enamel paint on wood
41" x 36" x 18"
In conversation over wine and boxes of family treasures, I realized the delight in Italian culture I shared with the owners of this heirloom desk could become the inspiration that combined my personal experience in travel to Italy, and that of the couple’s, with that of the original owner of the desk. The desk, a 1920s Colonial Revival, had come to the current owners from relatives who toured Italy in the 1920s. The idea was to create a collection of Italian arts that might have been assembled by a traveler during this time—prints, postcards, textiles, Majolica pottery, Venetian glass, even a Rembrandt Bugatti bronze elephant.
The configuration for this assemblage of objects was accomplished in three ways. For the lid of the desk I looked to a favorite device of American and Italian trompe l’oeil painters—the use of a tack board to “hold” two dimensional materials. For the vertical sides and drawer fronts I was inspired by the cubbies and drawers of the desk’s interior, imagining a collector’s desk outfitted with cubbies, drawers, doors and shelves for the presentation of Italian momentos. For the interior of the desk, the lid opens to reveal an antique Venetian velvet displayed on the writing surface and the fitted cubbies lined with actual Florentine marbleized paper.