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The S.T. Dupont Ligne 2 limited edition Picasso lighter. Photo courtesy: Arvind vijaymohan
The S.T. Dupont Ligne 2 limited edition Picasso lighter. Photo courtesy: Arvind vijaymohan

A gentleman’s indulgences

S.T. Dupont Ligne 2 limited-edition Picasso lighter

I walked into office after three weeks to find a coaster-sized, metal box on my standing work desk. It had the appearance of a heavyset receptacle that could house a nuclear detonator. That it had the word “BOOM" written (seemingly prophetically) in a disconcertingly neat hand on a red Post-it gave me a passing jitter.

Tossing caution to the wind, I flipped the lid. Resting (a tad disappointingly) in there was the very handsome S.T. Dupont Ligne 2 limited-edition Picasso lighter, in polished palladium.

Disappointing in part since I’ve never smoked, and more so for the tame end to my Bondian start to the day.

It was actually a very nice gesture on the part of a client—a sparking thank you for delivering, after over a decade-long chase, a painting that she had her heart set on. I’d mentioned in the past to her a (long since abandoned) plan to start collecting Zippo lighters. She felt the Dupont would be a nudge in the right direction, though slightly statelier than the Zs.

Staring at the lighter made me think about a plethora of artist-meets-functional objects I’ve interfaced with over the years. One was a gift I had sent to a friend last year for extending a monumentally generous consideration—offering the rights of sale to perhaps the most exquisite work I’ve represented. He’s a young collector and I had meant to send him the Montblanc pen dedicated to the patron of patrons, Scipione Borghese—in light of what his future holds. I decided to send instead, a touch cheekily, their ode to Madame Peggy Guggenheim.

A few years back, a client asked us to source one of the 650 editions of the “Balloon Venus" bottle holders that Jeff Koons had crafted (based on one of his original artworks) for Dom Pérignon. A beautiful object that we could not manage to find in his preferred pink. What I ask everyone I know to steer away from are those uninspired artist line handbags: Koons, Murakami, Quinn, Kusama, Collishaw amongst others—all eyesores.

My favourite amongst all these functional personal effects designed or inspired by luminaries of the art world? I would go for the brilliant Matt Groening’s I-wore-till-it-tattered T-shirt line for Comme Des Garçons, though that perhaps comes a close second to the first collectible I acquired: a Keith Haring designed Swatch.

Arvind Vijaymohan is CEO, Artery India.

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