Back in the early 90s when I decided to really throw myself into “picking”, I had a graphic designer friend help me come up with a business card. The outline of this famous teapot was printed on it to represent to my "new world" that I was interested in buying that period, which was very unusual at that time really, as the designs were still fairly contemporaneous, less than 10 years old. I think I also had a Josef Hoffmann handled vase from 1925, an Eames LCW and George Nelson Ball clock from the 50s on there as well. So when I had a chance to buy this Memphis teapot, I was very excited as I had never owned one before.

This example is very special, as it was designed in 1982 by Matteo Thun and this particular example was specifically made for Karl Lagerfeld (one of the most high profile and early adopters of Memphis Design) and is signed "Per Karl”, who at some point gifted it to his dear friend Patrick McCarthy who was the longtime editor of Women’s Wear Daily & W Magazine. I bought it from his Park Avenue estate after he passed away too early at only 67 in 2019. It was in his kitchen in a place of honor, obviously not used often, but definitely loved…

We create things that people can understand and use intuitively. It’s almost a subconscious reaction: we try to create timeless icons.

Matteo Thun

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