January 30, 2013 | Before she died in 1983 in her enormous hôtel particulier on the banks of the Seine, Mona Bismarck created a foundation for art and culture in her name, and gave it, in addition to an endowment, her historic mansion on the avenue de New York. It was Bismarck's means of creating a legacy more enduring than merely that of a fashion plate or serial bride.
Queen Kapiolani's fan quilt, Hawaii, early twentieth century. American Museum in Britain, Bath.
Née Mona Travis Strader in Louisville, Kentucky, about 1897, the daughter of a professional horse trainer, her biography and glamorous transatlantic social life resemble that of a Henry James character sprung to jazz-age life. After a couple of starter marriages, she landed Harrison Williams in 1926, reportedly the richest man in America at the time. She subsequently earned herself the title of "Best Dresse…» More
January 30, 2013 |
For sheer variety of form, color, period, and place of origin it is difficult to match the offerings at the annual New York Ceramics Fair, where thirty-three tightly packed booths represent virtually everything in the world of fired clay-from purely utilitarian objects to those meant solely for aesthetic contemplation. Most of the dealers are from the United States, though there are also important exhibitors from Turkey, the Netherlands, Ireland, and England. And, while the emphasis remains on the antique or quasi-antique, there is also work by some excellent contemporary ceramists.
Visitors who need further inducements will find an enticing roster of nine l…» More
January 30, 2013 |
© Lucy Dickens / National Portrait Gallery, London
The noted authority on eighteenth-century French furniture and Sèvres porcelain, Sir Geoffrey de Bellaigue, Surveyor Emeritus of the Queen's Works of Art died on January 4, 2013.
The pinnacle of Sir Geoffrey's research and study was the three-volume catalogue, French Porcelain in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, published in 2009. In reviewing it for the Art Newspaper, Aileen Dawson described it as a "sumptuous catalogue which is a pleasure to read and a mine of all sorts of information."
Shortly after Sir Geoffrey's birth in France in 1931, his family moved to England. There he attended Wellington and Trinity College, but after a brief stint as a banker he went to Paris to study at the École du Louvre under Pierre Verlet, the leading authority on royal French furniture and decorative arts.
In 1960 Sir Geoffrey was hired to work at Waddesdon Manor, the Rothschild château in Buckinghamshire, and was ap…» More
January 23, 2013 | In the 1950s Robert Moses, New York's bully-boy developer (a familiar type in these parts), had a suggestion for citizens who objected when he razed their neighborhoods: "Go to the Rockies," he told them, implying that city life is bulldozers, cranes, and scaffolding and to resist them is to resist being urban and modern.
Moses notwithstanding, modern life in New York has plenty of allure but its pleasures do often seem to me tinged with sadness. The new captivates us even as its undertow is the loss of so many buildings, shops, and streetscapes that were once familiar and dear. For someone caught in the crossfire of these conflicting emotions, certain city landmarks acquire symbolic weight. The Park Avenue Armory, site this month as it has been for many years of the Winter Antiques Show, is, for me, one of them. And not just because it is huge, fairly old...and still here.
The armory strikes me as a wonderful amalgam of history and modernity, open to transformation and car…» More
December 12, 2012 | December 18 is the last day to visit the Treasured Weavings: The Mae Festa Textile Collection exhibition, housed at 1stdibs@NYDC, located on the 10th floor of the New York Design Center at 200 Lexington Avenue. Watch the video below for more information and beautiful images.
Pickle Dish, American China Manufactory (Bonnin and Morris), Philadelphia, 1771-72. Soft-paste porcelain with lead glaze; height 4 3/16, width 4 1/2» View All