Meeting Thomas DeLeo, Bergisch-Gladbach, 25/09/2007

Thomas DeLeo with one of mm's latest acquisitions, a Biedermeier Cockade fan with an interesting ivory handle with metal intarsia

When Thomas told me that he is coming to Germany, I promised to him (and myself) not to miss this opportunity for a personal meeting. After regular and interesting e-mail correspondence, I was curious to see Thomas in person. For those (presumably few) who do not know Thomas, here a short description: "You must have a wide angle imagination as I am a very big guy! (6' 2" and over 300 pounds!)" - these are his own words that display a characteristic feature: his humour. Apart from the physical appearance, his knowledge on fans (and in particular Chinese fans, both national and for export) is even more impressive. And his taste for good food and good wine! Before entering into the core subject (fans, as you may have guessed), he treated me to an exceptional lunch at one of Germany's "maître d' " restaurants. To describe it in fan terminology: The aperitif was as sparkling as a Duvelleroy paillette fan; the "amuse-bouche" menu showed the broad panoply of ingredients, prepared with the novelty spirit and imagination that equal those of novelty fan inventors (just some examples of this culinary delight: the tiny deep fried spring onions were arranged like a coral next to a Coquille St. Jacques; the "capuccino" turned out to be a curry-lemon grass velouté; and the "Crème Brûlé" was indeed a crème brûlé, but of Foie Gras!). All accompanied by a Chardonnay 1988(!) that can only be compared to the most exquisite of early Chinese export fans, the brilliance of the gold preserved - in this particular case, liquid gold!

Apart from that, Thomas offered me postcards from two museums that are worthwhile to have a look at:
The Dallas Museum of Art where an exhibition on 18th century fans ("a painting in the palm of your hand") is currently shown, and the Healdsburg Fan Museum.
A wonderful day for both of us, where we only regretted that "tempus fugit" and it was time for me to drive back to Brussels!

Thomas with a 1850 marriage fan and some more examples of mm's collection.

Thomas with a tiny celluloid fan (the Capitol, Washington), formerly in Cynthia Fendel's collection (see also p.35 of her Celluloid Handfan Book).



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