Art

Donat, Do Tell

by Kristopher Fraser Photographed by Ingrid Donat
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
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How does one make the career change from homemaker to artist? It might sound surprising, but that's the story of a lovely lady named Ingrid Donat. Donat, who had long been interested in art and interiors forged a unique career path for herself. When she divorced her husband, she had to find work, so she decided to change her life by embracing her passion for interior design and become a full fledged furniture designer.

Now, she has returned to New York for the first time since 2008 with a new exhibit at the Carpenter's Gallery.

Donat had been interested in art and interiors on a personal level her whole life. She also has a great imagination, and she would dream up things she would want for herself. It began as a hobby , but then she started exhibiting her work. and was lucky enough to end up in very good galleries. Her extensive knowledge of art history helped her develop a point of view that's unique to her.

Recently, one of Donat's works broke records at the Artcurial Paris Sale: Heavy Metal, on October 25th, where her 'Commode Facette' was sold at $246,558 over an estimate of $150,000.

Donat is motivated by her passion and love for her craft. "My real business secret is building longstanding relationships," she says. "I have clients who have been ordering pieces from me for years. I'm just a creator. I don't worry about business figures."

The man who helped inspire Donat to pursue her dreams? Diego Giacometti, whom she cited as a very good friend in addition to a teacher. Thirty years ago, she began to buy pieces of his, and one day asked him to do a coffee table. To this Giacometti replied, "Why don't you do it yourself." And that is how Donat began creating her own furniture.

Her signature works include commodes, sideboards that have clockwork on the sides. Rather than drawing inspiration from artists and other designers, she finds her inspiration in the primitive. She also does take some influence from African art and sculpture that can be reflected in the patterns she uses. For Donat, the most important thing is form, something she prizes over functionality. "It's good when things can be functional, but I don't worry about that really," she says. "It takes year to make some of these pieces, and I have so many ideas in my head. They have engineers to worry about making things functional."

Getting to return her work to the United States is one of the greatest joys for her of all. "I am so touched and happy that everyone was so happy to see me again," she said, her face glowing with a smile. "America was the first country to be receptive to my work, and now I get to be back at Carpenters Gallery."

Visit Ingrid Donat's website at ingriddonat.com.
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