September 21, 2014 | On our cover, the cacophonous world in which we live--digital and artisanal, ephemeral and timeless--is rendered, ironically, in the disciplined quiet of limewood by the master carver (and prose master) David Esterly. Carving, Esterly has observed in his book The Lost Carving: A Journey to the Heart of Making, is a metaphor for many things. I'd count among them the energetic meeting of past and present that you will find in his article on the centuries long tradition of letter-rack paintings that inspired his own creations shown here.
I hope Esterly's article will lead you to his book, where you will find in addition to his account of restoring a masterwork by Grinling Gibbons lost to fire at Hampton Court Palace, a dramatic meditation on physical skill, creativity, and beauty that will excite anyone who has ever, for instance, admired a great cartouche, wondered at the invidious distinction between craft and art, or pondered the fashions of the art world, where the word disci…» More
July 15, 2014 | Here is a curious turn of events: British folk art, although obviously many centuries old, is just this summer receiving its first ever museum exhibition. Robert Young, who with his wife Josyane has carried aloft the standard of European folk art in their handsome London gallery for several years now, discusses Tate Britain's exhibition in this issue with his customary intelligence and brio. It is gratifying to see the Youngs' passion for beautifully idiosyncratic work finally recognized in a museum setting.
By contrast, in our made-up nation where we have no ruling artistic tradition to inhibit us, museums have been busily celebrating, exhibiting, and validating the art of the folk without cease for most of the past century. At Antiques we continue do our part...thus this our annual (mostly) folk art issue. And still, after all this time of mining the field, there are surprises, from the little known-the Autry's show of traditional and contemporary North American floral bead…» 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
November 6, 2013 | Are New Yorkers the most parochial people on the planet? I sometimes think so, especially when it comes to art, where we have an absolute genius for overlooking the important in busy pursuit of The Important. We are a city of zeitgeist sniffers, way too hungry for whatever fad diet the art market is currently dishing out. Luckily our plat du jour gets a lot tastier whenever the Met or the Frick or another city museum brings forth a sensational exhibition with global reach and historical depth, as they frequently do. The glorious Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500-1800 currently at the Met comes to mind.
We have assembled an issue that has little or nothing to do with what is going on in New York...or even with the East Coast for that matter. This may not be a felony but it might qualify as some kind of journalistic misdemeanor in many eyes. You be the judge. I can say with confidence that here on our island we have somehow missed the passion for American art o…» More
September 9, 2013 |
Like most editors I am interested in everything, but that doesn't mean I don't have opinions. I have, in fact, far too many of them, so I like it when some of my prejudices get rearranged, as they were early last spring when Eleanor Gustafson and I visited the Philadelphia home of John Whitenight and Frederick LaValley featured here. Ten rooms with aesthetic movement furniture, two hundred glass parlor domes, automata of a smoking monkey and a Renaissance nobleman strumming a mandolin, rare conservatory plants, and other Victoriana? Deeply cuckoo I figured. I was wrong.
All great collecting is, I think, a form of autobiography, and the more sincere it is, the more successful. "No one lives like this anymore," a friend said when I showed him my snapshots of the rooms. Also wrong. No one ever lived like this, and that is exactly what won me over. I admire everything about the Whitenight-LaValley house, but what I love most is its boldness and sincerity-the take it or leave it…» More
by Émile Jacques Ruhlmann (1879-1933), 1926. Macassar ebony, amaranth, and ivory. Metropolitan Museum of Art. By Cynthia Drayton» View All