Space of the Week: On Display

On the occasion of art collectors Ethan Wagner and Thea Westreich Wagner’s new book, Collecting Art for Love, Money and More, published by Phaidon and out April 9, I took the opportunity to visit the couple’s Soho loft and see their own spectacular collection. Many of these pieces, along with around 800 of their other works, will be donated to the Whitney Museum of Art and Pompidou Center in Paris starting in 2015. Ethan and Thea have been together for 22 years and, in addition to passionately building their own collection, have made a name for themselves as art advisers (Thea Westreich Art Advisory Services, Inc.) and have published several books on contemporary artists. Their 4,000-square-foot loft is as serene as a temple and as organized as a spotless laboratory. Here, the boardroom-size dining table with Hella Jongerius porcelains at the center sits in front of a painting by Scott Lyall. The ensemble of mounted text, lamps, and pedestal, to the right, is by Josef Strau. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The runway-size kitchen counter runs parallel to the dining table and ends in front a photograph by Eileen Quinlan. To the left is a diptych by John Kelsey. “We’ve been here for twenty years,” Ethan says, “and we renovated about six years ago”mostly the kitchen, which was Thea’s dream.” Photo: Wendy Goodman

When we traveled down the hallway from the kitchen into the study, I discovered this incredible diptych by Henrik Olesen composed of his own computer’s parts. Photo: Wendy Goodman

This piece is by James Beckett, who directed an installer to paint the walls and build the shelving that holds flashlights from different eras. You can see part of Matias Faldbakken’s petrol cans on the lower left. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Walking down this hall, I stopped short when I noticed the tie hanging over the doorway into the guest room. It is another installation by James Beckett, and the orange trash container is by Klara Lidén. Photo: Wendy Goodman

These panels of wallpaper by Marc Camille Chaimowicz are placed against the wall by the bed with a throw blanket by Lucy McKenzie and Beca Lipscombe for Atelier. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The open living room just beyond the dining and kitchen area seems to float in a sea of serenity. The carpet is by Barbro Nilsson of MMF and the sculpture at the left is by Gareth James. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The Gareth James piece is actually a slice of a tree trunk with a carved surface. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Circling the sculpture, I discovered this flute. And although it appears to be holding it up, I don’t think it is”or is it? Photo: Wendy Goodman

There are more Hella Jongerius porcelains on the coffee table in front of a painting by Cheyney Thompson. The club chairs are Jean-Michel Frank. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Another sculpture by Gareth James hangs in the living room. This one is made of rubber bicycle tire tubing. Photo: Wendy Goodman

A rare treasure: an Alexandre Noll chair! Beyond perfection. The photograph above it is by Eileen Quinlan. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Discovering the Line Vautrin lamp was one of the highlights of my visit. I would settle for a Vautrin ashtray (placed right beside it) any day. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Their study features a painting by Ricci Albenda on the left wall, a painting by Blake Rayne in the center, and a desk and chair by Nakashima. Photo: Wendy Goodman

When I left Ethan and Thea’s house I felt as if I had just visited a very special private museum. In a matter of a few hours, they taught me to see things with a whole new pair of eyes. I took a last look at the Hella Jongerius porcelains before I left. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The book cover! I can’t wait to read it. Photo: Courtesy of Phaidon

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Space of the Week: On Display