If you still think Beethoven wrote “Ode to Joy,” you haven’t seen the Palm Beach home of Michelle and Steven Barnet.
The joyous, spirited home of these collectors is where light, riotous color and texture coexist in perfect harmony. This spirit spills over into each of the 10 Staypineapple Hotels owned nationwide by Michelle.
“I need room for all of it,” says Michelle.
Buy the best you cannot afford and arrange to pay it over time. Any dealer worth their salt will work with you to form a great collection.
Donna Schneier Talks Collecting with Michele Barnet
When did you first start collecting?
When I first moved out of college to Chicago. The street fairs filled the need I had to surround myself with things that reflected my world … a bright shiny world of light, color and texture. Occasionally, when I was in a dark place, I did not collect.
What do you collect today?
Glass. Glass reflects light. It all began with my mom, who collected both classic and emerging artists working in glass. She encouraged me not to concern myself with the monetary value of a work … either present or future.
The work had to speak to me as did the plant sculptures in glass by Jesse Kelly, a Seattle artist, which are placed out of doors to reflect the light and water surrounding my home.
Where do you keep everything?
In my homes and hotels. Everything is out. Although I don’t have the ability to create a work of art, I have the ability to exhibit all of it in a cohesive way in the spaces I have. I do not revolve my collection. All of it is exhibited.
Do you have a favorite work?
Yes. A female sculpture I call “Joy” who appears to spin in my apartment as she faces the East River in New York City. I named her “Joy,” but her real name is “The Lover” by sculptor Luo Li Rong. I purchased it from Gallery Bartoux on Central Park South.
What would you like to tell me about collecting?
Collect with your own voice, not the voice or advice of someone else. And don’t get stuck on price.
Do you still collect?
I want to continue to add joy to my world. I will collect anything that impacts my world that I feel a need to have and hold.
Do you collect anything different today?
About 10 years ago, I started to collect dinnerware. I acquired a Versace dinner service and a Flora Danica dessert service. I am particularly fond of Prouna from South Korea, who uses Swarovski crystals in the dinnerware.