Previewing the San Francisco Fall Art and Antiques Show

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Guests attend last year's show
Guests attend last year’s show

Next week design aficionados will converge on Fort Mason for the 35th annual San Francisco Fall Art and Antiques Show. The five-day furniture and art extravaganza starts with a preview gala (chaired by by Suzanne Tucker, Aerin Lauder, Diane B. Wilsey, Alexis and Trevor Traina, Allison Speer, and Fred Moll) on Wednesday October 26 before opening to the public on Thursday through Saturday, from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m,. and on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. In preparation of the event we sat down with Ariane Trimuschat, the director of the Fall Art and Antiques show, to find out what to expect.

The first thing to know is the theme. “Our theme this year is Animalia, which is focusing on animal imagery in art and antiques,” Trimuschat says. Show chair Suzanne Tucker was instrumental in coming up with the theme, as animals are a recurring image often found in interior design. “Everywhere you look you see, whether it’s the clawfoot of a table, or the Audubon prints, animals are such a huge part of art and antiques,” Trimuschat explains. “Whatever it might be, there are aspects of animal imagery everywhere in our antiques, even today, so it’s been a really fun theme to work with.”

A painter adds color to Catherine Kwong's De Gournay wallpaper
A painter adds color to Catherine Kwong’s De Gournay wallpaper

One of the things that Trimuschat is most excited about are the grand entry vignettes. “We have four really phenomenal designers that are creating vignettes, focusing on animalia and incorporating our dealers into the vignettes. It will be a really nice introduction for people that walk into the show. It’s the first thing they see. We always see something pretty spectacular in the entry, but I’m excited about these vignettes. I think they are going to be wonderful.” Each vignette will feature custom-designed wallpaper by the renowned London-based manufacturer of bespoke wall coverings, De Gournay. One of the top Bay Area designers whose vignette will be featured in the grand entry hall is Catherine Kwong. “Salon de Thé” by Catherine Kwong Design is dedicated to the heritage and connoisseurship of tea. The vignette will bring to mind a grand European emporium with hand-painted silk De Gournay panels, foliage bursting with blush blooms, and majestic birds mid flight. Ann Getty’s vignette will focus on elephants, Antonio Martins’s vignette will call attention to the endangered species of his native Brazil, and Jonathan Rachman’s vignette features monkeys.

The second thing to know about the show is the new layout. For the past 34 years, the floor plan has remained the same, but this year it will be entirely new. While Trimuschat admits that a new layout might not sound exciting, frequent show goers are in for a treat. “Anybody that has been to the show before that is used to a certain layout, they’re going to be very surprised. It’s going to be very different this year—the way that you walk the show. There’s going to be a lot of dimension to it. You will be able to walk through the other booths,” she says. “It’s going to be really fun and different. People will feel like they’re at a whole new show this year because it’s going to look so different.”

Shopping for prints at the 2015 show
Shopping for prints at the 2015 show

Next week’s show also marks another significant change: it’s the first time that contemporary art and design will be allowed into the event. The word art was added to the show’s name to reflect this change. “We’ve always had a cutoff date that was about 50 years prior. That date has changed, obviously, throughout time. Most recently we didn’t allow anything into the show that was made after about 1960,” Trimuschat says. “We’ve decided to do away with that timeline this year. We are allowing everything. Contemporary art, 20th century, even into the 21st century.” The strict guidelines and careful selection of who gets to appear at the show remain the same, as always. Likewise, the nonprofit beneficiary is Enterprise for High School Students and 100% of the proceeds from the show will be donated to the organization that prepares students for success in the real world.

One aspect of the show that Trimuschat recommends is the “phenomenal” lecture series. “We have such world class speakers. I volunteered on the lecture committee for a number of years before I came on as director,” she says. “I always loved going to those lectures and listening to the speakers. We work on that series all year long.” This year’s lecture series includes a pillow talk between husband and wife, Peter Penner and Katie Riddler. He’s an architect and she’s a designer and they will chat about how they have found unexpected inspiration in their differing design sensibilities. Alexa Hampton will discuss the collaborative process between the client and design firm and David Netto will examine the life and work of François Catroux.

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