Room Anatomy: Painterly Style

We ask Annette & Phoebe Stephens of Anndra Neen to give us the 411 on the paintings inside their labyrinthine East Village home

When we dropped by Annette’s East Village apartment to view (and squeal) over the latest collection for their accessories label Anndra Neen it was sensory overload—their space just like their work is intricately finished with influences from all over the world. We’ll be checking in with the girls over the next few weeks but first we need to talk about the paintings in their space:

The painting we shot you in front of is incredible!
Yes! It’s by Maxwell Gordon, an American painter who lived in Mexico. He was a very good friend of my father. My dad fell in love with his work and began collecting them—he has a lot of his paintings. Maxwell became my father’s mentor: my father took classes with him and is in the process of writing a book about—he’s quite unknown as of now. So, Annette and I grew up with this painting at our father’s house. It’s on loan to me. We have a lot of Maxwell’s paintings on rotation in our family and whenever one of us moves we switch things up.

There’s a lot going on and the colors just add to this energy. Do you have a favorite figure?
I love the cool guy in the red pants and the black woman. The nude in the foreground was quite controversial for a time: My father had a super religious nanny and she would always try and cover up the nude in the foreground—she would literally take underwear and place it over the woman! A lot of Maxwell’s paintings have strange compositions and strange characters. This painting is all about composition and color combination. There’s a lot going on, for example the the faces in the corner, which I think are his parents.

And these little pups? What’s the story behind them?
I got both of these paintings from the Chelsea Antiques Market in New York a couple of years ago. The glass is original. I just love how eerie and beautiful they are.

Do you go to antique markets a lot?
Well, we grew up with a lot of art and antiques. We would go to flea markets in Mexico every Sunday and we began to develop a love for objects and admired eclectic points of view.

Where are some of your favorite markets around the world?
I love Le Puces Saint-Ouen in Paris, the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul (which can be a little tourist-y but you can find some good pockets) and La Lagunilla Market in Mexico. Some of my best finds have been from Mexico, like clothing, iron work (these amazing hand door handles!), and this gorgeous comb made from horn.

So your flea-ing obviously affects your decorating, this space feels like a beautifully-curated bazaar!
Thank you! Creating home is about finding items and objects little-by-little. It took me a while to create my space because I needed to have a connection with everything . My father and grandmother, who also was an artist, were total hoarders! My grandmother’s studio, which was connecting to my father’s, had a million little draws filled with beads and other objects and things like that.

Who is the small nude painting by, below the two dogs?
That’s another painting by Maxwell. He always paints such strange, distorted nudes that are beautiful.

And the rock ‘n’ roll moment by the door?
That’s Mick Jagger! That was a gift from my best friend’s husband who works at EMI, he has a lot of signed prints

How do you curate your space? Yep, you! Comment below or e-mail us pippa@sousstyle.com or gillian@sousstyle (whoever takes your fancy!).