We’ve had a blossoming love affair at Huff Harrington Fine Art. It’s called Héritage (pronounced Air-ree-tahj) and it’s a collection of paintings, whose provenance is perhaps unknown, and that …
- Are exquisitely painted
- Have a history we can only imagine
- Have been passed down through generations and possibly ignored for years
- Catch our eye when we least expect it
- Cause us to stop in our tracks
- Find us oohing and aahing and gazing lovingly (and then hiding our enthusiasm from over eager sellers)
- Urge us to learn more about the artist, the subject, the circumstances, the history
- Are utterly one-of-a-kind and original and will never be seen again
- We know will haunt us if we don’t buy them
- Give us immeasurable joy when we do.
That’s our Heritage collection. Our passion.
Raymond Debieve(1931-2011) is a French artist in our Heritage collection, whose works in oil on paper and board were mostly painted in the mid 20th century. His work speaks for itself: A fresh combination of naivete and sophistication, with tenderness mixed with playfulness wrapped up in happy movement, color and expression. I don’t know why, but I feel like his work was painted with a wink. It’s pure joy, and we can’t get enough of it.
Sometimes we fall in love, buy as much as we can, and then go back for more and find out there isn’t any! That’s what happened with Ivan, whose woodblock stenciled series on rice paper had us mesperized enough that we bought as many as we could … but couldn’t get any more. We don’t know much about him, except that he lived in Switzerland, painted in the 1970’s, and is originally from Eastern Europe. But oh how we wish we knew more!
We couldn’t believe our luck when we fell upon this painting by accomplished mid-century French artist, Jacques Bartoli (1920-1995). One of the most exquisite paintings we’ve ever owned, this one is typical of the artist’s intimate scenes, mostly with women, often painted in a home environment, with a soft diffused palette, fluid movement, and perfectly balanced composition. We know it’s a jewel.
Sometimes we are drawn to exquisite palette and texture, like this rich, juicy and succulent painting by an Italian artist. We don’t know too much about the subject, except that he is painted with bold,confident brushstrokes that belie a most sensitive and earnest face. It’s a story of contrasts and it’s remarkable.
Sometimes we know nothing about the artist at all, but catch a pervasive sense of humor. This vivid and joyful painting was painted on the back of a letter, sent to a friend in Paris from a Spanish artist in 1959! We have two paintings by this artist and each one is whimsical, fun and painted — beautifully — with joie de vivre.
Sometimes a painting is so beautiful, it moves us to tears. That happened with this exquisite painting by Paul Delance (1848-1924), a post Impressionist French painter, who often painted scenes of women, silhouetted against a gorgeous backdrop, contrasting beauty with nostalgia. This one, of a woman looking out to sea with her baby in her arms, conjures up both the sadness of separation and the hope of a pink sky. Breathtaking.
Sometimes a painting proves to be elusive in more ways than one. When we saw this haunting portrait in a Paris antiques store, we grabbed her on the go, taken with her elusive beauty and the play of light on her face. She proved to be even more elusive when we shipped her home, tucked so stealthily between the inside and outside of the box that she hid from us for over a month. Having sold her on Istagram the instant that we posted her in Paris, we were in a panic that she was lost! Oh happy day … although sad for us as we never got to hang her!
And then there was “Him” – the star of the show. We found “him” in the South of France, and without even hesitating or negotiating, we grabbed him — or actually I believe he reached out and grabbed us. Paintings that are this beautiful don’t come along too often and we probably could have sold him for any price with all the offers that we received. But the good news is that he was purchased by a lovely client from California, a prominent tastemaker, who is so taken with the painting that he came by to visit the last time he was in town to proudly show us how well he had framed him. If we have to say goodbye to a favorite painting, that’s the way we like to do it.
Always on the lookout for handsome portraits, sometimes we’re drawn to a painting because it reminds us of someone. I can’t tell you who this reminds me of, because I may get in to trouble, but let’s just say that he’s tall, dark and very handsome – and we think he’s also beautifully painted. He’s coming along on our next container, along with several other gorgeous paintings that we picked up along the way.
And sometimes we just buy something because it’s beautiful, like this still-life, coming to us soon from Belgium.
That’s Heritage. Can you see why we love what we do?
P.S. For more from our Heritage collection, visit our website and just keep in mind that we’re constantly adding to the collection.