November 21, 2014 | In Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century the Denver Art Museum has taken a seventy-five-year slice (1900-1975) from the illustrious firm's 160-plus-year history and illuminated a central paradox of great jewelry: greatness depends upon designs that capture a keen sense of the zeitgeist but do so with enough sheer awesomeness to stand far above it. And so, the exhibition's vitrines of precious jewelry, clocks, and luxurious accessories are set off by historic film clips, photographs, and period advertising materials. Two world wars, a worldwide depression, a wave of nihilism, and a new aristocracy of celebrities may have made their mark on Cartier's designs, but in the end, great jewelry just enduringly is, and therein lies much of its fascination.
Above: Crocodile necklace made by Cartier as a special order for Mexican film actress María Félix, 1975. Gold, diamonds, emeralds, rubies. Nick Welsh photograph (c) Cartier.
The exhibition is organized around seven themes such as…» More
November 14, 2014 | In the nineteenth century there was an oft-repeated tale about the young Thomas Coleentering New York from the far reaches of rural Pennsylvania and being met with hosannasfrom the city's artists. Like most oft-told tales this one turned fact toward myth (to beginwith, Cole had arrived from nowhere more obscure than Philadelphia), and yet it suggests somethingintriguing and durable about the artist: clouds of transcendent glory do seem to clingto him. Alexander Nemerov, in one of his aerial feats of art historical criticism that we are luckyenough to publish in this magazine, suggests why this should be so. "Thomas Cole's hat, or What is it to be an artist?" looks beneath the hat on display at the Thomas Cole house in Catskill, New York, to consider what we can and cannot know about a creative mind attuned to a different world while living in this one. The article is, if I may be oxymoronic for a moment, an effortless tour de force, so hang on to your hat and take the ride. It …» More
November 13, 2014 | By Katharine Morrison McClinton; originally published in September 1950.
From time to time Mrs. McClinton contributes a note to ANTIQUES on some intriguing bypath of collecting interest. This one, which offers an appealing approach to nineteenth-century ceramics, will be incorporated in expanded form, in her forthcoming book on antiques, to be published next year by McGraw-Hill.
Nineteenth-century children's mugs have long attracted collectors, but few are perhaps aware of the wide variety of patterns in which these mugs may be found. The collection of pottery mugs formed by Margaret H. Jewell, now on display at the Harrison Gray Otis House in Boston, includes no less than 1200 examples, with hardly a duplicate.
Among the earliest, made before 1840, are mugs decorated simply with a name and inscription, sometimes adding a wreath of leaves. Today these mugs are rare. They were made in canary as well as cream color, with transfer decoration most commonly in black, though other…» More
November 1, 2014 | For art lovers, the most interesting thing in Austin, Texas, is not the LBJ Presidential Library or the grandiose State House--impressive as both of them are--but the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art on the campus of the University of Texas. A fine example of a university or college museum, it has strong collections of American and Latin American art, as well modern and contemporary. But what raises the Blanton far above most good university museums is its collection of Old Master paintings. What is so special about these works is that they come almost entirely from a single source, the famed Suida-Manning Collection, which the university acquired nearly intact in 1998 and around which it built the stylish Blanton Museum, which opened its doors in 2004.
Above: Saint Cecilia by Simon Vouet, c. 1626. Oil on canvas. The Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, the Suida-Manning Collection, 1999.
What is so special about the Suida-Manning Collection, relative to most o…» More
October 31, 2014 | By Amy a. Weinstein; originally published in January 2005.
Appealing to the imagination of children of all ages, the toy collection of the New-York Historical Society offers a miniature window into nineteenth-century American family life. The approximately three thousand objects that constitute the collection are made of wood, metal, paper, ceramic, and cloth and trace the social, economic, political, and military history of the nation. The collection documents how new toys were created in response to great events and as new materials and technologies were adapted by the European and American toy industries.1 Although the collection most clearly illuminates the leisure pursuits of wealthy and middle-class children, simpler versions of expensive toys made it possible for children living in less privileged circumstances to own toys of their own.
The growing presence of toys in the United States was in part an outgrowth of the emerging recognition of childhood as a special phase…» More
by Émile Jacques Ruhlmann (1879-1933), 1926. Macassar ebony, amaranth, and ivory. Metropolitan Museum of Art. By Cynthia Drayton» View All