Magritte-esque clouds floating above a line drawing of a Spitalfields townhouse set the tone. You know immediately that a visit to East of Mayfair’s online art emporium will be a quirky experience since the site is an artwork in itself. Created by illustrators Pierre Le-Tan and Thibaud Hérem, it takes shape in the form of a virtual house. Click on the Georgian windows and you enter a variety of sketched rooms hung with photographs, drawings and paintings. Click on the artworks and their details and prices pop up.
The “house” is curated by East of Mayfair’s glamorous co-founder and gallery director, Janina Joffe, and the artworks displayed change with fresh regularity. On my “visit” I came across Jeremy Wagner’s hand-coloured screen-print, Good Buy (second picture, £500) in the master bedroom and found Rouge Baiser 1 ( first picture, £1,300), a colour lithograph by the legendary fashion illustrator, René Gruau, in the bathroom. Antonio Girbes’ ultrachrome print, Somewhere 9 (£5,000) hung in the kitchen, while Untitled (The Woods 6; £1,250), an archival pigment print by CJ, gave the drawing room a moody focal point. “Art collecting does not need to be complicated or pretentious,” says Joffe. “At East of Mayfair customers can shop from their desks but also see what the works might look like in the context of a home.”
An impressive roster of artists are already showing under one virtual roof, including Marcus Tremonto, Natasha Chambers, Marco Walker, Michelle Elzay and Grillo Demo, plus the estates of fashion illustrators Gruau and Antonio Lopez. Gruau’s Smoke & Diamonds colour lithograph, originally created for Van Cleef, is £1,300 (in an edition of 250), while an original 1973 crayon portrait of Andy Warhol, by Antonio Lopez, is £8,500 (third picture).
Those inspired by the site’s jaunty illustration can also take advantage of the company’s bespoke advisory service, which embraces domestic installation, curation and collection-building.
In more ways than one, it’s a world away from the White Cube gallery ethos – fabulously so.