January 10, 2017 | The name of Charles Percier has for so long been linked with that of his collaborator and partner, Pierre François Fontaine, most notably for their Recueil de décorations intérieures, that the breadth of his individual accomplishments and talents as revealed in the current exhibition at the Bard Graduate Center is a bit mindboggling. Despite its somewhat limited gallery space, Bard manages to present the exhibition, which covers an enormous amount of material, much of it relatively monochromatic, while keeping the visitor marveling all the way through at the virtuosity of this architect, urban planner, graphic designer, and designer of gardens, furniture, interiors, stage sets, and more. There are some wonderfully atmospheric watercolors and many (though a mere fraction of what he produced) of Percier’s more formal, exquisitely drawn renderings of ancient monuments, other buildings, and architectural details (he traipsed some twenty-three hundred miles in Italy and France mak…» More
January 4, 2017 | By Glenn Adamson
Among aficionados of early American decorative arts, the name Wunsch is legendary. The family’s art and antiques collection — started by the canny and ever-curious engineer E. Martin Wunsch (1924–2013), and administered under the aegis of the Wunsch Americana Foundation—is one of the most important in the field. The WAF is now run by Martin’s son, Peter, with the help of the third generation of collecting Wunsches, Peter’s sons, Eric and Noah. Glenn Adamson, editor at large for The Magazine Antiques, spoke with the Wunsches about the antiques world and their ongoing efforts to inspire a new generation of enthusiasts.
The Magazine Antiques: Peter, can you begin by telling us about the history of the foundation and its role in your family’s past?
PETER WUNSCH: The foundation started collecting Americana in the 1960s. My father, my grandfather, everyone in the Wunsch family back then was an engineer—a mechanical engineer. It played an important role in my fath…» More
November 15, 2016 | Flemish banquets at the Prado
Clara Peeters was among the first and most accomplished painters to specialize in food-laden still lifes, replete with cheese and delicate biscuits, candy, and nuts as well as ornate vessels and floral bouquets. Revered especially for her playful use of light and reflection—for example her own distorted portrait shown on the polished surface of a gilded covered cup—the artist nevertheless remains a mysterious figure. Little is known about her other than that she is presumed to have been born in Antwerp and worked between about 1607 and 1621, enjoying, exceptionally for a woman of her era, high professional repute within her lifetime.
Still life with Flowers, Gilt Goblet, Almonds, Dried Fruits, Sweets, Biscuits, Wine and a Pewter Flagon by Clara Peeters, 1611. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid.
The Prado now brings together twelve of the roughly thirty-five canvases that scholars agree can be attributed to Peeters for the second iteration of an exhibition shown at Antwerp’s Museum voor Schone Kunsten this past summer. Significantly, this is the first exhibition that the Prado has ever devoted to a female painter.
Featuring the four works owned by the museum, as well as loans from Antwerp and beyond, the exhibition offers the rare chance to contemplate the artist’s entire body of work. Decorative arts enthusiasts will find much to study in glassware, silver, cutlery, and other objects meticulously depicted by Peeters. Food historians can, through these canvases, learn about early forms of cheeses and other elegant nibbles. Art historians can consider her innovative and evocative compositions and complex intertwining of realism and symbolic content.
Still life with Fish, Candle, Artichokes, Crabs and Shrimp, by Peeters, 1611. Museo Nacional del Prado
Above and beyond their scholarly interest, Peeters’s paintings are notable for their sheer visual delight. An English-language catalogue accompanies the show.
The Art of Clara Peeters • Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid • to February 19, 2017 • museodelprado.es
November 9, 2016 | “I cannot bear tea, coffee, or chocolate, and cannot understand how anyone can like that sort of thing. I find that tea tastes of hay and rotten straw, coffee of soot, and chocolate is too sweet and soft. What I would willingly partake of, would be a good dish of Biran brot, or beer soup.” So wrote Charlotte Elizabeth, Princess Palatine, in December 1712, clearly not a fan of the once-exotic beverages that had been introduced to Europe by the early seventeenth century and were staple drinks for all levels of society by the end of the eighteenth. The Detroit Institute of Arts has organized a delightful and illuminating exhibition that explores the myriad ramifications that coffee, tea, and chocolate had on European culture. Included are not only examples of the wide array of accoutrements they spawned—from vessels for serving and storing to teaspoons, coffee grinders (Madame de Pompadour’s is included), and furniture such as a tea table by Adam Weisweiler—but also paintings and …» More
November 3, 2016 | By Marisa Bartolucci
Drama and scandal swirled around the opening of the twenty-eighth edition of the Biennale des Antiquaires. Less than a week before the celebrated fair opened, there was a thwarted terrorist attack near Notre Dame that only heightened anxiety about security, which was already tight, at the glorious glass-domed Grand Palais where the fair takes place, and made Parisians even gloomier about the year’s precipitous drop in tourism due to earlier attacks. On top of all that, antiques dealers were still reeling after the arrests of Laurent Kraemer, director of Galerie Kraemer, and Bill Pallot, a respected expert in eighteenth-century French furniture at the estimable gallery Didier Aaron, on suspicion of selling fake Louis XV chairs. Kraemer, whose gallery is the oldest family-run business in Paris, insisted on his ignorance of any fraud, but withdrew from the Biennale. The Syndicat National des Antiquaires, the sponsor of the Biennale, also suspended Didier Aaro…» More
[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