Cecily Brown
Penny Drue Baird

All of Brown's paintings are unresolvable puzzles of some kind.
Her marks can be gnarled and vicious, ghostly or gloomy, or they can be elegiac, arrestingly sweet, precise. 'I've always wanted to have a lot of different ways of saying something, maybe sometimes to the detriment of the paintings,' Brown says, 'so that you might have a veil of paint that suggests some very delicate skin, but then I'll want something very meaty and clogged next to it.'

When painter John Currin called Brown's paintings 'promiscuous', he didn't just mean they were about sex; he meant they could exist in all these worlds, flitting between possibilities.


1. Cecily Brown, Hard, Fast and Beautiful, 2000
2. Calm, Cool, Collected Penny Drue Baird decorates a prewar Park Avenue apartment with an eye on the owners’ top-notch art Text by Dan Shaw/Photography by Simon Upton

According to Penny Drue Baird, who divides her time between New York and Paris, “no dramatic trends have appeared recently, like 1940s French or Art D├ęco style, or the gray–flannel–and–Formica modern look of the 1970s.”

Nevertheless, she says, design has evolved in fortuitous ways over the past decade. “It’s become simpler, cleaner and less encumbered.” Baird, who often collaborates with artists to create custom pieces, helps clients create refined, worldly interiors punctuated by bold gestures, such as a glass floor for a dining room that provides a view of the wine cellar. Although she favors a traditional style with French influences, she acknowledges that her clients’ needs are paramount (it’s just not true, she says, that designers “are overbearing and will impose their desires on the client”).

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