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Among the notable objects at the Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé sale were a pair of bronze heads, a rabbit and a rat, that were two of twelve zodiacal forms that originally decorated an elaborate clepsydra, or water clock, in the Yuanming Yuan garden of the Old Summer Palace under Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795). The Chinese government and many Chinese citizens were outraged at Christie's sale of the two heads and demanded their return to China. We asked Kate Fitz Gibbon, a specialist in Asian art and cultural property law, editor and author of Who Owns the Past? Cultural Policy, Cultural Property, and the Law (Rutgers, 2005), and a former member of President Clinton's Cultural Property Advisory Committee (2000-2003), for her point of view on this case:
Attending the historic three-day series of sales of the collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé was always going to be an extraordinary experience. And it was.
June 2008 | A review of British design archives and of the wares for sale by vintage design dealers in London and elsewhere, however, suggests that a disdain for mid-century British furnishings is misplaced.
January 2009 | The legendary decorator Frances Elkins made it popular in the 1930s, but her so-called loop chair, which is having another moment in the sun, goes back to the eighteenth century as a surviving set of examples attests
December 2008 | A Georgian dollhouse and the eighteenth-century miniature world.
October 2008 | The art of the silversmith has long seemed to be one such area, so it is especially thrilling to be confronted with completely unfamiliar material at Columbia University’s Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, where Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj opened last month.
September 2008 | Today, Richard Baron Cohen’s Twinight Collection is the largest assemblage in private hands of early nineteenth-century porcelain from the royal manufactories at Sèvres, Berlin, and Vienna, rivaled only, perhaps, by museum collections like that of the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg.
August 2008 | In his quest to compete with imported fabrics, John Hewson found innovative ways to fulfill Philadelphians' demands for the taste of France, China, and India in their interiors.
When skillfully employed, this simple alloy of copper and tin (sometimes with small additions of zinc or lead) will replicate a three-dimensional model with such exactness that details as subtle as the artist's fingerprints can be reproduced.