September 9, 2016 | This fall the Philadelphia Museum of Art presents two exhibitions about art and artistry that upended the cultural apple cart—albeit in vastly different times, places, ways, and contexts.
Our Lady of Sorrows by María Izquierdo, 1943. Private collection.
September 3 saw the debut of Classical Splendor: Painted Furniture for a Grand Philadelphia House—a showcase for a suite of furnishings designed by the architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe and fabricated in 1808. In his designs for the ebonized and gilded seating pieces and tables—featured in our pages earlier this year (The Magazine ANTIQUES, March/April 2016)—Latrobe took direct inspiration from the furniture forms and decorative motifs of ancient Greece. Together with the magnificent town house Latrobe designed for clients William and Mary Waln, the lavish furniture shocked and awed staid Quaker Philadelphia society. But it also set a new aesthetic standard for both the city and the nation, as the show’s …» More
September 7, 2016 |
The Magazine ANTIQUES really covers a lot of ground. Hat tip to Crozier Fine Arts, Inc.
September 6, 2016 | Lately I’ve noticed that fewer and fewer of the e-mails I receive begin with a full salutation. Most notes these days open merely “Greg” or “Gregory.” The name isn’t preceded by “Dear,” or “Greetings,” or “Hello,” not even a “Hi” or a “Hey.” Maybe the brisk efficiency of digital communication is to blame. Or perhaps it’s an effect of inequality: in tightfisted times, with each of us protecting his or her own withered patch of prosperity, unconsciously we have forgotten about simple courtesy. Whatever the reason for the change, I miss that small gesture of civility represented by the word “Dear,” which, after all, costs nothing more than a few keystrokes.
I mention this peeve not to get on my high horse about etiquette, but by way of introducing myself. I hope it suggests something about the values that will guide my work at this wonderful magazine. I appreciate things—be they good manners or a pair of well-made Windsor chairs—that are time-honored and have been passed along…» More
August 4, 2016 | Vitreous, white, and often delicately translucent, porcelain was invented in China as early as the seventh century, but Western attempts to reproduce the Chinese miracle failed until the dawn of the eighteenth century, when the Saxon ruler Augustus the Strong pressed into his service the young Berlin alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger and commanded him to enrich the Saxon coffers by producing gold from base metals. When Böttger failed at this, Augustus pressed him into porcelain experimentation, as assistant to the eminent philosopher-scientist Ehernfried Walter von Tschirnhaus, who had been conducting research in the field of glass and porcelain since the 1680s.
In 1708 Böttger fused a blend of fire-resistant white kaolin (discovered near Meissen) and a ground feldspathic stone (since called petuntse from the Chinese bi-dun-dzu or China stone) and thereby stumbled on the recipe for hard-paste porcelain like the Chinese.
Determined to monopolize Europe…
July 26, 2016 | There’s trouble on Monument Avenue. This grand boulevard in Richmond, Virginia, is the symbolic heart of the city. It is leafy and quiet, and lined with grand architecture dating largely from the early twentieth century. As its name suggests, it also features a series of monuments. One is dedicated to the tennis player Arthur Ashe. All the others pay tribute to the leaders of the Confederacy—and that, of course, is where the problem comes in.
Confederate symbols, particularly the “Stars and Bars” battle flag, have become extremely controversial. The flash point was the tragic shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, in which nine African Americans were killed by a white supremacist. Across the South, activists demanded that Confederate imagery be removed from government flagpoles and from license plates. Many governors (including Terry McAuliffe of Virginia) concurred. For most Americans this seemed the right decision, and a long overdue one. Given that the Confederacy fought…» More
[Compiled by Bill Stern, Executive Director at the Museum of California Design, Los Angeles. Originally published in "Curator's Eye" in Modern Magazi» View All