I love the pursuit of ‘junk.’ Nothing excites me more than digging through a second hand store, hunting for treasures no one else has noticed. I love auctions, junk stores, vintage shops, high end or low end, and sometimes the low end ones can be more fun, and the victory even greater when you find a wonderful object at a great price. I have always loved mixing ‘important’ (ie. valuable) objects with things that cost nearly nothing. Among my treasures, I have a few beautiful old China porcelains of fruit, which I mixed in with the ceramics my kids made in grade school, and no one suspects which is which. The pieces made by my kids are much more valuable to me!
I found a great brass trunk in a Paris junk store for $100, a beautiful Lucite sculpture from the 50’s in a second hand store in California. It’s about 3 feet tall and is a giant swirl, I paid less than $100 for it and it looks like a major piece of art, and I have it in my entrance hall in Paris, with other similar objects, and a few really good pieces I bought over the years. The secret is mixing it up, and the best part of the ‘game’ is finding something you love in a place where no one else would ever expect to. My daughter and I found a beautiful black and white roll-top bar for almost nothing in the Mission District of San Francisco. It looks great in her New York apartment. There’s a beautiful translucent green stone called fluorite which looks a lot like jade. I have found many pieces of it, carved, including a really spectacular one for $40. For me, nothing is more fun than the hunt for these objects. One of my favorite art pieces is a pastel of a nude woman that looks like a Renoir (and isn’t), which I bought for $200. One of my friends, who knows me well, says that I hate museums because I can’t buy anything there and can’t find any bargains to take home. Half the fun for me is finding these treasures and then taking it home to integrate into my home and life, and I’m always so proud of how and where I found it and what a bargain it was And some of the things you find that way can be really beautiful. And totally unique.
There is an auction house in Paris which holds 45 auctions a week. There are 15 auction rooms that turn over every 2 days. You can find everything there from important paintings and furniture to gardening equipment or old clothes. Some of it is junk, and some of it is absolutely spectacular stuff that you’ll never find again. I check out that auction house almost every day when I’m in Paris. But wherever I go, I find some old junky junk store, and the treasure hunt begins. It’s my favorite sport, and a hobby that has brought me endless joy.