Our client inherited this pied-à-terre apartment on Beekman Place, along with an important collection of fine art and furniture. The apartment is located in an elegant riverfront building developed in 1930 by the Rockefeller family and designed by Sloan & Robertson, with Corbett, Harrison & MacMurray, the firm that was also building Rockefeller Center. Completed just as the Great Depression descended on the city, the suites were graciously planned yet not ostentatious, and the architectural detailing is spare, reflecting the Art Deco movement and perhaps the economic climate as well.
Throughout the apartment, the subtle but noteworthy play of pattern unifies the space, creating enough decorative support to complete the interiors without competing with the works of art. Pierre Finklestein’s strié paint work in the principal rooms played an important part in this, the texture so fine that they are imperceptible until closely examined. This infusion of color also firmly establishes that this is a private home rather than an art gallery. The living room features pieces from the clients’ important collection of art, including the large Rothko seen over the console. The decorative arts have equal weight with pieces such as the large Swedish urns by Ivar Johnsson serving as side tables and an important waterfall coffee table by Philip and Kelvin Laverne.
This relative simplicity served as the perfect foil for the art collection, which spans the history of 20th- century painting and is classically juxtaposed with ancient artifacts. A prime illustration is the library, where a portrait by Picasso is the focus. The bookshelves are filled with antique and vintage books on art as well as pre-Columbian artifacts.
A large early Jackson Pollock painting commands attention in the dining room. The gilt-bronze console and chandelier, both 18th century in style but 20th century in origin, were retained from the previous decoration and are complemented by the addition of back stools from Howe of London.
The master bedroom’s bed cover is made from an antique sari. The painting above the Directoire-style secretary is by Fernand Léger.