January 1, 2012 |
We asked exhibitors at the Winter 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.
We are thrilled to be bringing a cache of extraordinary objects to the 2012 Winter Antiques Show, including this marble sarcophagus-form planter from the Hurstmont estate in Harding Township, New Jersey. Hurstmont, the country home of industrialist James Pyle and his wife Adelaide McAlpin Pyle, is an 1886 house rebuilt in 1902-1903 by the legendary Stanford White of McKim, Mead and White. The planter is presumed to have been purchased by White in Italy specifically for Hurstmont, along with an impressive marble bench and a replica of the Borghese Vase. According to noted sculptor and scholar Peter Rockwell (son of Norman Rockwell), the carving, which depicts the …» More
November 21, 2011 |
By Tom Christopher
- left to right: Elizabeth Vose Frey, Carey L. Vose, Abbot W. "Bill" Vose, Marcia L. Vose.
Vose Galleries of Boston is that rarest of survivors: now completing its 170th year in business and still under the direction of the founding family, the firm itself predates many of the paintings that it buys and sells. Yet it is hardly a relic. Under the management of a dynamic sixth generation, sisters Elizabeth (Beth) and Carey Vose, the gallery is seeking out new fields while maintaining leadership in the old.
Why shoe manufacturer Joseph Vose bought the Westminster Art Gallery in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1841 is not clear; perhaps it was the first manifestation of what Beth Vose calls "the art gene" that seems to run in the family. Despite the name, the store's business was primarily…» More
November 21, 2011 |
Lithography and chromolithography
Poster art was born of two technological developments: The first, lithography (meaning "stone printing") was invented in 1798, a process in which an artist drew his design with a greasy crayon or oil-based ink directly on a specially prepared slab of fine-grained limestone. Based on the principle that oil and water repel one another, the stone was subsequently dampened with water, which was repelled by the greasy design and only absorbed by the blank areas. Conversely, when oily printing ink was applied to the stone, it adhered only to the greasy areas and not to the dampened blank ones. Lithographs were then printed on a lithography press.
The introduction of the second process, chromolithography, in 1827, laid the foundation for color printing, and thus led to the great flowering of poster art in the later nineteenth century. Multiple stones were used, one for each color, …» More
October 17, 2011 | Of Edward Hopper shows there is no evident end and that is not a bad thing. This summer the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, Maine, is opening a massive Hopper show on a small Hopper theme-the artist's oil sketches, paintings, watercolors, drawings, and etchings from his nine summers in Maine between 1914 and 1929. Some forty-five works in all will be borrowed from the Whitney Museum of American Art as well as from twenty other institutions and one private collection. In addition to being a celebration of Maine's allure for artists, the exhibition also constitutes an argument to the effect that Hopper was as much Hopper among lighthouses, fishing boats, and fog as he was in his urban paintings of anomie and isolation. Visitors to Bowdoin will be able to judge the merits of this argument for themselves, aided by a substantial catalogue of articles by several scholars and one celebrity (Steve Martin), which in itself constitutes a significant addition to our understa…» More
October 17, 2011 | "We've done something that hasn't been done before," Stuart P. Feld told me, raising an eyebrow ever so slightly above the rim of his glasses, after the opening earlier this year of Hirschl and Adler's exciting new gallery in the Crown Building, on the southwest corner of Fifth Avenue and Fifty-seventh Street in midtown Manhattan. And indeed, decorative and fine arts of multiple centuries and mediums mingle here in a way that one rarely encounters in an antiques shop or fine arts gallery, or even a museum-not separately but together entirely copacetically. It wets the imagination, even if one is not a collector.
Elizabeth and Stuart P. Feld. Photographs are by Eric W. Baumgartner.
The gallery design, the result of what all parties have called an enormously satisfying team effort, was jointly devised by New York architect Evan Mann in close collaboration with the Felds-Stuart and his wife Sue, and their daughter Elizabeth, who has been an official part of the team at Hirschl and Adler since 1999, and now serves as the director of the decorative arts department and managing director of the firm. "Evan is as detail-oriented as a Feld could hope for," Liz says, "and most importantly he understood the importance of the classical line, which is really what enables us to show works of all periods so seamlessly in the new space."
It is at once classic and contemporary, a twenty-first-century home for an art and antiques business with a long and distinguished history. (The firm opened in 1952 and Stuart joined it in 1967, after six years at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and became sole proprietor in 1982.) From the front door one proceeds along a hallway to the reception desk, and from there the showrooms open up in several directions at once. Doorway widths and ceiling heights vary, each chosen to create uncluttered sight lines that allow the eye to take in a huge range of paintings and decorative arts, yet not feel overwhelmed. The main enfilade of showrooms permits enormous flexibility: viewing the opening installation from the south end, for example, encompassed paintings by contemporary artist John Moore as well as by earlier American and European painters and folk artists, sculpture, furniture, and glass, culminating in the north gallery with a quintessential neoclassical Boston sofa and a grand manner portrait flanked by English Argand sconces.
Flexibility is important because exhibitions change often: between now and when this issue is printed, a show of the works of William Adolphe Bouguereau and his contemporaries will have been mounted and taken down, and "Masterworks: The Best of Hirschl and Adler" will be on view-a multitude of the finest examples of the gallery's fine and decorative arts, including aesthetic period works. In the not too distant future the "World of Duncan Phyfe" will take center stage.
Beyond the actual physical layout of the galleries, two other elements are key to making the space so adaptable to the many different types of art Hirschl and Adler has to display: the lighting and the wall colors-the latter are Benjamin Moore's Balboa Mist and Collingwood, two shades of warm gray that are contemporary yet equally as complimentary to a Gothic revival sofa as to a twenty-first-century painting.
An enfilade of galleries seamlessly displays American and European furniture, decorative arts, and paintings of multiple centuries.
"The design process was exciting," Liz recalls. "Since we didn't use an interior designer, it was very specific, very detail oriented and required us to make decisions on the most minute aspects of the job." Mann appreciated the Felds' input: "it was refreshing to have a client willing to massage things-evolve details, shift walls-even as those things were getting built," he says. And some would-be problems resulted in brilliant solutions: when Mann realized that the walls between the two galleries at the north end would have to be a cumbersome eighteen inches deep to accommodate structural beams above, Liz and Stuart immediately brightened, "vitrines!" -where they can showcase fragile porcelains and other vulnerable objects that would otherwise have to be stored out of harm's way.
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