Time Keeper: Jean-Marc Fray

Time Keeper: Jean-Marc Fray

“If there’s passion put in a piece at the time of its construction, it’s going to show now and a hundred years from now,” says Jean-Marc Fray, owner, with his wife, Cynthia, of Jean-Marc Fray Antiques in Austin. Fray traces his passion for vintage wares to childhood visits to his grandparents’ antiques-filled home in Provence, France. “Instead of taking a nap, I created dialogues between myself and the pieces, trying to understand their stories,” he says.

Accumulating his own collection, Fray eventually settled in Austin, where he found “really edgy customers from New York and California, and others with ranch houses in Hill Country who wanted classic French pieces.” The inventory was, and is, as eclectic as the clientele, spanning 18th-century items to 20th-century modernist works. “We stay very open-minded about our selections,” he says. Fray’s vision has since struck a chord beyond Austin, including with designers Kelly Wearstler, Nate Berkus and Michael S. Smith, yet his guiding principle remains the same: “I’m still looking for the emotional content in a piece.”

LX: Work Approach:

JF: My brother and gallery design liaison Jean-Noel Fray and I travel to Europe to gather items from auction houses, fairs and dealers we’ve known for 20 years.

LX: I love what I do because...

JF: Both the treasure hunt and the restoration process are thrilling.

LX: What's inspiring you now?

JF: Venice, Italy, because of the amazing art and architecture.

LX: Dream collaboration:

JF: I would love to work with designer Jacques Grange because of his passion for great craftsmanship.

LX: Local design icons:

JF: I enjoy working with designers Fern Santini, Mark Ashby, Joel Mozersky and Melissa Morgan. Their styles encompass the scope of our inventory, from neoclassical to modern, while adding in a bit of quirkiness, too.

LX: Coveted item:

JF: My dining room table, made in the 1600s for a monastery in Portugal. It turns every meal into a special, meaningful and soulful moment.



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