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
July 28, 2010 |
Fall Preview: Paris prepares for the 25th Biennale des Antiquaires
Preparations for the Biennale des Antiquaires, which will open on September 15 in
Paris’s Grand Palais, are well underway. Although it is the twenty-fifth edition of the Biennale, it is the first under the direction of Hervé Aaron of Didier Aaron, who is the new president of France’s Syndicat National des Antiquaires, which organizes the show. Although the Biennale will feature the same caliber of objects and installations that have made it the most glamorous antiques fair, this year twenty-five “young dealers” have been selected for inclusion in a special section
called the “Tremplin pour la Biennale” (springboard for the Biennale), which will
be located on the balcony.
Although similar to Maastricht’s Showcase initiative, which also added young dealers, the Tremplin is muchless formal, although no less rigorous. Rather than soliciting applications, Aaron asked members of every vetting committee to nominate ca…» More
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
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
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?
[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