March 19, 2014 | In a story that is the stuff of fairy tales, one of the missing imperial Fabergé Easter Eggs made for the Russian royal family has been found and will be on public view at Court Jewellers Wartski in Mayfair, London, in the run up to Easter. The magnificent Third Imperial Easter Egg had turned up in the hands of an unsuspecting American Midwesterner who bought it for its gold value.
Carl Fabergé, goldsmith to the czars, created the lavish imperial Easter eggs for Emperors Alexander III and Nicholas II from 1885 to 1916. Only fifty were ever made, each one unique. After the revolution the imperial eggs were seized by the Bolsheviks. Some they kept, but most were sold to the West. Two were bought by Queen Mary and are part of the British Royal Collection. Many belong to museums, oligarchs, sheikhs, and heiresses. Eight, however, are missing-of which only three are believed to have survived the revolution.
The rediscovered egg was the one given by Alexander III to his wife, Emp…» More
March 19, 2014 | The pan roast is back. The herring is coming. The famous Oyster Bar restaurant in New York's Grand Central Terminal reopened last Thursday after a four-month renovation of its 101-year-old interior, particularly a thorough cleaning of its ceiling of interlocking vaults covered with terracotta tiles by the Guastavino firm. Seeing the tiles fully cleaned and all the edging light bulbs aglow hints at the wonders in store for visitors to the exhibition Palaces for the People: Guastavino and the Art of Structural Tile, opening at the Museum of the City of New York on March 26.
The Oyster Bar is one of more than two hundred surviving examples of the marvels of engineering and architectural beauty created throughout the five boroughs by Spanish immigrants Rafael Guastavino Sr. and Jr. in the early twentieth century . Their system of structural tile vaults-lightweight, fireproof, low-maintenance, and capable of supporting significant loads-was used by leading architects of the day, …» More
March 17, 2014 | We enjoy exploring the ways in which contemporary artists look to the past to inform their work. We are especially intrigued by the photography of Australian Bill Gekas, whose primary inspiration for these images of his daughter is clearly the Dutch old masters. Digital photography is his tool, but his evocative images are also the result of astute borrowing and improvisation. To see more of his work, visit billgekas.com.
When did you start photographing, and was your focus always on portraiture?
I've been involved with photography since my early twenties, in the mid-1990s, when I was shooting with film cameras and developing and printing black-and-white film in a makeshift darkroom. During those years I was shooting a bit of everything except portraiture, which didn't interest me until I discovered the great portrait works of Irving Penn, Alfred Stieglitz, and Diane Arbus. They had a haunting beauty that made the viewer connect with the subject. To create the same kind of …» More
February 21, 2014 | The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens has made two exciting purchases that enhance its unparalleled ability to tell the story of Southern California as it was transformed from vast rural ranchlands into an international symbol of the good life. The newly acquired Ernest Marquez Collection of photographs, with prints from the 1870s to about 1950, includes rare views of Los Angeles as well of early Santa Monica, which, as the Southern Pacific Railroad was on the brink of connecting Los Angeles to the rest of the nation in the mid-1870s, welcomed city dwellers to its beachside tent cities. Photographers opened studios catering to the incipient tourist trade, and the illustrious San Francisco photographer Carleton E. Watkins visited in 1877 and 1880. The collection includes his images as well as ones by such other early photographers as William M. Godfrey, Francis Parker, and Hayward and Muzzall. Amassed over a half a century by a descendant of Mexican land…» More
November 1, 2011 | A mid-twentieth-century Chinese carved ivory double wrist rest sold at Cincinnati's Cowan's Auctions' first Asian art sale on August 26 for the handsome price of $47,000 (including premium) off a presale estimate of $15,000 to $20,000. Designed as an aid for scholars in the painstaking arts of calligraphy and brush painting, wrist rests were long made in China in carved wood and jade as well as ivory and other semiprecious materials. This one was obtained by the consignor directly from the carver sometime after World War II, so it turns attention to the art in the postwar years.
The exterior is realistically carved to replicate a section of bamboo cane, with roots sprouting from the rhizome-shaped end and bamboo shoots and leaves along the sides, while the interior holds polychrome crickets and a cicada minutely carved from the ivory. "This is a brilliant bit of carving and I am completely unsurprised that it sold for the amount it realized," says the Asian art expert Lark Mas…» More
by Émile Jacques Ruhlmann (1879-1933), 1926. Macassar ebony, amaranth, and ivory. Metropolitan Museum of Art. By Cynthia Drayton» View All