The Blue Eagle and Friends

Or how to find interesting art for your home….

Auction Houses haven’t just been a good source for interesting furniture and giant steel birds. I’ve managed to pick up some inexpensive serigraphs and even a few small sculptures. Since we’re trying to avoid knick-knacks, a few large-ish items to help fill the space are better option.

Here’s a gallery of some of the small sculptures I’ve found.

  • Two bronze bird sculptures that now sit on each end of the downstairs hearth
  • A vintage Curtis Jeré bird on a marble base that sits on the upstairs mantle
  • A blue lapis eagle that resides on the downstairs cafe table
  • A cute pottery bird
  • A steel bird next to another Jeré sculpture, this one a series of metal leaves and branches.

The trick about finding stuff like this is to avoid sites like 1stdibs. The markup from such sites is obscene. It’s much cheaper, easier and fun to use sites like LiveAuctioneers.com to find interesting options, or even better, there is probably an auction house or two local to you. That advantage of a local house is you can go and pick up your winnings and thus you can avoid sorting out shipping. That’s the big headache if you buy from a non-local house.

Case in point, that Jeré leaf sculpture I snagged for less than $100 from a house in Florida, but all the shipping quotes I got were rather obscene — like 10 times the purchase price obscene, but one of the shippers’ quotes was much more sane. Unfortunately shipper somehow lost the sculpture and it went missing for 5 months and I couldn’t reach the anyone at the shipping company to sort out what may have happened. Thankfully the piece was magically delivered one day last October. The point is, it’s sometimes risky. The flip side though is that if you find a remote house that regularly fits your taste and you buy from more than once, you end up with a good relationship not just with the house, but also with a shipping company. It then becomes much easier to cast your net a bit wider.

Examples: I snagged this painting for the foyer from a house in Pittsburgh and this vintage aluminum coffee table and base (currently undergoing some rehab work) from a house in Connecticut for next to nothing. The shipping costs for both were the most expensive parts of the deal, but the shippers knew me and so I didn’t worry about getting gouged. Thus I managed to find unique pieces that are way cooler than anything you might find in a box store.

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