Consummate Artisan 完美匠心

Miguel Meirelles

Owner of Miguel Meirelles Antiques


EZOZ8-3.jpg“I love collecting and trading antiques, particularly in finding pieces in its original state.  I love to show people what I discovered and in the exact condition I discovered it. It’s about restoration and doing the right thing by the furniture.”

Aphrodite promised us ‘Love conquers all’.  In the case of Miguel Meirelles – Love moved mountains, or at least, an antique business across continents.

Born in Mozambique, Miguel Meirelles studied under master craftsmen at the Institute of Art and Restoration in Florence.  He operated an antique and restoration workshop in the bustling hub of Florence for 11 years.

In the spring of 1989 Miguel met Anna, an Australian girl holidaying in Florence.  “I immediately knew she was the one, and still is, 28 years later,” he shares dreamily.

In a heartbeat, he moved his entire operation to Melbourne, Victoria.  Trained in antique conservation and restoration, Miguel set up shop, first in Hawksburn and then Malvern, specialising in French and European antiques.  His clients are the National Gallery of Victoria, museums, top French antique dealers and private collectors.

“We like to bring buyers and collectors into the whole process of discovery and conservation methods for them to experience the joy of bringing something back to life.  That’s the spirit of the shop,” he enthuses.

As an expert and devout restorer, he says, “We will lovingly restore antiques but never lose its historical character.  As temporary owners, it is our responsibility to pass it on to our future generation.”

“Sadly, a lot of these pieces cannot be made today because the skill is gone in our high technological era. The artisans are gone,” he laments.

On the artistic and cultural barometer, Melbourne is the antithesis of Florence, according to this master of French antiques.  “Florence is a splendid city but things can get quite stuffy.

“The Europeans are more passionate about the historical value of antiques whereas Australian buyers and collectors focus more on aesthetics and pragmatism.”

Miguel has also seen major trends shift in the realm of arts and antiquities.  “Over 27 years I have seen interests sparked from English, Georgian or French, to American chic and industrial vintage before ending up with what I would call ‘hotel lobby furniture’ which reminds me of Soviet era items where everything is clean and formal, devoid of character.  But I think the pendulum has swung as far as it would go.”

“Today successful Melbournians with nice houses are mixing contemporary with classical.  For example, a baroque mirror might hang amidst a set of stark furniture.  Then the antique mirror will transcend from being a mirror to an enviable work of art.  The pieces that leave my shop double in personality and presence when displayed in its destination house where they shine as the centre of attention and conversational pieces.”

Even more sacred than his business, is his beautiful family.  A devoted husband, a loving father to two boys and a girl, family and friends declare that he is an exemplary son-in-law too, when they observe Miguel in action – fielding business calls and personal ones from his mother-in-law, juggling professional and love-spun matters with natural ease and tenderness.    

Advice to new buyers and collectors?  “Select with your heart. Close your eyes and let your heart speak, rather than be led by someone or superficial trends.  People know and can sense what they want but are often scared to develop that instinct.  At Miguel Meirelles we work and draw from our clients’ intuition and perspicacity,” he concludes.

古希腊维纳斯女神承诺过“爱征服一切”。这也印证了MiguelMeirelles的情况-爱能移山,或者也至少让一个古董企业横跨了大洲。

Miguel Meirelles出生于莫桑比克,过后在佛罗伦萨艺术和修复研究所大师级工匠底下学习,他曾在佛罗伦萨繁华的中心地带经营一个古董修复工作室长达11年。

1989年春天,他邂逅了前来佛罗伦萨度假的澳大利亚女孩Anna。“我立刻反应她就是我梦寐以求的那个人,直至28年后依旧。”他如梦幻般的分享。

而在历经心跳感应后,Miguel将整个业务中心转移到墨尔本的维多利亚。由于长期接受古董保护修复工艺熏陶,他首先在Hawksburn区设立了商店,接着是Malvern区,专门从事法国和欧洲的古董业务,客户群涵括维多利亚国家美术馆、博物馆,法国顶级古董店和私人收藏家。

“我想让买家和收藏家积极参与探索保护与修复的完整过程,体验生活中返璞归真的快乐,这也是我强调的业务精神。”

至于他作为专家和虔诚修复者的立场:“我们热衷还原修复古董,但不会让它的历史本质荡然无存,作为暂时保存者,有义务把它们交到未来下一代的手上。”

“可悲的是,现在大部分作品无法重现。在这高科技时代,手艺技术已消磨殆尽,工匠也渐渐不复存在。”他哀叹。

根据艺术和文化的测量晴雨表,墨尔本是处于佛罗伦萨的对立面,作为这名法国古董大师的看法。“佛罗伦萨是一座优美灿烂的城市,但市场情况较为古板保守。欧洲人重视古董的历史价值,而澳大利亚买家和收藏家更偏向美学和实用主义。”他作出趣味性比对。

他认为,艺术和古董领域的大方向潮流趋势产生变化。“逾27年来,我发现从英国、格鲁吉亚或法国一直到美国,引发人们兴趣的雅致和复古工业已到了尾声,而我所谓的“酒店大堂式家具”与苏联时期的物品重合,外观干净整齐,缺乏鲜明个性。但我察觉形势转向将有剧变。”

“今天,成功的墨尔本人的美妙房子皆为现代与古典混搭风格。比方说,巴罗克式的镜子可能会挂在一组简约质朴的家具上。古董镜子在衬托下将超越自身绽放艺术品光彩,犹如从我店面被带走的古董作品拥有双重个性和强烈存在感,将它们展示在房屋,除了成为闪耀的关注点,也是能对话的作品。”

而比起业务,更神圣的是他圆满的家庭。身为一名忠诚的丈夫,两子一女的慈爱父亲,家人和朋友也认为他是一名模范女婿,他们从Miguel的行动实际观察到,在同时应对业务来电与岳母私人电话,他的神态分别在专业与温柔之间自然的切换。

关于给新买家和收藏家的建议?“跟随心的方向做出选择。闭上眼睛,聆听你的心声,而不是由某个人引导或追逐表面的趋势。人们清晰感觉到他们想要什么,但经常恐惧直面本能。我们的工作是引导解读客户的直觉和洞悉力。” 他总结。

“我热爱收集和交易,尤其是寻觅到具备原始状态的古董作品,并且也沉迷于向人们展示探索成果,包括确切的内容状况。修复还原家具是有意义的事。”


by Sloane Patterson

Advertisements