May 6, 2014 | The subtitle of the Met's Charles James exhibition, "Beyond Fashion," is suitably vague, hinting at an exalted realm where even the most extravagant fashion superlatives will be inadequate. Then, too, the phrase is meant to suggest that what lies beyond fashion must inevitably be art. Certainly James's designs have been so described almost from his first decade as a couturier in the 1930s: "Charles James is...the world's best and only dressmaker who has raised it from an applied art form to a pure art form," no less a personage than Cristóbal Balenciaga declared in a compliment that has become more or less routine.
Evening dress in black silk-rayon velvet, red silk satin, brown silk faille, and black silk crepe by James, 1946. © Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, gift of Arturo and Paul Peratto-Ramos.
The Met will display some seventy-five of the master's designs, all instantly recognizable for their dramati…» More
May 1, 2014 | Here is the conventional wisdom about our world: contemporary art, in the ascendant for decades now, is on an ahistorical rampage, wielding its industrial strength newness and sowing disdain for beauty, mastery of technique, and anything that smacks of pastness. While this may be true of a segment of the art market and its press, artists are quite another matter. Tucked into nearly every issue of Antiques are the works and words of living artists for whom the things we value here are a significant source of inspiration. The British artists described below are a case in point as is Stephen Rolfe Powell, a glass artist whose Whackos and Teasers sit amiably amidst a great collection of Kentucky-bred sugar chests and early stoneware.
The Yale Center for British Art currently has an ambitious exhibition of artists' books inspired by the natural world that pairs examples from the distant past with those of contemporary makers. The printmaker and engraver Andrew Raftery who is wel…» More
April 25, 2014 | Some people have the good fortune to find a unique path that leads to discovery and is enriched by sharing. For them life can be an endless adventure, laced with exploration and learning, younger people to mentor, and a broadening circle of those who share their interests and become close friends. Brock Jobe, this year's recipient of the ADA Award of Merit, is one of those people
A love of New England furniture and an endless appetite for learning have been central to Brock Jobe's career. His work has ranged from regional furniture studies, building collections, organizing exhibitions, and writing and editing to masterminding the recent eleven-museum collaboration titled Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture. He has been heard to say "I live and breathe furniture," and he is never happier than when crawling under a piece to study the details of its construction and feel its history.
When Brock was a first year student at Winterthur, the legendary Charles Montgomery retu…» More
April 24, 2014 | We asked exhibitors at the Philadelphia Antiques Show to highlight one exceptional object in their booths and describe it as they might to an interested collector. Here are the things they chose, along with some of their comments.
Nothing evokes spring and the promise of summer like butterflies flitting around the garden. From ancient times to the present, bejeweled figural jewelry of insects and birds has amused and intrigued us, and every major jeweler from around the world has delighted their clients with whimsical jewels of the flitting, creeping, and crawling. Our "garden" at the Philadelphia Antiques Show will include a selection of butterflies, bees, birds, and snakes-as well as flowers.
The paintings of fashionably dressed and elegantly posed women at leisure by Irving Ramsey Wiles (1861-1948) were as popular during his lifetime as they are today. These "esprit portraits," as Charles H. Caffin wrote in 1907, combined the tec…» More
April 18, 2014 | One of the noblest buildings on Manhattan's Upper East Side is 903 ParkAvenue, which commands the northeast corner of the avenue at 79th Street. As it happens, this building makes two compelling claims upon your attention. First of all, it was completed exactly one century ago by Warren and Wetmore, who gave the world Grand Central Terminal a year earlier. It is thus about fifteen years older than most of the other, more typical buildings on Park Avenue, and this fact is expressed in a certain assertiveness in the cornice and the other details, a certain vigor in the volumes, that remind one more of the residential palaces of Central Park West than of those on Park, which tend, when all is said, to be simple boxes with a few ornaments slapped on.
The building's second point of interest is that much of its third floor--though unsuspected by most pedestrians at street level--is occupied by Questroyal Fine Art, which was founded nearly forty years ago, and is still being run, b…» More
by Émile Jacques Ruhlmann (1879-1933), 1926. Macassar ebony, amaranth, and ivory. Metropolitan Museum of Art. By Cynthia Drayton» View All