March 31, 2015 | The divide between “pure” art (painting and sculpture mostly) and functional art (lighting, ceramics, furniture, and so much else) comes and goes in history depending on who has the power to enforce its shaky distinctions. Just now the contemporary art market tilts toward the healthy side of the issue: a table by Urs Fischer, for instance, is a work of art that functions as a table. No questions asked.
It was not always so, and I like to think that the rising appreciation of the arts and crafts movement did more than its share to reunite artist and craftsman in our eyes. But it took a while. When I happened upon Robert Judson Clark’s exhibition of American arts and crafts objects in 1972 at Princeton University it was a surprise and a revelation. Abstract expressionism and pop art were art. Craft was not. A certain sniffiness about the latter lingered in the decades to come. We are long past that point now, as you will see in Rachel Delphia’s superb article on a private collec…» More
March 16, 2015 | Based as we are in New York, the staff of The Magazine ANTIQUES has a fond if not proprietary tendency to look upon the Metropolitan Museum of Art, especially its American Wing, as our “local” museum. So when we heard the news that the redoubtable Morrison H. Heckscher was retiring after forty-eight years, thirteen of them as head of the American Wing, we were especially curious about who could possibly fill his shoes.
Like so many others, we are delighted to see that Sylvia L. Yount has gamely stepped right into them. Yount, who comes to the Met after seven years as the chief curator at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (where her work was “transformative” says VMFA director Alex Nyerges), is particularly admired for her collegial approach. Andrew Walker, director of the Amon Carter Museum, who went to graduate school in art history with her, notes Yount’s “collaborative skills, respect for the past, and the ability to find the right path of innovation”—talents that she has al…» More
February 24, 2015 | This short list of notable acquisitions began with a request to decorative arts curators in major American museums to choose and discuss a favorite recent gift or purchase.
Raphaelle Peale’s Still Life with Strawberries and Ostrich Egg Cup has come to the Seattle Art Museum from the estate of Ruth J. Nutt, well known to collectors of American silver for the surpassing collection she built and lent generously over the years to many public institutions, and especially to SAM. It was surely the silver-mounted ostrich egg cup in Peale’s exquisite still life that drew Ruth and her husband, Roy, to the painting. Eventually she acquired a similar Federal period cup, by John McMullin of Philadelphia, which is also now in SAM’s collection.
Painted in June 1814—in strawberry season—the canvas is the product of an artistic personality who seems to have felt a greater affinity for objects than people. It seems possible to read this arrangement of objects—an ostrich egg from Africa, a Chi…» More
January 20, 2015 | 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.
ALLAN AND PENNY KATZ
This artful rendering of a birdcage in the shape of the United States Capitol Building was undoubtedly made as a Centennial celebration piece in 1876. It retains its original patriotic colors and was created by our favorite artist, Anonymous.
Robert Aronson recently discovered an exceptional, large (approximately 16 ½ inches tall) Delft bouquetière in the shape of an elegantly dressed gentleman that appears to match a figure of Mary II, or Mary Stuart, that he had previously acquired. Mary and William of Orange ruled Holland and England during the Glorious Revolution from 1689 until her death in 1694. The figures are attributed to the Greek A Factory, from which the royal couple ordered many important Delft…» More
January 20, 2015 | In anticipation of this year’s Winter Antiques Show loan exhibition, Ahead of the Curve: The Newark Museum 1909–2015, students from East Side House Settlement—the Winter Antiques Show’s beneficiary since the show started in 1954—toured the museum.
Students at the Newark Museum's Ballantine House. Photo by Jay Savulich.
The Winter Antiques show is known for its sophisticated lending exhibitions, festive opening-night party, large and varied roster of dealers, and rigorous vetting process, but sixty-one years ago it began modestly as a small booth in another show. A board member from the East Side House Settlement, a supplementary education resource center in Yorkville on the Upper East Side, had inherited several trunks of Parisian couture and, along with some of her fellow board members, took a booth at the 1954 National Antiques Show at Madison Square Garden, where they raised $1,700 for East Side House. Just one year later the board secured the Seventh Regime…» More
by Émile Jacques Ruhlmann (1879-1933), 1926. Macassar ebony, amaranth, and ivory. Metropolitan Museum of Art. By Cynthia Drayton» View All