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Mozhgan and Her Love for the Sculptures by Emmanuel Villanis

By Simone | 11th February

For Valentine’s Day this year we decided to do what we do best: celebrate our shared love for unique and hard-to-find objects. To do so, we asked some of our passionate experts, sellers and users a couple of questions. Today, we are sharing the story of seller Mozhgan Giesen-Moradi, who tells us how she fell in love with antiques, and the sculptures by Emmanuel Villanis in particular.

Mozhgan lives near Maastricht, a city full of culture, situated in the middle of great cities like Aachen, Tongeren, Keulen, Luik, and Hasselt; all with French and Spanish roots. “I was born in Iran and am married to a lovely Dutch husband. My multicultural background and surroundings give me lots of opportunities to follow my passion and to look at old things that I find beautiful. For us, it’s quite satisfying to be able to acquire antique pieces of art, such as a beautiful clock from the period of Louis Seize or a perfectly crafted Art Nouveau bust in bronze and then give others the opportunity to take this beauty with them to their own homes.”


She first got interested in antiques just to decorate the house. “This was quite a challenge, as my husband likes it modern, sober and technically perfect, while I strive for warm colours and lots of decorative elements. Iranian women like mirrors with golden frames, beautiful carpets and marble floors. But despite our differences, we managed to blend our styles into a beautiful compromise.” After their house was (almost) perfectly decorated, they continued their search for art, sculptures, clocks and more. This time not only for themselves but with the help, knowledge and expertise of a good friend, they started off buying and selling.

But it’s not just the decorative aspect that Mozhgan admires in antiques. “As a woman, I have a weakness for beautiful things, they make me happy. But antiques and art are more than that. I see antiques and art as bridges between us and the past, bridges that we maintain and guard for the next generations. In fact, I can hardly imagine a world without art and antiques. As a psychologist, I immerse myself in the minds of people. Consequently, I admire how an artist immerses himself in the anatomy of humans, animals and sometimes in literature and how he pictures the subjects of mythology. I think this is so impressive.”


There is, however, one artist in particular that caught Mozhgan’s eye: “My love for Emmanuel Villanis (French sculptor, 1858 - 1914) started about 2 years ago when I found this beautiful bust from 1898 of a woman “Mignon” in Tongeren in a 30-year-old antique market. The expression on the face, the female shapes and the love for detail are very powerful. Since then I’ve been looking for several more works by Villanis like Sapho, Javotte and La Sybille. This artist is also very popular worldwide, which is why I try to find more of his work to offer for auction for other enthusiasts.”

Just as passionate about antiques as Mozhgan? Good news! Our experts have curated a special Valentine's collection for you this week, including some of the pieces from Mozhgan’s collection, that’s definitely worth a visit.

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