“Connoisseurship: Great Design Collectors, Then and Now,” was the title of a talk I co-hosted with historian and contributing Design Editor to T David Netto at Design Miami on Friday. We have selected four ultimate design collectors, two from the past and two of the present. From the past, David selected the Maharaja of Indore who, passionate and conversant with European avant-garde design, had commissioned Ekhart Muthesius to create for him a modernist palace in India. Legendary collectors Jacques Doucette and Yves Saint Laurent couldn’t have been different. While Doucet’s taste was rooted in the present and future, while Saint Laurent was drawn to the past. In fact, with the exception of Andy Warhol and the Lalannes, his collection was completely comprised of historical objects. As the ultimate contemporary design connoisseur, we selected Lee F. Mindel who has created some of the most magical domestic interiors of our time and his ability to utilize objects in the space we both admire. While the four collectors were living in different eras, spanned together the past and current centuries, we have concluded that they had a lot in common. All have made courageous choices, developed personal, educated, and individualistic tastes, that had nothing to do with trends but with their inner philosophy and aesthetics, and all four have developed admirable, timeless homes.
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