Curatorial Alchemy

Our paths first crossed, unknown until many years later, at an intimate yet bustling wedding reception in a south Chicago apartment. This was probably 30 years ago, perhaps even the same year a new gallery, Torno Wright, opened at the end of my street to a fanfare of Eames, heralding new changes to come. Criss-crossing breezes of chance encounters, meandering spirits, hazy focus of time and space, of enthusiasm and knowledge sought, now united again in the same city.

That same serendipity, prompting impulse and discovery, guided welcome reward in the crucible of that great industrial city, still littered with the artefacts of the American mid-century. It was within this uneven yet fertile terrain, hidden slightly below surface, that Patrick’s intuitive talent—honed first as photographer then embellished as artist—would treasure the valuable neglected as passionate collector, and then as the inspirational dealer that I was to meet again, years later in New York City.

If asked to select one word to describe Patrick, I would resist and pick two. The first would be curiosity—a fundamental essential, to stimulate inquiry and rigour in all things, both great and small, of any era or region, type or surface. Even the most fleeting survey of this selection for sale is a celebration of innovation and of inspiration—an unerring eye for the unusually exceptional, or perhaps the exceptionally unusual. The chances are, that these are indeed discoveries that you have not yet realized that you needed to make.

Mentor, would be my second word. If artefacts and objects articulate visual, cultural and historic language, then the fluency of skillful mentorship—to guide, nurture, describe and explain—releases the eloquence of murmuring histories. In this capacity Patrick is that most earnest and sincere of excellent narrators. If ever I had friends, clients or colleagues visiting New York looking for unusual inspiration, there was always the certainty that Patrick’s gallery would offer them a glimpse of the hitherto unseen or the unusually seductive, always with the reassurance of the most fascinating story waiting to be told.

Mentorship and curiosity, when balanced in equal measure, reveal the precious alchemy of a curator. And it is the duty of the mature curator to discern and detect, to cultivate change, and from there to pioneer, and to share. Innovation is never static, and the Present is already the Future. Fresh dialogs evolve, energies to be nurtured, opportunities to be guided. Renewed and re-orientated, Patrick now faces fully forward—as benefactor, interlocutor and mentor to a new, inquisitive generation of talented creators, and the quest for discovery rejuvenates.

— Simon Andrews

Jean Mayodon

Born in 1893, Jean Mayodon trained as an interior decorator and painter prior to turning to ceramics around the age of twenty. He set up a workshop in his hometown of Sèvres, France and enjoyed rapid success, presenting his ceramics at the Musée Galliera in Paris (now the Palais Galliera) in 1919 and holding his first solo exhibition just two years later. Mayodon drew inspiration from classical Greek, Persian, Etruscan, and other Mediterranean antiquities. His vessels are striking, covered in painterly illustrations of creatures, figures, and animals in rich colors with exquisite gold craquelure. These colors resulted from his low-temperature firing technique combined with metal oxide glazes; he fired his pieces up to six times, reglazing with each firing, resulting in rich, complex, vibrant hues.

Mayodon collaborated with Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann at the influential 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Moderne, Paris, and his work was included in the Parisian Salons des Artistes Décorateurs of 1928 and 1932. He also worked with many preeminent designers and architects of the time, among them Eugene Printz, Jules Leleu, and Raymond Subes. He participated in numerous other international exhibitions throughout his career and served as an artistic advisor from 1934-39 and artistic director from 1941-42 at the Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres. While there, Mayodon created designs for both the first class swimming pool and the luxurious Rouen suite on the famous ocean liner SS Normandie. His work can be found in leading institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and The Art Institute of Chicago and he is considered to be one of the foremost French Art Deco ceramists of his era.

Auction Results Jean Mayodon