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Berman Panels

The Liz O’Brien gallery is the place to go if you like 20th century decorative arts and, in particular, architect-designed pieces for specific interiors. On a recent visit to the O’Brien gallery, I was quite taken by three Commedia dell’Arte panels depicting dancing marionettes and their marioneteers by the Russian born artist Eugene Berman (1899-1972). Berman worked in a highly imaginative style, and was an important figure among the Neo-Romantics and Surrealist in Paris as well as in the U.S.. These magnificent panels create a fantastic set-like backdrop for a sophisticated seating arrangement consisting of a pair of Jansen canapes, a pair of Frances Elkins small Queen Anne style chairs in an ivory glazed wood, and a Samuel Marx serpentine low table in lacquered wood topped by a super-chic pair of glass and mirror hurricanes designed by the legendary Albert Hadley, my mentor and former employer.

Seated on one of the Jansen canapes, I am wearing a dusty pale blue suede motorcycle jacket by Gucci gucci.com, a fuchsia silk turtle neck sweater, grey flannel pants by Gucci, and silver leather sneakers by Dior.


  1. all the best says:

    Oh those panels are wonderful!!!

  2. i LOVE your shoes, but not as much as everything else in that room! I’ll have to visit that gallery next time I’m in the city!

  3. James Andrew says:

    Please do – this is one of my favorites!

  4. Scott Himmel says:

    The three Berman panels were mine, on consignment to the wonderful Liz O’briens shop for not quite a year. Despite a write up in the NYT of all places, New Yoprkers never quite warmed up to them. They never sold. I had purchased them from Galerie Passebon in Paris in 1995 and enjoyed them for 15 or 16 years until we had to move to an apartment that could no longer contain them. Eventually they found a wonderful home and can be seen in Luxe Home, Chicago, Spring 2012 issue.

    Scott Himmel, Architect
    Director, Truex American Furniture

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