We saw this photo from Vogue Living last week of legendary American artist Tony Duquette and it blew our minds. The dirty lilac walls we have been referencing recently and the painted ceiling contrast so beautifully with the extravagantly patterned interior of animal print and colourful furnishings (we have leopard print embedded in our our brains at the moment). It was great to discover that there were houses of this look. Duquette took maximalism to a whole new level, as illustrated in the aptly named book of his work ‘More is More’.
Duquette was an artist across many forms, a man of exquisite taste with a penchant for the fun and fancy and with work ranging from interior design to jewellery to stage and film costumes. He carved out an incredibly successful career as an arbiter of style alongside his wife Elizabeth Johnstone- affectionately known as Beegle for her personality traits of both bee and eagle- becoming an established designer and carrying out work for a number of notable figures of the era such as Lady Elsie de Wolfe Mendl, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Vincente Minnelli and Fred Astaire amongst many others.
Throughout his diverse career it is perhaps his interiors for which he is most known for. The opulence he created has remained a design classic recognised internationally as well as a great source of inspiration and imitation to many over sixty year on. Duquette made the fantastically fabulous and full-on look desired by people everywhere, mixing old and new in a way that has never since been achieved. The home he built for himself and his wife in Los Angeles after their marriage in 1949 was named Dawnbridge and particularly demonstrates the Duquettes’ taste for decadence. 18th century painted panels sit alongside flourishing glass chandeliers- Duquette’s own designs- printed upholstered furniture and ornaments of all shapes and sizes.
Green features extensively in his designs with live plants and palms sitting alongside a sea of turquoise and emerald in velvet, silk and on the walls; a scene of utter lavishness.
The colour heavily borrows from the outside of their home which was built on a steep ravine in the Californian Hills. This truly unique home was made up of ornate wooden pavilions are surrounded by yet more trees, shrubs and various plant.
Despite Tony Duquette’s demise in 1999 aged 85, his extraordinary creations continue to evoke much admiration. His life and designs have been feted across the world with many exhibitions, book and collections dedicated to the man himself. His jewellery and costume designs remain desirable collectors’ items and many of the homes he designed still carry his work on their walls. The Venice Palazzo which was once home to another of life’s great eccentrics Dodie Rosekran, is a wonderfully extravagant example of how Duquette’s work will always remain truly desirable, unique and relevant. A real icon of interior design and ambassador of More is More, they don’t make them like Duquette anymore. We can’t keep our eyes away.