| By Carolin C. Young

Germany Old world collectors and collecting

May 10, 2010  |  The Saxon state’s magnificent collectionof Turkish and Turkish-styleobjects originated in the late sixteenthcentury and has been called the Türckische Cammer since at least 1614. However,the bulk of its contents have not beenpublicly displayed for the past seventyyears. A lavish new permanent exhibitionof about six hundred items hasbeen opened on the second floor of the Residenzschloss in Dresden, part ofthe first phase of returning the armoryto that palace. The collection bearswitness both to Saxony’s long andcomplicated relationship with Turkeyand to the prestige accorded Ottomanimports by European rulers. Some ofthe earliest pieces arrived in Dresdenin 1587 as diplomatic gifts to ElectorChristian I from the grand duke ofFlorence and the dukes of Savoy and Mantua. Later additions includethe extensive holdings accumulatedin the late seventeenth and earlyeighteenth centuries by Augustusthe Strong, including two painstakinglyrestored silk Ottoman tents,once used by the elector…» More

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| By Carolin C. Young

Netherlands Old world collectors and collecting

May 5, 2010  |  

Paintings of collectors’ cabinets orrooms of art celebrate collecting.The form emerged in the early seventeenthcentury in the rich merchant cityof Antwerp, where this exhibition, ajoint venture of the Rubenshuis thereand the Mauritshuis in The Hague, wasrecently on view. For the first time, theexhibition brings together the threeextraordinary works by the early masterof the genre, Willem van Haecht II,whose father, Tobias Verhaecht, wasPeter Paul Rubens’s first teacher. Haechtserved as the curator of the collectionof Cornelis van der Geest in Antwerp,and all three of the paintings depictworks known to have been in that collection,particularly the one of 1628now in the Rubenshuis.

The sumptuous example from theMauritshuis’s collection shows rows ofpaintings soaring up the walls of a spaciousroom fi lled with classical sculptures, celestialand terrestrial globes, and a bevy ofcollectors, models, attendants, and evena painter at work. The third painting, shown here, is a rarely…» More

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The Market | By Carolin C. Young

Masterpiece London confirmed

February 10, 2010  |  After months of anticipation, Masterpiece London, the new art and antiques fair from the organizers of the prestigious 75-year-old Grosvenor House Fair, received the permissions necessary to confirm that it will take place on 24-29 June 2010 at the Chelsea Barracks.

In spite of the bureaucratic quagmires and delays that these permissions took, those in the know have bet strongly on Grosvenor House's royal ties to see it through.  Last June, Prince Charles succeeded in stopping plans to have the site, owned by the royal family of Qatar, turned into a steel-and-glass modern development.  What more approvable use, then, of the historic site than the new venue for the most strictly vetted of London's art and antiques shows?

Planning permissions aside—can this show deliver the goods with only months to pull it off?
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| By Carolin C. Young

After Grosvenor

January 27, 2010  |  On the heels of its seventy-fifth anniversary last June, the Grosvenor House Art and Antiques Fair announced that it would close. Only time will tell how its absence will shift the balance of European fairs in 2010. In the meantime, Europe's organizers unveil their plans for the coming year.

BRUSSELS
Held at the same time as the Winter Antiques Show in New York, the Brussels Antiques and Fine Arts Fair (BRAFA) is too often overlooked by Americans. Now in its fifty-fifth year, BRAFA features 130 top-tier dealers with 60 percent of them coming from Belgium. Among the rest are exhibitors from Hungary, Portugal, and Spain who are not always seen in London or Paris, as well as Hicham Aboutaam of Phoenix Ancient Art, the sole Amer­ican dealer there in 2010. Recently, the show has also featured dealers from Canada, China, and Russia. According to Aboutaam, the growing internationalism of attendees and exhibitors are good indicators of the fair's significance.

BRAFA-Brussels Antiques and Fine Arts Fair · Through January 31 · www.brafa.be
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| By Carolin C. Young

Holiday Sparkle

December 24, 2009  |  Keeping winter doldrums at bay during Europe's darkest days, the Sun King lights up London and Versailles; the Magi gleam with baroque opulence in Basel; the stars illuminate the Vatican; and Dionysian ecstasies fire up Berlin.

London

A sumptuous Cucci cabinet on offer at Christie's creates a splashy finale to the auction season.

As 2009 draws to a close, the indisputable star of December's European decorative arts sales in London is the so-called Cucci cabinet that was sold by the March family at Christie's on December 10. This tour de force of 1665 to 1675, attributed to the Italian-born ébéniste Domenico Cucci and the French Gobelins workshops, first commands the eye with the bold sculptural figures representing the seasons (attributed to Cucci's cousin Philippe Caffieri the elder) that support its stand. Closer inspection reveals the exquisite craftsmanship of its execution throughout: colorful pietre dure panels by the grand-ducal workshops in Florence, marquetry in rich veneers and engraved pewter, deftly rendered internal com­partments, and refined gilt-bronze mounts surmounting it. One of only three cabinets now known by or attributed to the master, its appearance in a public sale is significant.
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[Compiled by Bill Stern, Executive Director at the Museum of California Design, Los Angeles. Originally published in "Curator's Eye" in Modern Magazi

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