March 10, 2014 | King by Alice Neel (1900-1988), c. 1954. India ink on paper, 13.33 by 11 inches. The Estate of Alice Neel, Courtesy Aurel Scheibler, Berlin.
The modern section of the Armory Show on Pier 92 (March 6-9) opened with a significant surprise: an installation curated by Susan Harris, Venus Drawn Out: 20th Century Works by Great Woman Artists. Pier 92 had never done a curatorial project before so encountering one hung salon style amidst the intensely commercial hubbub of the show was the first surprise...but not the last. When she was initially asked to do an exhibition culled from the galleries that would be exhibiting on the pier, Harris began by thinking about drawings, something she loves but not something that is at the red hot center of a market where paintings rule, surprise number two. As she was making a list of twentieth-century artists whose drawings she admired she realized that they were all by women, another unexpected development. Thus Venus Drawn Out whose organic, a…» More
March 4, 2014 | Comings and Goings
Joshua W. Lane has been named the Lois F. and Henry S. McNeil Curator of Furniture at Winterthur Museum. Lane, curator of furniture at Historic Deerfield since 2000, assumes the post on April 14. He directed Historic Deerfield's Summer Fellowship Program between 2005 and 2012. Lane replaces Wendy Cooper, who retired last year.
Malcolm Rogers, director of Boston's Museum of Fine Arts since 1994, will retire. The activist director oversaw an era of explosive growth at the MFA culminating with the opening of the new Art of the Americas Wing in 2010 but was at times criticized at times for his aggressive management style. Rogers, who is staying until a successor is found, also announced two new curatorial chairs. Frederick Ilchman will head Art of Europe while Benjamin Weiss leads Prints, Drawings, and Photographs.
February 24, 2014 | What began as a well-intentioned effort to halt the wanton slaughter of elephants has resulted in sweeping restrictions on the U.S. trade in elephant ivory. As part of the Obama administration's broader strategy to combat wildlife trafficking, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on February 11 announced new regulations prohibiting all imports, even antiques made partly or entirely of the material. The rules, say dealers in historic works of art, denigrate cultural heritage while failing to stop poachers, who will likely find ready markets for ivory elsewhere in the world.
The regulations also limit exports to objects that are demonstrably one hundred years or older, apparently preventing an American dealer or institution from selling an inlaid Ruhlmann cabinet of 1926 to a European client. Selling documented antique ivory across state lines remains lawful, as does intrastate trade in objects imported lawfully prior to 1990 or 1975, depending on whether the ivory is…» More
February 20, 2014 | The Italian Renaissance taste for classical art fostered a revival of bronze statuary, wealthy connoisseurs collecting both antique statuettes and new works by artists like Donatello and Verrochio. Likewise, the nineteenth-century fascination with Renaissance art created an even larger market for bronze sculpture. Post-Civil War American sculptors, many European-trained, followed suit.
Cupid by Frederick William MacMonnies (1863-1937), 1895, balances gracefully on a globe while gesturing teasingly to lovers. Signed and dated "F. MacMonnies / 1895" on back of globe and with the French foundry mark on the base. Bronze; height 26 ¼ inches. $50,000. Hirschl and Adler Galleries, New York.
Weighty and rich in appearance, bronze is primarily an alloy of copper and tin, sometimes lead or zinc. Because the alloys are stronger, have a lower melting point, and are easier to mold into intricate shapes, bronze is better suited to casting than pure copper. Ancient Greeks and Romans fa…» More
January 28, 2014 | Sotheby's set a record on Saturday, January 25, with the sale of the Ralph O. Esmerian Collection of Folk Art. The 228 lots reached a total of $12,955,943 eclipsing the previous record set by Sotheby's in 1994 with the sale of the Bertram K. and Nina Fletcher Little Collection.
Saturday's top lot was the 1923 figure of Santa Claus by the Brooklyn-born artist Samuel Anderson Robb, which sold for $875,000, more than three times the pre-sale estimate of $150,000 to $200,000. A rare carved pine pheasant hen weathervane once in the collection of the influential folk art dealer Edith Gregor Halpert achieved $449,000; and Ruth Whittier Shute and Samuel Addison Shute's c. 1832 portrait of Jeremiah H. Emerson of Nashua, New Hampshire, realized $665,000. The c.1816 double portrait of John Bickel and Caterina Bickel from Jonestown in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, painted by Jacob Maentel reached $401,000.
Santa Claus by Samuel Anderson Robb, New York, c. 1923. Sotheby's New York.
by Émile Jacques Ruhlmann (1879-1933), 1926. Macassar ebony, amaranth, and ivory. Metropolitan Museum of Art. By Cynthia Drayton» View All