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Article: Eye Spy: Decoupage by John Derian

Eye Spy: Decoupage by John Derian

Eye Spy: Decoupage by John Derian

Welcoming John Derian’s decoupage plates and objects as a new product line belies the long-standing friendship our customers have forged with his whimsical wares, through his collaboration with Astier de Villatte. Both his pieces and his art form feel like old friends within 22 Home.

Iconic in design circles, Derian has elevated the historic craft of decoupage into a chic contemporary art form. Rooted in the French verb decouper—“to cut out,” decoupage emerged in 17th-century France, drawing on a long line of cut-work traditions: ancient Chinese and Japanese paper cutting, Siberian felt appliques, Polish folk art. The French version—of snipping, pasting, varnishing and sanding collaged pictures onto hard surfaces—became fashionable throughout 18th century European courts. Colorful and charming, the form graced furniture like bookcases and cabinets, as well as decorative accessories such as fans, screens and toiletry items. By the mid-20th century, decoupage had finally crossed the Atlantic, becoming au courant in America.

These historical layers come alive in Derian’s modern manifestations. Four decades ago, he turned to decoupage as a way to channel his ardor for antique images. “John’s early obsession with printed matter ultimately led him to decoupage, the art of cutting and pasting paper,” his website states. “Since 1989, he and a small studio of artisans in New York City have been creating glass plates, trays, bowls, and other decorative home items with imagery from his vast and ever-expanding collection of 18th and 19th century prints.”

“Sometimes I feel like a chef at a farmers market,” he told Architectural Digest about his practice of perusing his own vast collection of antique etchings, engravings and manuscripts—stored in his studio on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. “These images have been part of my life for so long, they’re like friends.”

This sense of joyful camaraderie comes through in every piece he produces. His decoupage plates—whimsical catchalls collected the world over—have made his aesthetic iconic. Over the course of his 35 years in business, Derian has expanded his product line into every corner of the home, from serveware to wallpaper, rugs to lampshades.

For our part, 22 Home has been carrying his collaboration with beloved Astier de Villatte, a happy marriage of his distinctive imagery with their signature ceramic silhouettes. Discerning with stockists, the studio finally accepted Elisa’s patient entreaties to source plates and platters. “Life can feel so serious,” Elisa says. “John Derian’s designs are the opposite: they’re fun and playful. They’re a punch of color, pattern and whimsy. They make your heart happy.”

To order from this collection, call to order.

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Eye Spy: Sol y Luna Nesting Trays

Eye Spy: Sol y Luna Nesting Trays

What do nesting trays and a vintage Volkswagen Beetle have in common? Both have been wrapped in luxurious leather by virtuosic Spanish studio Sol & Luna. Having just celebrated their 20th anni...

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