Elena Bowes

New York-London design & culture writer of a certain vintage looking for meaning and wholeness in life

A Buatta-ful Sale- The Prince of Chintz’s Things are on the Block

January 23rd, 2020
Sotheby's New York

When my partner-in-crime Anne Hardy  suggested that the Mario Buatta, Prince of Interiors  sale at Sotheby’s  might make a good story, I think I was emptying the dishwasher, maybe feeding the dogs. I wasn’t really paying attention. (She has a lot of ideas)

“Yeah, Anne that sounds great,” I mumbled down the phone.

I hadn’t thought about what it would be like to immerse myself in the colourful, floral, funny, some might say zany, over the top and down the rabbit hole world of the late Prince of Chintz.

Well, let me tell you. It was fun.

Why buy one when you can buy ten? More is always better. Mario Buatta, who was the most famous American decorator in the 80’s and 90’s  said there wasn’t a color he didn’t like, that he must have been born under a rainbow.

His favourite colors  being lemon yellow, leaf green and Prussian blue. He also liked full-on pistachios, apricots, and aubergine.

Some pretty plates from the auction – which is going gangbusters by the way. It’s a two day sale, there’s still time to bid.

The self-taught boy from Staten Island made good with his cultivated eye, steel trap mind and  great sense of humour.  He was famous when decorators were not. He was also complicated and moody- all the makings of an interesting story.

Anne was right (she usually is).  It is a good story.  Read all about Mario’s inventive world in our piece for British H&G here.

Back to shopping/ bidding- the exhibition made me realise I have always wanted certain things, I just never knew it, like this very practical bird cage…

or this ostrich candelabra

Cheers to Mario…

January, 2020