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Opposites Attract

I thought it was funny to open the May 2008 issue of Town & Country magazine and see a spread about a couple that I have had the pleasure to meet in New York, Blair and Alistair Clarke. Blair is a fabulous dealer of contemporary art and Alistair is the worldwide head of English and European furniture for Sotheby's. Alistair was in charge of my old boss's sale at Sotheby's a few years ago and for some reason I always see him when I'm walking on the Upper East Side.

Anyway, I think their apartment is a great example of mixing modern art and antiques. Without Blair's contemporary pieces, Alistair's antiques would look very stuffy. They definitely lighten the mood and make for a very interesting space. "So many people are worried that they'll do something quote unquote wrong, " says Blair. "But Alistair and I think it's a great luxury to experiment with new ways of living with art."

Blair and her daughter Poppy pose in the entry gallery in front of paintings by Natasha Law, Jude's sister.

Alistair in front of another Natasha Law painting.

In the library, a Richard Serra oil stick drawing hangs over a Regence kingwood commode, circa 1730. I love the grasscloth wallpaper that adds some texture to the walls and adds another layer of interest. I realized recently that all my favorite interiors have layers made up of different tones, textures and surface materials. It gives your eye more to take in than a slick all white room.

In the dining room, the juxtaposition is quite evident as 18th-century decorative arts share space with a martini glass chandelier by Michael Marra, while an Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe silkscreen looks on. While below, a Sara Genn painting and a Shane Bradford box lighten up the mood of Alistair's Boulle-front cabinet while Poppy plays in the background.

Photos by Oberto Gili


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