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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Fine Print: Louis Vuitton Suddenly Affordable

While it still will cost you to put a genuine Vuitton in your closet, you can display the new Louis Vuitton: Art, Fashion and Architecture on your coffee table for a mere $53.55, available at Amazon.com.

This hefty 400-page volume comprises the breadth of the great fashion house's collaborations over the past 30 years with artists, architects, designers, and photographers, such as Jun Aoki, Shigeru Ban, Zaha Hadid, David LaChapelle, Jean Larivière, Annie Leibovitz, Takashi Murakami, Richard Prince, Inez Van Lamsweerde, and Vinoodh Matadin.
From early collaborations such as Jacques-Henri Lartigue's Eiffel Tower-shaped suitcase back in 1978 the volume's glossy pages come stuffed with an unending stream of high profile partnerships.

There's a streamlined carbon fiber suitcase from Philippe Starck, conceptual art scarves from Sol LeWitt, and David la Chapelle’s Lil’ Kim tattooed with the LV monogram from 1999.

Vuitton's Murakamified store in Tokyo
Other work from the likes of Olafur Eliasson, with his unearthly tubular light installation from 2006; Vincent Dubourg and his aluminum encased travel trunk; and Vanessa Beecroft's 2005 body installation at the Petit Palais in Paris shows Vuitton’s creative outreach stretching beyond the realms of most other fashion houses.

Buy it now at Amazon.com

We also recommend:
Dior by Farid Chenoune

Tom Ford by Tom Ford

Ralph Lauren by Ralph Lauren, introduction by Audrey Hepburn

Yves Saint Laurent: 40 Years of Creation
by Yves St. Laurent

Avedon Fashion 1944-2000
by Carol Squiers

Paris 1962: Yves Saint Laurent and Dior, Christian Dior, The Early Collections
by Jerry Schatzberg

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Interview: Photography Gallerist Peter Fetterman On the State of the Market, Collecting, and What to Buy Next

"One of the wonderful things about photography is that it is still possible to build up a significant collection for relatively small sums of money, if you go about it in a smart way," says Peter Fetterman.

The impassioned collector turned dealer displays images in an intimate salon-style atmosphere at his popular Peter Fetterman Gallery, where visitors can see carefully curated shows by both master and lesser known photographers.

We spoke with the congenial Fetterman at his gallery in Santa Monica.

Peter Fetterman at his gallery in Santa Monica

What is the state of the photography market today?

I think classic photography is strong. Cutting edge art is in trouble.


There was so much hype. The buying was purely speculative. Kids were coming out of art schools that dealers grabbed and put extraordinary prices on untried work. These days are over.

This isn’t a bad thing, is it?
No it is good that a saner environment will now prevail. Hopefully real
artists – people with genuine, unique insight and original vision – will now
emerge instead of “wannabes” expecting to be treated like rock stars.

Which photographers are you talking about here?

I’m not naming names! We deal in a lot of blue chip, classic photography. A lot of the artists we work with are in their 80s and 90s. These people have spent 40-50 years practicing their craft.

What are people buying today?

Our clients are buying images that move them, that have a haunting quality that they can connect to.

Sebastian Salgado

Who's in vogue now?

We represent the foremost photo journalist in the world, Sebastiao Salgado… What he’s been working for the last 30-40 years is bringing people together. (He believes that) we in the first world can’t ignore the third world… The images have great humanity and great beauty; they’re inspirational and humbling at the same time.

Willy Ronis, Amoureux de la Bastille, Paris, 1957
Who should we be buying now?

Sadly, one of our great photographers died a few weeks ago, Willy Ronis. He was 99 years old and undervalued.

Next year MoMA in New York is doing a major Cartier-Bresson retrospective. He’s Rembrandt. I know that show is going to change the perception of him and also change his market.

So this would be a good time to be collecting Cartier-Bresson?

I think it’s a very good time, because I think he’s undervalued.


If a Robert Frank is selling for $220,000 and a Cartier-Bresson is selling for $20,000… those prices seem to be out of sync. As a collector, you want to buy not only something that moves you… but also something that is somewhat undervalued.

Who else is undervalued?

I think Salgado is. I think Willy Ronis now is. Also Andre Kertesz and any of the master blue chip photographers.

My impression is that those are expensive, established names and already command high prices.

The prices, they are not as high as they’re going to go. As the contemporary market decompresses, people go back to the masters. The recent successful auctions have been the Old Master painters and classic Impressionists. People have been going back to those tried and true names. Everything else seems unstable. The hype that was going on about Chinese and Indian art!

Jeffrey Conley, Snow Covered Reflections, 2005

Great collectors always have an eye for new talent? Who should they be watching today?

Jeffrey Conley. My eye tells me that he is a master American photographer in the Ansel Adams tradition, but with his own originality and voice. This is the first young photographer we’ve taken on in many years. We’re putting a lot of time and energy to promote him. I believe in the work. I think it’s special… I’m not a landscape person, but I’m very moved by these images. I’m very inspired by them.

Lillian Bassman, for years no one ever heard of her. She was a contemporary of Irving Penn (who just died) and Richard Avedon. But because she was a woman in the 1950s bringing up her children, she wasn’t into her career as those guys were. Now she’s having a major renaissance. Fortunately, we’re a big part of that.

Lillian Bassman, Fantasy on the Dance Floor: Barbara Mullen, Paris, 1949. The ball gown is by Dior.

Tell us about your new show, "Faces of Fashion."

We’re doing a major show of fashion images. We’re also doing a one-woman show to celebrate Lillian Bassman’s new book.

Who else will be in the fashion show?

You’ll see great Irving Penns, great Horsts, a wonderful French photographer Georges Dambier, who was a photographer for French Elle in the 1950s. This will be his debut West-coast showing.

There will be a lot of beautiful surprises. Fashion photography as a genre seems to be one of the most expanding sectors of the market. When you pick up the newspapers in the morning, it’s depressing. So it’s great to look at these beautiful images.

How do you decide whom to show in your gallery?

The question I ask myself before I write a check is, in 500 years time, will this image have any significance in the history of photography?

You have great confidence in your judgment, because you won’t be around to find out! Does the photography market mirror the art market in general?

The status of photography has changed; it’s no longer the poor relative.

What shows over the next year should we be looking for?

In April the Museum of Modern Art in New York is hosting the biggest Cartier-Bresson retrospective ever. Robert Frank’s The Americans has just opened at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Those will be two significant, great shows.

What is your favorite luxury item? What items give you the greatest pleasure?

I’m not materialistic. I’m not interested in cars. I value peace of mind, serenity, clean air and being away from the computer!

"Faces of Fashion" is on view through February at Peter Fetterman Gallery, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. Call (310) 453-6463 for exhibition hours.

For an appreciation of Irving Penn, who died earlier this week at the age of 92, please click here.

Friday, October 2, 2009

This Just In! The Cool, New Must-Have Gadget Everyone Will Want This Holiday Season

Anyone can watch a movie on a television set. Big deal!

The lucky few soon will be able to watch movies and videos on any wall, anywhere with the aid of a 6 oz. device that is small enough to fit in your hand but powerful enough to project a crisp 60 in. image from eight feet away.

We're talking about the amazing Wowee Cinemin Swivel microprojector.What's a microprojector? These pocket-sized gadgets take video from an iPhone, iPod, DVD player (including portables), video camera (including the Flip) and laptop computer and play it on any surface, indoors or out.

The New York Times called them "the newest blow-away-your-friends devices."

We call them the perfect cool gift for your clients, business associates, cast friends, and family this holiday season.

Here's what New York Times tech reporter Bob Tedeschi had to say about the Wowee Cinemin Swivel:

In short, this is easily the coolest new thing I’ve seen since the iPhone...

The Swivel came in handy on a sweltering afternoon last week, when we retreated to my son’s air-conditioned bedroom, connected my iPhone to the Cinemin Swivel, and voilà! An instant big-screen matinee of “Cars.”

Score big points for the Swivel’s simplicity...

Battery life was just enough. On a full charge, the Swivel lasts about two hours and 15 minutes, but when our unit started to fade on an incompletely charged battery, we just plugged it in and cruised through the end...

The Swivel has an audio jack for connecting the device to external speakers. [It also has a small built-inspeaker.] We plugged in a lightweight speaker, and at full volume the experience was amazing — a portable big-screen movie with big sound to match.

Luxury campers, I know what you’re thinking. How will this setup work if you have no power outlets to plug in your speakers? Simple. Newer audio devices like the JBL On Tour XTB feature very good speakers, and they work on batteries or AC power... Purely battery-powered speakers like the Nokia MD-8 are easily loud enough for the task.

Another nice feature: the Swivel’s hinged design means you can flip the business end of the device upward, and the video plays on your ceiling.
As we said before, this is very cool. See for yourself:

At $349.99, this clever gadget is already often sold out on Cinemin's website and will continue to be in short supply through the holidays.

Please call us now at (310) 581-6710 to make sure that we set aside several for you in time for holiday gifting.