Chinese styles throughout the 18th century. Capitalizing on the public’s desire for exoticism, their designs often reached fantastical levels.

Two ionic 20th-century designers immediately come to mind when considering how to use Chinese elements in modern interiors. Hollywood Regency designer William “Billy” Haines’ luxurious interiors were eclectic combinations of European antiques, rich fabrics, and small scale furniture punctuated with unique Chinese objects and forms, such as a custom designed mirror inset with a Chinese plaque (lot 312), and Chinese vases mounted as lamps (lots 309 and 310). Designer Tony Duquette also delighted in infusing his opulent interiors with bold examples of Chinese taste, often creating his own pieces of Chinoiserie in the form of oversize pagodas, elaborately decorated mirrors, and going so far as to create a Chinese pavilion, designed in red lacquer and gold leaf on his Malibu, California property.

Today designers, such as Mary McDonald, continue to inject Chinese elements into their work, including touches such as blue and white porcelain vases, ceramic pagodas, horseshoe chairs, and lacquered furniture to create chic and modern spaces imbued with character.


Related Sale
Sale 2667
Christie's Interiors
8-9 Jan 2013
New York, Rockefeller Plaza








Related Departments
Interiors

Related Artists
William Haines

Keywords
All - Paintings, Prints, Drawings & Watercolors
All other categories of objects
Furniture & Lighting
William Haines
17th Century
18th Century
20th Century
lacquer/japanned
China

Lot 133, Sale 2667
AN ASSEMBLED GROUP OF EIGHT CHINESE EXPORT IMMORTALS,
19TH CENTURY
Price Realized: $1,625


Lot 134, Sale 2667
A CHINESE BRONZE RITUAL VESSSEL, JUE
LATE SHANG/WESTERN ZHOU (12TH-10TH BC)
Price Realized: $13,750