Shopping Around by Elaine Cohen
Thoroughly Moderne The East Bay offers a treasure trove of Art Deco artifacts and modern miscellany ”….somewhere, all these sticks of furniture must sill be knocking about…” C.P. Cavafy, The Afternoon Sun Deco-Vision On entering this elegant Grand Avenue storefront I experienced one of those rare moments of discovery, like the day I chanced into the Tiffany wing at the Metropolitan Museum. Yet here I was in Oakland, perusing one of the finest collections of French Deco in America (perhaps anywhere), with the extraordinary Richard Fishman-shop owner, collector, importer, curator, musician, bandleader, event-organizer, and e-business entrepreneur. Perhaps you know him as Mr. Rick of Mr. Rick’s Martini Club, or as one of the Martini Brothers whose swing band performs throughout the Bay Area. Maybe you once visited his former vintage shop, As Time Goes By in San Francisco. When I first met him, surrounded by sensuously curved, gracefully arched nudes, jaguars and panthers, figures with streaming windblown hairs, sleek greyhounds, and lightning bolts. I knew right away that here was an impassioned visionary who has re-created the atmosphere and aura of a superb moment in 20th century art. At his latest venue, Art Deco Collection.Com you can experience this European Deco environment in person or on the Web. And though it’s very easy to buy or sell with simply a mouse click. I prefer to touch and feel the museum-quality examples of period ironwork, lamps, chandeliers, silver and chrome bar accessories, not to mention the vintage ceramics, glass, statues, paintings and furniture. Fishman imports these fine pieces from France, Belgium, Germany the Czech Republic, England and Holland and the Internet makes it possible for him to realize his vision of presenting excellence at the highest level to the entire world. If “Lake Merritt is the jewel of Oakland” as Fishman comments, I’d add that Art Deco Collection.Com is virtually and tangibly the jewel of the Lake Merritt area. Watch this month for the grand opening of his furniture annex. Art Deco Furniture, down the street at 550 Grand Avenue. Don’t just take my word for it—–experience the glamour and style of this high art for yourself.