May 21, 2014 | Although the earliest surviving illustrated botanical manuscript dates from AD 512-the Vienna Dioscurides, a copy of the important medical treatise by the first-century Greek physician and herbalist Pedanius Dioscurides-botanical illustration as a distinctive artistic genre developed in the fifteenth century with the rise of illustrated herbals, manuscripts explaining the medicinal and culinary uses of plants and flowers. After all, in an age living close to the ground, it was crucial to distinguish between a plant that could induce sleep and one that would induce it forever. The introduction of exotic new plants from Asia and the Americas during the sixteenth century prompted continuous publication of accurate pictures to help botanists study, name, and classify the new discoveries. Continued refinements to reproductive engraving and lithographic techniques furthered these publications during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Most techniques produced black-and-white…» More
April 24, 2014 | We asked exhibitors at the Philadelphia 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.
Nothing evokes spring and the promise of summer like butterflies flitting around the garden. From ancient times to the present, bejeweled figural jewelry of insects and birds has amused and intrigued us, and every major jeweler from around the world has delighted their clients with whimsical jewels of the flitting, creeping, and crawling. Our "garden" at the Philadelphia Antiques Show will include a selection of butterflies, bees, birds, and snakes-as well as flowers.
The paintings of fashionably dressed and elegantly posed women at leisure by Irving Ramsey Wiles (1861-1948) were as popular during his lifetime as they are today. These "esprit portraits," as Charles H. Caffin wrote in 1907, combined the tec…» More
March 31, 2014 | Please go to the web site for the Antique Dealers of America's first online antiques show (adadealers.com), a three day round the clock event that lets you shop in your pajamas, guarantees authenticity, offers stuff exclusive to its venue, provides for buyer's remorse, and eliminates the pre-show wheeling dealing that allows dealers to pick off each other's stuff before you get to see it. To these and all the other inducements on the site we add four of our own:
1. The online show might just be the step into the 21st century that the venerable organization has needed.
2. The show's web page is well designed, lively, and convincing, another auspicious sign.
3. You can buy but not with one click. Once you decide on an item you still have to contact the dealer and schmooze, an irreplaceable part of the charm of buying, selling, and collecting antiques and fine art.
4. It might just work, and if it does we are betting that by creating an energetic force field around antique…» More
March 19, 2014 | ART FAIR OVERLOAD?
Crow says "at least 200 large fairs now jam the art-world calendar-complete with attendant parties and smaller satellite fairs in tow." Before anyone could actually ponder the consequences of perpetual motion it was time to be off again, from the Art Fair and the Armory Show in New York to the European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht, The Netherlands, then back to NewYork for Asia Week, all in the space of two weeks in March.
Preliminary reports are in for the European Fine Art Fair, which organizers say attracted over 10,000 private and institutional collectors from around the world for the most successful opening day in its history. The Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired a c. 1690 parcel-gilt ostrich ewer and basin from J. Kugel Antiquaires…» 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
by Émile Jacques Ruhlmann (1879-1933), 1926. Macassar ebony, amaranth, and ivory. Metropolitan Museum of Art. By Cynthia Drayton» View All