Deaccessioning, moi?

Mark and Susan Laracy on collecting, ageing, and changing tastes

We started collecting in our early forties, facilitated by the success of the perfume company we founded after Mark’s separation by firing from corporate life. The premise of Parfums de Coeur, “Designer quality fragrances not designer prices”, proved powerful and enduring...we sold it after thirty years of success and profitable growth.

Early on we acquired a noble white brick colonial on nine acres in New Canaan, Connecticut. Designer-magician, Albert Hadley transformed it into a place of great comfort, luxury, and beauty and he became part of our life for twenty six years. We collected American antiques, furniture and art, John Brewster, Amni Phillips, Goddard Townsend. We wanted to project a life of conservative comfort, solid old money—of course, nothing could have been further from the truth!

“Timing IS everything!"

Come 2005, we were empty nesters, Susan decided to depart Connecticut and move to New York City. We wanted change, foreign films, newness. We found a co-op at One Fifth Avenue, starting a long running love affair with Greenwich Village.

In early 2007 we sold our antiques collection and New Canaan house, talk about blessed timing!

Ours proved a familiar collecting arc; brown furniture and folk art gave way to mid-century modern furniture and contemporary art. We were tired of dark; we wanted color, newness, more space! In 2010 a Greenwich Village townhouse came our way. We had never stopped buying and collecting and we were always redecorating!

We continue changing our lives. We are building a new mid-century modern style house in Beverly Hills. Again, we wanted change, to be near our only grandchild, in La La land. We will be bi-coastal—New York and Los Angeles—straight urban energy full on.

Another motivation was realizing Mark has proven unable to maintain three houses; just too, too much. So we are selling our Florida home at the Bears Club and our 1917 Summer home in Weekapaug, Rhode Island.

By now you see the contents of those two houses will not easily fit into one new smaller house, thus our parting ways with these long cherished objects.

On one hand we’re sorry to see these go. However, these memories will always be with us, the wins and misses at so many auctions, Albert Hadley’s special eye on our handful of houses, most of all what a lucky and mostly happy life we have had together. We are passing these on, and, dear reader, we hope these bring you the same pleasures and good fortune we have so enjoyed.

P.S. A mild antidote to the above admitted orgy of fat cat disease: we regularly give to and support Harlem Children’s Zone and KIPP. This, and our two wonderful sons, is what we are most proud of...

René Lalique

Few artists influenced the direction of early 20th century decorative design more than René Jules Lalique. Lalique was born in the small village of Ay in northern France in 1860, but moved with his family to Paris at the age of two.

Like many talented artists that emerged from Paris during the early 20th century, Lalique thrived in the creative epicenter of the European world, attending Collège Turgot, a premier Parisian school of the arts. After his father’s death in 1875, Lalique found employment apprenticing with jeweler Louis Aucoc, gaining experience that would lay the groundwork for his own mastery of the craft. By 1881, Lalique had transformed himself from an eager apprentice into a successful freelance jewelry designer, working for manufacturers such as Cartier and Boucheron, as well as a growing roster of private clientele including actress Sarah Bernhardt and oil magnate Calouste Gulbenkian.

Lalique’s nature-inspired creations, with their soft, sensual Art Nouveau curves, captured the public’s attention. Shortly after establishing his first official workshop on the outskirts of Paris, Lalique opened a retail store in the affluent Opera district of Paris in 1890. Around this time, Lalique began experimenting with precious stones and metals, incorporating glass, ivory, pearls, and enamel into his increasingly elegant pieces.

Lalique’s reputation grew meteorically; his designs were acclaimed at numerous shows and exhibitions, including the Salon de Paris and the 1897 World’s Fair in Brussels. Ever the entrepreneur, he chose to expand his business by applying his craft to the perfume bottle industry. In 1905, Lalique opened a new location specializing in the production of luxury perfume bottles adorned with female nudes and patterns inspired by nature. His designs, such as Ambroise, Cactus, Deux Figurines, Eucalyptus, Sirene, and Amelie, were an immediate success.

By the end of his life, Lalique had grown his small business of imaginative, hand-crafted jewelry into a commercial manufacturer of production pieces in bronze and glass, as well as custom designs. With a catalog of over 1500 designs, Lalique’s glasswork remains his greatest legacy, encompassing clocks, vases, decanters, pitchers, glasses, jewelry, hood ornaments, and light fixtures in varied and elegant designs.

The company he founded, Lalique, still thrives to this day, producing jewelry, home décor, fragrances, and art glass that furthers the design philosophy established by René Lalique’s impressive and varied body of work.

Upcoming Lots René Lalique

Auction Results René Lalique