The Ann & Gordon Getty Collection - Money Creates Taste

The Ann & Gordon Getty Collection - Money Creates Taste
William Adolphe Bouguereau - Le printemps

There are antiques – the kind you haggle over at a local flea market – and then there are capital A Antiques - the kind non-millionaires like you and me can only admire from afar. The lots in an upcoming auction at Christie’s called The Ann & Gordon Getty Collection – Temple of Wings definitely fall in the second category.

The Temple of Wings in Berkeley, California, once was the home of American educator, artist, designer, and social reformer Florence Treadwell Boynton. It was acquired by the Gettys in 1994, and under Ann Getty’s stewardship, they furnished the home with furniture and decorative arts honouring the rich eclecticism of the late 19th and 20th centuries.

Money creates taste. At least, that’s what it says on the cherrywood postcard by artist Jenny Holzer you might know. I have one myself, and I’ve been using it ever since my divorce six years ago to hide a damaged spot on the radiator cover in my hallway. And yes, I realise that six years is way too long, but a) I’ve been busy and b) it wasn’t until three years ago, that I finally started earning serious money.

A view of the Blue Parlour, Temple of Wings (© Lisa Romerein/OTTO). You can read all about this stunning space on the Christie's website.

I started working as an interior stylist at Dutch Seating Company, advising customers on which luxury fabric to choose for their new sofa. And my current job at Catawiki allowed me to look at beautiful antiques daily. After years of struggling to make ends meet, I’m finally able to buy some of the luxury home items I could only dream of a decade ago.

The study at Temple of Wings. © Lisa Romerein/OTTO

I still walk past the Money Creates Taste postcard in my hallway several times a day. And lately, I’ve been wondering if it actually holds true. Looking back at the way my interior has evolved over the years, I don’t have any doubt that having money to spend has allowed me to broaden my horizon. I no longer need to limit myself to buying stuff at IKEA or flea markets, and I actively look for – and buy – more high-end options. Fancy Designers Guild curtains, delicious House of Hackney wallpaper, a nice vintage Sciolari chandelier, I’ve got it all!

Tiffany Studios 'Wisteria' Table Lamp, circa 1903 © Lisa Romerein/OTTO

That being said, (and here’s where I finally arrive at the Ann & Gordon Getty Collection), does Money Creates Taste also mean that I cannot appreciate priceless antiques if I cannot afford to buy them or even see them in real life? Now, that’s a more tricky question. I know for a fact that by learning a little about antiques every day, I’ve become more experienced at recognising ‘the good stuff’ – even though I still have a long way to go. But without actually possessing these items, can I still claim I have taste? And what is taste anyway?

For now, let me reassure you that all lots in the Ann and Gordon Getty Collection – Temple of Wings auction are all in the best possible taste. If your pockets are deep enough, they’re going to be auctioned on June 14 and 15 in – where else? – New York City. And as for that cherrywood Money Creates Taste postcard? I just saw that it’s worth quite a bit more than the 10 guilders I spent on it back in the Nineties. More taste coming my way, I guess!

All photos downloaded through the link in the Christie's press release - please do not use them anywhere else.